It is so full of insults I don’t really know where to begin. James Wall writing about some professors who have written good critiques of the Presbyterian Middle East Study Committee’s paper, dismisses them as scholars who are hiding “behind a smoke screen." Wall states that they are not "even remotely approaching the standard of pertinent scholarship one expects from four academics from such prestigious educational institutions.”
Wall’s article is entitled Israeli “Agents” Infiltrate Presbyterian General Assembly . The four scholars, who according to Wall are supposedly Israeli agents, are:
Dr. Ted A. Smith and Dr. Amy-Jill Levine who wrote Habits of anti-Judaism: Critiquing a PCUSA report on Israel/Palestine., and Dr. Katharine Henderson and Dr. Gustav Niebuhr who wrote, Peacemaking is more than pointing fingers.
The temptation is to critique Wall's posting, and that in a snarky manner. But how do you respond to such words as “Katharine Henderson and Gustav Niebuhr find the report to be ‘unbalanced, historically inaccurate, theologically flawed and politically damaging’. How many days or weeks did they study the Resolution to enable them to make that sweeping judgment?”
Or speaking of Smith and Levine:
“The two Vanderbilt professors attack the PCUSA Middle East Study Commission with a string of innuendoes that shout “anti-Semites in the room”. They do so, however, in the polite, and deliberately misleading, language of a dusty seminar room.”
I think perhaps the best way to counter this attack is to ask my readers to read the two articles by the four professors. The articles are balanced and reasonable. And they are not one sided as is the Presbyterian report.
Also I should mention that Dr. Katherine Henderson, who is President of Auburn Seminary, is speaking at the Presbyterians for Middle East Peace’s breakfast at General Assembly, as is Rachel Lerner, Vice President of J Street, a Jewish Organization that the Study Committee claimed they spoke to but didn’t. Also the one dissenting member of the Middle East Study Committee, Dr. Byron Shafer, will be speaking.
On that same web site, Presbyterians for Middle East Peace, is the means to sign the paper that Wall complains about in his post. Rather than being snarky I will ask you to also go to the site and sign up for the breakfast and sign the paper. See you there!
But I do have a few more words. I found Wall’s posting when looking at the Israel/Palestine Mission Network’s Facebook page. The whole combination gave me a sinking feeling in my stomach. Not only did I see Walls’s article linked to, but there was this:
Now just a bit more. The Germany of the 1930's, without a Hitler, is knocking at the door of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). We are free and we have a choice. We can go on allowing a few in leadership, and some who volunteer, to form our souls into evolving monsters or we can be fair and even minded caring for all in the Middle East. We can be real peace makers not soldiers marching to the beat of Hamas' drums.
By the way, the video was made in Venezuela.