The Presbyterian Church USA voted at its convention last week to threaten a handful of corporations that provide military-related equipment to Israel. Listen to this statement. The NY Times reported:
“The Presbyterian committee said in its announcement that it included United Technologies Corporation, a military contractor, because a subsidiary provides helicopters used by the Israeli military “in attacks in the occupied territories against suspected Palestinian terrorists.”
And the problem with that is? (As a side note, does any really believe that Mossad doesn’t know who the Palestinian leaders are? They’re not suspected; they’re identified and eliminated).
The divestment threats of the mainline denominations against corporations that provide selected products to Israel underscores the moral bankruptcy of these religious groups. It would be of more concern if these fading bodies had a vibrant, growing presence, but they are shrinking in size and influence.
My friend Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews said of the divestment actions:
“At the same time that we’re seeing the results of 25 years of efforts in bringing together Jewish and evangelical groups in support of Israel, we’re also facing the sobering reality of mainline denominations not only turning their backs on Israel, but lining up to viciously attack the only Middle Eastern country with democratic values and practices.”
Although I have never supported the Christian leaders and groups that blindly approve every action of the modern state of Israel as though it is led by Moses himself, the actions by the UCC, the Presbyterian Church USA and others to undermine the only stable democracy in the Middle East and an ally of the United States are unconscionable.
The liberal gaggle of mainline churches, the National Council of Churches, took another blow last week, when the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America withdrew its membership. According to Scripps Howard columnist Terry Mattingly:
“The Antiochian archdiocese quit the council, in large part, because of what he called an “almost a politicized agenda” under [executive director Bob] Edgar — with a strong emphasis on sexual liberation and opposition to conservative Christianity.”
I am not without sympathy for the Palestinian people, but not for the terrorists who have been killing Israeli citizens for years.
I have been to Israel twice; not as a tourist, but to work with a client called Nazareth Village that runs a First Century Village and an interactive center on the life of Jesus—in his hometown. It is a wonderful multi-denominational Christian group that is a great source of inspiration and reconciliation in the largest Arab town in Israel.
During those visits I met with and came to love a number of Palestinian Christians, many whose families have been Christians for many generations. They have no love for the Israeli government, but neither do they support Palestinian terrorism. They are in a difficult place, and I think of them whenever I read of trouble in northern Israel.
I pray for the peace of Jerusalem. But trying to disable Israel and prevent it from protecting its people is a foolish and naïve way for Christians to work for that peace.