Monday, July 19, 2010

Questions abound! GA, Israel/Palestine Mission Network & hate?

I am troubled. When I go to the General Assembly Mission Council page for groups and networks under World Mission Networks I find that the only listing for Israel and Palestine is the Israel/Palestine Mission Network, including all of their awful links.

Questions abound! Why did the IPMN bother to Twitter this bit of information. “Jewish leader in Egypt convicted of fraud 6:33 AM Jul 14th”? It’s not about Israel but about a small barely surviving group of Jews in Egypt. Sometimes I think that the people of the IPMN hate the Jewish people.

Another question. Why has IPMN’s linked to this article on James Wall’s blog.
“This is No Longer Your Daddy's Presbyterian Church (USA)” I dislike many things about this article but two in particular:

First, the article comes with a picture. The woman in the picture is a friend of mine. She is a pastor and she is always in prayer as you see her in the picture. In fact, there are several waitresses in Minneapolis who were surprised when she asked “When we say grace what may we pray about for you.” The picture is from the LA Times, and there the reporter pointed out that she was in prayer. But not Wall.

He is using the picture to suggest she is the parent who can no longer claim ownership of the PCUSA. Besides misusing someone’s picture just to make a point, Wall seems to forget that any Christian church or denomination belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ. Unless, of course they have kicked Jesus out and are following the enemy of their souls. But then he still has power over them.

Second, Wall glosses over the good editing done on the Middle East Study Committee’s report and hurries on to Item 08-09. That was the overture asking the GA to refer the two papers, "Christians & Jews, A People of God," and “Toward an Understanding of Christian-Muslim Relations”.

I wrote constantly about this overture because it included a paper from the Israel/Palestine Mission Network which stated that the Jewish organizations in the United States had threatened Louisville with a package which was possibly a bomb and had burned down a Church.
If commissioners wanted to refer the Jewish paper they should have voted 08-03 down and not passed 08-09.

The Muslim paper passed and it is far more troubling then the Jewish paper since in one paragraph it equates the Muslim god with our Christian God. I hope Wall is wrong when he writes, “What happened to the Jewish-Christian dialogue study paper is nothing less than an ecclesiastical tectonic shift in the history of the Presbyterian Church (USA).”

Here is one more why question with a link and I believe it connects with my thought that IPMN hates the Jewish people. They hate them so much that they seem to hate those who sometimes speak for them.

Noushin Framke, the chair of the communications committee for IPMN, on her blog, which is connected to the IPMN site, writes of an organization I belong to. (This means that her blog is on the PCUSA site.) Her blogging is about the Presbyterians for Middle East Peace’s General Assembly breakfast:

“7 am breakfast at the "Presbyterians 4 Peace" event. This is a group with an Orwellian name - Why Orwellian? because they think working for peace means to stand in the middle and not take sides... meantime, everything they stand for makes for anything but peace ~ many of the people who had shown up expected the breakfast to be an IPMN event and they found out it was run by IPMN's opposition within the church. The purpose of the breakfast was to attack the MESC report and cmt."

I was at that breakfast with my husband. It was a wonderful event which brought a lot of clarity. The lady we sat beside was a commissioner. She was not pro Israel but she was there because she wanted the information. She knew where she was. A reporter sat behind us.

“Henderson of Auburn Sem spoke, then a J-Street rep, then Byron Shafer who was on the MESC cmt and i guess resigned in the end of the process?? not sure - maybe not - but he was the sole dissenting vote. Word is that the MESC bent over backwards to please him and he strung them along and then bailed on them at the end - nasty. Henderson and Shafer's pro-Israel propoganda [sic] was hard to sit through and they both had an air of lecturing from on high... and Henderson kept calling anyone who doesn't agree with her ‘partisan.’”

“Word is” is not very convincing- I would suggest that the reader go to the
Presbyterians for Middle East Peace site and listen to all of the speeches and find out what they really did say.

“the J street rep basically said that you presbyterians are great to work with but you need to NOT take strong positions (unless they are our positions) - and if you do, we will have to stop working with you - Is that a threat, i thought to myself, and the next thing i hear, the rep says "and i don't mean this as a threat, but...."

But what did Rachel Lerner, the Vice President of J Street, actually say:

“When I read this proposed study document I felt myself moving into a self-protective position. I was truly so disturbed by what I was reading unable to find a familiar or even a balanced narrative in these pages I found myself using language I don’t normally use clinging to defensive positions which surprised me to be honest ….

Every activist I talked to who read the "letter to our American Jewish Friends," the recommendations of the committee, the "Kairos Document," had the same reaction why would they do this, how could they do this, How can we work with them now?

This is to say that our grassroots who are standing up for justice in the Middle East who should be your partners who likely come down on so many issues and policies precisely where you do, who share your goals will not be able to work with you for peace if this document is adopted because this document will push them into a corner and force them into a defensive stance and I want to clear about this I do not mean this as a threat. If this report is passed we will not be issuing a directive to our locals that they cannot partner with Presbyterian Churches but with the passage of this study the Church will alienate us and as a result our actives will not want to work with you and this will damage terribly the possibility of a future relationship this would be a tragedy it would be a terrible shame not to have you at the table with us because we need you …”

This is a Jewish organization that wants an end to the Gaza blockade and an end to the settlements. If the Israel/Palestine Mission Network can listen to that being said and still put out such hateful speech-we still have very deep problems. Perhaps we need a new Presbyterian organization alongside IPMN dealing with peace in the Middle East. One that, as Byron Shafer says in his speech, will love both sides. And perhaps even love their fellow Presbyterians.


Pastor Bob said...

Very interesting. One has to wonder what GA did Wall attend. Also I thought either the IPMN or MESC said that J Street agreed with them. Now they are the enemy? Interesting crowd.

Viola Larson said...

Everytime I read anything anymore by the IPMN I have to keep wiping an image out of my mind. I wish they would say a few good things about the Jewish people as a whole a of couple of times so that image would go away. And I am not being snarky I mean what I am saying.