Why Presbyterian Church (USA)'s Top Official Should Resign — Now

January 27, 2022

Dr. J Herbert Nelson II, the highest official in the Presbyterian Church (USA) (PCUSA), should resign. Not just because he is morally blind. Not just because he is hypocritical.

He should leave his post — now because his raging indifference to violent acts of Jew-hatred are legitimized by his own radical politics thinly wrapped in theological tinder.

In his statement of only 500 words to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Nelson devoted a full two paragraphs to what he called the "immoral enslavement" of Palestinians by Israel.

Yet, there was not word one about one million Uyghurs in the Chinese government’s concentration camps, or a word of solidarity for the hundreds of thousands of displaced Syrians braving yet another winter in tents who’ve been crushed by Assad’s brutalities against his own nation.

Nor was there a single word about, rather there was stoic silence, regarding the public executions and repression of women and gays in Iran by its terror-exporting mullahs; nothing about shoving an entire population back to the Middle Ages by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Nor was there mention of his own Christian brethren, whose churches are destroyed in China, or his co-religionists regularly slaughtered in Nigeria by ISIS and allies.


The charge is an obscenity on top of a lie.

Furthermore, it belittles the pain of the ancestors of Black Americans who suffered from genuine slavery. Only a person with cataracts of hatred against Jews could use such a term to describe Palestinians.

Fact-checking quickly shows that West Bank Palestinians enjoy a lower unemployment rate (18%) than neighbors Lebanon (27.4%) Syria (82.5%) Iraq (23%) and Egypt (32.5%). (Source: CIA World Factbook).

Life expectancy is better than all its neighbors and comes close to Saudi Arabia.

Both infant and maternal mortality rates show West Bank Palestinians to be better off than all, or most, of their neighbors.

We presume that by "Palestine/Israel," Nelson meant the West Bank.

If we include Arabs within Israel, the overall figures are far better.

Palestinians do suffer — but their real masters are the corrupt of the Palestinian Authority (PA) who line their own pockets with foreign aid money, pay tens of millions to the families of terrorists in its pay-to-slay program, and enslave (not too strong a word to use here) small children by teaching them that their highest calling is to become martyrs.

If the Palestinians are slaves, then what about the rest of the Mideast, where conditions are worse? Is Israel the slave master there as well?

When Nelson asked if "the Jewish community in the United States would influence… the U.S. government in ending the immoral enslavement," he gave a shout-out to the ugly conspiracy theory feeding so much of the recent explosion of anti-Semitism globally, and in the U.S. Vis-a-vis: Jews have too much power, especially over the American government.

Nelson’s dog-whistles confirm him as a dangerous anti-Semite.

Nelson and his word-meisters must have been too busy concocting their verbal attacks to notice who was terrorist Malik Faisal Akram who was screaming at Jewish hostages in a small synagogue in Colleyville, Texas.

Akram was quite explicit about the motives behind his plan:

Jews have power.

They control the U.S. government.

They can order the release of convicted terrorist Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, a/k/a Lady al-Qaida, who is held in a U.S. military installation near the synagogue he attacked.

While convicted "only" of attempted murder of U.S. servicemen, she had major plans for mass-casualty events on American soil — which her training in neuroscience from an American university would help pull off.

Lady al Qaida used her trial to make sure the world would know she was a raving anti-Semite.

Akram predicted that his death would not be in vain since it would open the doors and inspire Muslim youth to pick up his violence to gain her release.

"Dr. King," wrote Nelson, "continuously preached a Gospel of justice, so that all people could live in dignity."

Nelson remembered to omit what Martin Luther King actually did say about Israel, two weeks before his tragic death as recalled by (the future Congressman) John Lewis: "I see Israel as one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy. Peace for Israel means security and that security must be a reality."

And Lewis remembered these words by King "I solemnly pledge to do my utmost to uphold the fair name of the Jews — because bigotry in any form is an affront to us all."

Perhaps, but J. Herbert Nelson.

We witnessed when PCUSA was the first mainline denomination to vote for sanctions against Israel — a move opposed by many, if not most, of the rank and file at the time.

We recall our wonderful partnership with some true servants of justice for all in PCUSA. In the decades that followed, PCUSA has gone off the rails — and lost hundreds of thousands of members, including most of our friends.

Some brave souls continue the struggle from within as Presbyterians for Middle East Peace.

It’s time for other Christian leaders to help the faithful who refuse to label Zionism a dirty word to denounce this man, so blinded by his bigotry that neither a terrorist attack on a synagogue nor raging violent anti-Semitic acts will stop his unholy crusade.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper is Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action for the Simon Wiesenthal Center. 

Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein is the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Director of Interfaith Affairs.

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