In this “open letter,” the most tortured, pharisaical logic is employed to leverage money against the Jewish homeland. The “divestment” urged does not advance peace in the region. It does not thwart terror. It is silent on the fact that at the very moment of its sending an American teenager and two other Israeli teens have been kidnapped by terrorists operating in the territories the PCUSA blithely refers to as “occupied.”
Prominently featured at the website of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is an “An Open Letter of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to our American Jewish Interfaith Partners” which is signed by the denomination’s three senior officials and which begins:
We are reaching out to you after our General Assembly’s action, by a 310-303 vote, to recommend to the Presbyterian Foundation and the Board of Pensions to divest from three North American corporations following extensive corporate engagement. The assembly concluded that further engagement would not bring an end to their pursuits that further the Israeli occupation in Palestine.
Read the whole thing at pcusa.org. It is gibberish, nonsense of the worst sort: deeply disingenuous double talk intended to skim over the biased proceedings which produced it. Now the PCUSA, as its members call it, has taken an official position against Israel and so I, as an elder in the PCUSA — no longer a “ruling” elder in my congregation, having wrapped up my second such stint last year — have to take a position for or against the PCUSA based on it.
Many PCUSA congregations across the country are already engaged in the process of “discerning” whether to remain within the splintering denomination, and this new assault on Israel and the virulent language employed — “occupation” — will no doubt make that process much easier for hundreds of thousands of us. If their congregations don’t leave, they will. They will not be part of the American intifada against Israel.
The PCUSA has raised its hand against Israel. So now either my congregation must depart the PCUSA or I must depart my congregation. I will not be a part, however small, in any campaign against Israel. No Christian who knows how the Church largely stood silent during the Holocaust should be. No thinking person who reads beyond the fringes of the Left would reason as this letter does. If a denomination insists on being ruled by a majority of ill-educated posers, it deserves the withering that has already set in and will now accelerate.
Strong language that, and I have never used it in any of the theological debates to date. Jesus was angry only with the Pharisees and the money-changers.