There can be few left with any doubt about how the Presbyterian Church feels about Israel.
In an article on their website giving the background to the Israel/Palestinian conflict, they state that “In the 1920s, when the Jewish National Fund purchased large tracts of land from absentee Arab landowners, the Arabs living in these areas were evicted.”
The article continues: “The Balfour Declaration of 1917 had become at once a consolidation of Britain’s imperialist goals in Palestine, and a warrant for an envisioned future national, political entity for world Jewry.”
As if to confirm the fact that the Jews had no right to a country of their own in the Middle East, we are informed that “At the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, the area known as Palestine, by then marginalized by the Ottomans, was home to more than 600,000 Muslim and Christian Arabs, and 25,000 Jews.”
No mention is made of the fact that already by 1936, prior to the Holocaust that would decimate European Jewry, some 28% of the population of Israel-Palestine was, in fact, Jewish.
To complete the picture, the Presbyterian Church informs us that the U.N. General Assembly “decided to partition Palestine into two states, one Arab and one Jewish, with special international status for Jerusalem (UNSC 181). Though the proposed Palestinian state did not materialize,” – we are not told why – “the land was partitioned in 1949 when an armistice divided the new Jewish state from other parts of the Mandate of Palestine.”
The article fails to tell us that the Arabs refused to accept the U.N. partition plan and that seven Arab nations immediately launched an all-out war against the fledgling Jewish state the moment the British had left resulting in no less that 1% of the Jewish population (equivalent to 3 million Americans today) being killed in battle.
While this background paper refers to the content of U.N. Resolution 242 following the Six Day War calling for the withdrawal of Israeli armed forces, it makes no mention whatsoever of the Arab League resolution made in Khartoum on September 1, 1967, declaring “no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it.”
Once again, the article’s presentation of facts is selective. It fails to mention that that same U.N. Resolution called for a “termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area.”
To this day, the Palestinian national emblem includes all of the territory between the river Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea, while Palestinian Television refers to the Israeli cities of Ramle and Haifa as being part of Palestine. The Palestinian Authority has refused to recognize Israel as a sovereign Jewish State and the Hamas charter calls for its destruction.
It is hardly surprising, therefore, in light of this, one-sided, selective and distorted presentation of the history of the Israel/Palestinian conflict that the General Assembly Mission Council of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) should have recommended a divestment policy aimed specifically at several major U.S. corporations doing business with Israel.
In addressing the subject of human rights, the 2012 General Assembly Divestment List concludes by stating that they are “currently working on a phased, selective divestment process related to companies operating in Sudan, and to determine that investments in companies doing business in Israel, Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank are only in companies engaged in peaceful pursuits.”
Not a word is said of China, Syria, Iran and a host of other countries with appalling human rights records. One cannot help but wonder why Israel should have been picked out for special treatment.
The American Jewish Committee has understandably expressed concern about the Presbyterian Church’s policy on divestment and stated that “When American church leaders allow extremists in their own community to dictate the direction of church activity on an issue as complex as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they weaken the stature of the church in the eyes of all.”