September 2nd is my 49th wedding anniversary. I should be posting a wedding picture and red roses or something like them. I will instead be visiting my husband in the hospital, where he is doing exceptionally well after a heart operation. I am also posting these thoughts about the Presbyterian Israel/Palestine Mission Network which seems to not understand that I also belong to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and they are misrepresenting me and thousands of other PCUSA members.
IPMN has now posted a letter to the Editor of the New York Times. The Times article is “In Israel, Settling for Less” by Gadi Taub. It is about the difference between religious Zionism and secular Zionism. The latter kind of Zionism was the earlier version of Zionism, but that is not my concern. My concern is with Walter T. Davis’ letter to the editor, in which he not only perpetrates some untruths but he does it in my name because he signs his letter as Chair of the Education Committee of the IPMN.
If the Israel/Palestine Mission Network was not a Presbyterian organization I would not care. It would be their business. But it is my business now, and the business of all Presbyterians who care. And there are several items we should care about.
First is this statement in the letter. “From the beginning, political Zionism carried seeds of its own destruction. Religious Zionism merely calls attention to the tragic flaw in both ideologies: the conviction that Jews and non-Jews can never live together in peace.”
This is a denunciation of all Zionism. That is anti-Semitic and outrageous. The Presbyterian Church has never denounced (Jewish) Zionism and certainly not secular Zionism. It was such Zionism that gave birth to the State of Israel and gave the Jewish people a safe homeland after the Nazi's atrocities.
Second is this statement: Israel’s leaders have demonstrated this conviction by ongoing policies of "transfer.” As Ben Gurion put it in 1937, "The Arabs will have to go, but one needs an opportune moment for making it happen, such as a war." This statement attributed to Ben Gurion is a fabrication.
For a clarification see this e-mail by Benny Morris the Jewish Historian that many one-sided historians and church people such as Davis like to quote. Morris is responding to an article written by Johann Hari he writes:
"Hari quotes David Ben-Gurion as saying in 1937: ‘I support compulsory transfer ... The Arabs will have to go, but one needs an opportune moment for making it happen, such as a war.’ The first part of the quote (‘I support compulsory transfer’) is genuine; the rest (‘The Arabs will have to go ... such as a war’) is an invention, pure and simple, either by Hari or by whomever he is quoting (Ilan Pappe?) It is true that Ben-Gurion in 1937-38 supported the transfer of the Arabs out of the area of the Jewish state-to-be – which was precisely the recommendation of the British Royal (Peel) Commission from July 1937, which investigated the Palestine problem. The commission concluded that the only fair settlement was by way of partition, with the Jews receiving less than 20 per cent of Palestine, but that, for it to be viable, the 20 per cent should be cleared of potentially hostile, disloyal Arabs. (Britain, incidentally, at the end of World War II supported the expulsion to Germany of the German Sudeten minority, which had helped Hitler destroy and occupy Czechoslovakia – for precisely the same reasons.) The Arabs, then and later, rejected the principle of partition as well as the specific Peel proposals.
Neither Ben-Gurion nor the Zionist movement ‘planned’ the displacement of the 700,000-odd Arabs who moved or were removed from their homes in 1948. There was no such plan or blanket policy. Transfer was never adopted by the Zionist movement as part of its platform; on the contrary, the movement always accepted that the Jewish state that arose would contain a sizeable Arab minority." 1.
What right does Davis or the IPMN have to include all of us in their one-sided views. His connection to the IPMN should not have been noted in his letter. And why don’t we have two organizations dealing with the Middle East so that all of us might be represented? I know of a very good organization that would be fair to all sides. Presbyterians for Middle East Peace.
1. While on this site go to their information page about the Roma. What is happening in France is awful, to say the least. See Reflections on Roma