Thursday, July 15, 2010

Presbyterians Amend anti-Israel Resolution

From, 14 July 2010, by Gil Ronen:

The Presbyterian Church's General Assembly amended at week's end a report [see this previous post] that had originally condemned Israel as an “apartheid” state, and called for divestment from it.

A group of influential pastors from within the denomination including Rev. John Buchanan was unhappy with the report issued by the PC-USA's Middle East Study Committee (MESC). That report was so harshly anti-Israeli that even radical leftist group J-Street took exception to it. After a group called Presbyterians for Middle East Peace called on the assembly to reject the report in its entirety, it was decided to delete the historical analysis from the report and replace it with eight personal narratives – four pro-Arab and four pro-Israeli ones – which have yet to be written.

The committee also added a clause that affirmed Israel’s right to exist.

The original report called for the members of the MESC to be appointed to a “monitoring group” that would observe events in the Middle East for two years and then report again to the General Assembly. The amended version of the report reduces the MESC's representation on the monitoring group to one or two members.

According to Israel advocacy NGO CAMERA, “This change in the composition of the monitoring committee gets at the heart of the problem.”

“The Middle East Study Committee was fundamentally biased against Israel,” CAMERA explained. “One member had stated previously stated that in his heart of hearts he wanted a one-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. And another had stated that she could not reconcile herself to Israel’s 'right' to exist.”

“The appointment of members such as this to the Middle East Study Committee by one current and two past PC(USA) moderators in 2008 set the stage for disaster a the 2010 General Assembly,” the group commented, adding that it hopes the people who decide on the personal makeup of the monitoring group “will learn from past mistakes.”

...“What is new at the 2010 General Assembly is that people started to realize that drawing attention to Palestinian suffering and working to end it does not require demonizing Israel,” CAMERA concluded.

...The Anti-Defamation League issued a separate statement that credited the assembly for having "averted a rupture," it condemned the recommendation that the U.S. consider withholding aid to pressure Israel.
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