Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Please share my anger: IPMN, James Wall & hanging Jewish people

Eric Metaxas, author of Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, writes of Bonhoeffer’s “holy anger” over the suffering of the Jews in Germany on Kristallnacht (night of the broken glass). That was the night when most of the synagogues and Jewish businesses in Germany were destroyed and burned. I hope the anger I am feeling at the moment has at least a tiny amount of holiness.

How do you feel when you read the statement below?

This is the way the world is, and this is Israel, the remorseless, unprincipled barbaric in the most and truest sense, of nations. I think the ruthless barbaric sense of superiority and invincibility Israel is, is in the myth of their “Nation” if not their blood, for there is no such thing as an ethnic or blood Jew or “people.” These God’s chosen people? My God!

I tire of this charade, and it is time someone began calling these shenanigans, what it is, spades are spades, and naming Zionist Israelis for what they are and, not simply calling them to account, but going to their house, knocking on their door, dragging them out, holding their feet to the fire and calling them to account… at the end of a figurative rope if necessary, and virtual ropes if at all possible!

The quote is by Debbie Menon, writing on a site that is a blog connected to Veterans Today, the horribly anti-Semitic site I wrote about several days ago. The site, My Catbird Seat, has many of the same writers that Veterans Today has including VT’s Senior Editor, Gordon Duff, who pushes the theory that Israel conspired to down the twin Towers on 9-11. My Catbird Seat has a list of their contributing writers. At the bottom of the list the name James M Wall is listed.

James Wall, once the Editor and Publisher of The Christian Century and now a contributing editor, is a writer often used by the Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) In fact; they have several of his articles on their web page. And on their Facebook page they just recently linked to one of his article from his blog Wall Writings, “US Offers Bibi 20 F-35 Fighters, The Jordan Valley and a Free UN Pass.”

Pastor David Fischler at Reformed Pastor has just written about Wall’s article, James Wall: Sewer Dweller (UPDATED). Fischler points out that Wall in his article was using resources from Veterans Today. He also raises some great questions and suggests that The Christian Century, for the sake of their own integrity, needs to rid themselves of any connection with Wall. “He [James Wall] has inextricably linked and identified himself with them through the sites he writes for and uses as sources. He is a blot on the Christian Century, and on the mainline churches that have looked to him for journalistic wisdom.”

I believe the same question needs to be asked of the Israel/Palestine Mission Network as well as the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Rarely does the IPMN miss linking to Wall’s articles if they are about the Middle East. If they realize that he is connected to such extreme groups will they disconnect from him? Will the PCUSA ever understand that they have an organization, the IPMN, with too many connections by linkage, to radical anti-Semitic groups?

The truth is, after looking at many of the posts on My Catbird Seat, I realize that their articles and links are not that much different then the ones posted at IPMN. Only those that have to do with 9-11 conspiracy theories and rabid ant-Semitism are missing form the IPMN site. Other wise the articles and authors are mostly the same. And the continuous rant about Israel and Jewish people and organizations in the United States are also the same.

I am angry. It is almost Thanksgiving, I have a review to write, pies to bake, great grandchildren to read to, but still I am angry. I will go to the mountains for dinner with my oldest son and his wife, and I will go angry. I will carry this anger with me not from hate but from love. Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, has called us to peace and truth. He is truth; how can we hold such dishonesty in our hearts. How can we use information and organizations that tell lies about those God chose to bless the world with his great grace, Jesus Christ? How can we in any way be connected to those who wish to use “virtual ropes” on the Jewish people? Please share my anger.


Anonymous said...

“Jews are a "base, whoring people, that is, no people of God, and their boast of lineage, circumcision, and law must be accounted as filth. …Their synagogues and schools should be set on fire, their prayer books destroyed, rabbis forbidden to preach, homes destroyed, and property and money confiscated. They should be shown no mercy or kindness, afforded no legal protection, and these "poisonous envenomed worms" should be drafted into forced labor or expelled for all time…we are at fault in not slaying them."

In 1543 our Protestant Reformer, Martin Luther published his 65,000 word treatise, “On the Jews and Their Lies” from which the quote was taken.

Loving the dead Jews of the Bible while hating those who live is not new but something very old within our Christian faith dear Viola. I, like you will God willing spend the rest of my life fighting against it because of the Jewish rabbi from Nazareth who saved my life.


Viola Larson said...

One of the things I found out as I read the book by Metaxas was that Luther wrote those things in his old age when his mind was not quite right.(that of course does not make them right) And Bonhoeffer always countered the German Christians who quoted Luther with the good that Luther said about the Jews.

You should read some about the Confessing Church in Germany. You would enjoy the reading.

And it is because of a Jewish Rabbi who was very God from very God. Thanks Victor.

Anonymous said...

Very God indeed!!

My brother Martin wrote many things in his old age but nothing as hate-filled as his darkened thoughts toward the Jewish people. "Jesus Was A Jew" is a wonderful piece of writing from the same man and published 18 years before "On the Jews and Their Lies." What happened to him between that time only his God knows.

I certainly give brother Martin his due regarding the good he has done, as I do for many of our patriarchs.

However, it is he same mercy I trust to cover my wicked heart that is my certain hope for his.


will spotts said...

Viola - I very much understand your feelings about this issue. As you know, I have shared that concern, and yes - anger at the hateful, manifestly false statements coming from many in the anti-Zionist movement.

But I have to ask a question. It is one I have never sufficiently resolved. To me it is self-evident that hatred and bigotry and a degree of deceit will continue to be evidenced in Presbyterian resources as long as ordinary Presbyterians tolerate it. (Make excuses for it, deny it, etc.)

How then can ordinary Presbyterians (who do not vocally oppose this) evade responsibility for it?

In short, it is not the 'cranks' or the extremists or even some special group who are the real problem, but ordinary Presbyterians who, by accepting it in their name and from their officials and networks (for which the PC(USA) remains legally responsible).

At what point does affiliation imply consent? And at what point is ignorance no longer a valid excuse?

Viola Larson said...

All good questions but I think there may be many answers.

Are all Presbyterians (USA) responsible for what the IPMN is doing? Well, if we want to go with Bonhoeffer, yes, the church must confesses. And then after confession must turn around and go a different direction. That doesn't mean that everyone will, but it does mean some must.

But that doesn't answer your whole question. Are we complicit in the actual actions of IPMN because we are members of the PCUSA. Yes but in the same way that all Evangelicals are complicit in the anti-Semitism of the very conservative, or charismatic churches including some reformed churches. I think I have told this story before:

There was a time when I was working in apologetics and a very prominent apologetic group doing great work (They were always the ones questioned by the newspapers or magazines) obtained a leader that was very anti-Semitic. I wrote to Harvest house about one of his books because it was just plain awful. They sent it to the John Birch Society who threatened me, the author threatened me and I still have a review that I never published not because I was afraid of the threat but because another group got involved speaking out about what was happening. They also asked me to write an article on anti-Semitism which allowed me to say what I needed to say to conservative Christians.
My point is that no matter where you turn, what church group you belong to, there will be anti-Semitism-we talked about this- and God will require each of us in different ways to stand against it. Different ways at different times also.

But yes, if members know about this and are doing nothing-they are complicit. I think it isn't the affiliation its not doing anything about it. Can you imagine what would happen if hundreds of Presbyterians wrote to the World Missions of the PCUSA and complained about IPMN and all the problems connected to them.

Pastor Bob said...

"Can you imagine what would happen if hundreds of Presbyterians wrote to the World Missions of the PCUSA and complained about IPMN and all the problems connected to them."

Sure can. Maybe this is just a reflection of my frustration over the years but I think the true response is "nothing."

Doesn't stop me from trying.

will spotts said...

Viola - You are certainly right. Among other things, "Evangelical" is not a magic descriptor that prevents antisemitism. A few years ago, a lot of us might have been tempted to think that "liberal" meant this was less likely - because of what self-identified "liberals" claimed to be their values. Those of us who thought that have been proven wrong in recent years.

As it turns out, this seems to be popping up everywhere. There is no 'safe' place in the sense that people are immune to antisemitism. To me, it has to be opposed and challenged wherever it is found.

All I'm saying is that I (and you, I think) have encountered quite a few Presbyterians who are in denial. Who are willfully ignorant of the actual words coming from PC(USA) offices, etc. -- who, when presented with them, perform mental gymnastics to make them somehow seem less bigoted or 'well intentioned'. Or who, flat out deny that they are what they are.

Frankly, when church officials, networks, etc. use the same arguments as the most rabid white supremacists and neo-Nazis - that should be self-evidently troubling. When commissioners to a GA let pass without comment vile slanders of American Jewish groups - burning churches and sending bombs - SOMETHING IS WRONG.

And the persons in that denomination cannot evade responsibility for it. Choosing not to know is NOT a moral option.

will spotts said...

I'm not saying leave, or anything of the kind. But at some point, tolerance and support become complicity and responsibility. And that applies to ALL the denominations and groups that this affects.

I certainly can't (and rightly shouldn't) tell Presbyterians what to do with their denomination. As a former Presbyterian, I don't have a stake - except insofar as the organization is causing harm to those outside of it.

But if those hundreds - and out of 2+ million members, I'd hope there'd be more than hundreds - instead of calling, could raise their voices at session meetings and from pulpits, could insist that the issue be addressed at presbytery meetings, and could send overtures to General Assembly REQUIRING ALL PC(USA) NATIONAL EMPLOYEES to cease and desist from antisemitic discourse - that might make a difference.

These would have to be very different than the customary overtures - they would have to blatant, plain spoken, and detailed - actually enumerating the problem and its extent in the PC(USA). This would not be diplomatic, and it would not appeal to political insiders and strategists.

But it might make a positive difference.

Greg Scandlen said...


Thank you for providing a link to the IPMN facebook page. I scrolled through the postings and am in shock. I have never seen such a collection of anti-Israel propaganda in one place before.

I am ashamed that my church should be supporting such calumny. Please tell what I can do as a layman to help the church correct its course. I will pray for it, of course, but is there anything else?

Viola Larson said...


I think everything that Will Spotts has suggested is important although just doing that will be a battle in itself. There needs to be protest at every level of our denomination. Somehow the people perpetrating this anti-Semitism have to hear that their words and actions are not acceptable. I would like to see their Facebook page removed since they are using it as a battering ram against not only Israel but the Jewish people of the United States. I would also like to see them remove any connecting links to James Walls articles. He does not speak for the Presbyterian Church.

I believe a good beginning would be to complain to the leadership of the GAMC.