Saturday, December 11, 2010

Israel/Palestine Mission Network: Getting revenge; sweet or hateful?

Are you tired of this? I am; it is Christmas and I want to concentrate on this sacred time, celebrating the first coming of Jesus, writing about the incarnation and posting beautiful Christmas hymns. But one of our Presbyterian organizations is at war with the Jewish people and because I belong to Jesus Christ I cannot back away from this terrible time.

Saturday, Dec. 11th, the Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) linked to an awful article about the Simon Wiesenthal Center which not only slandered the center but also its Dean & founder, Rabbi Marvin Hier. The IPMN when linking to the article written by Lawrence Swaim, wrote, “Time to point the finger back at the Simon Wiesenthal Center.”[1] Their point is bigoted and shallow. Did they even read the article?

The article “Israel’s War Against the Dead: Mamilla Cemetery and the Simon Wiesenthal Center,” is about the Museum of Tolerance that the Center is building in Jerusalem.[2] They are accused, in the article, of building the museum on top of a Muslim cemetery. But there is much more than complaints about the museum at the end of the article.

Swaim writes of the The Simon Wiesenthal Center:

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is an extreme rightwing Jewish organization, tinged by neo-fascism and with many of the characteristics of a hate organization. It is based almost completely on a vulgarized, pervasive form of religious nationalism. Its vision for Israel is consistent with the neo-fascist Jabotinsky tendency within Zionism that was modeled on Italian fascism, and it also promotes the Likudnik doctrine that Judaism itself has no practical or demographic existence separate from Israel. The SWC supports the neo-con belief in permanent war in the Middle East, and it engages in the vigorous dissemination of religious bigotry against Muslims in the US. It portrays anti-Semitism as worse than it is, partly for fund-raising purposes and partly to establish an imagined victim status. It similarly uses the Holocaust both to
discourage criticism of Israel and to justify Israel’s own violence, aggressively insisting that every criticism of Israel is really aimed at destroying the Jewish people. Above all, the SWC is a dangerous cultural force that seeks religious war as the standard for religious authenticity.
Of SWC's leadership Swaim writes:

The fight over Mamilla Cemetery is a dispute in which Rabbi Hier, the very incarnation of the charismatic but morally corrupt religious fanatic, seeks to invent a new Judaism that, like medieval Christianity, defines itself by its ability to wound and torment the underdog.
Of the membership of the Simon Wiesenthal Center the author writes:

One has the sense that Hier’s followers are primarily lower (and middle) middle-class people, perhaps small businesspersons and conservative professionals who reject Judaism’s traditional concern for social justice, whose level of cultural literacy is not particularly high, and who are attracted to the us-against-them aggression of religious nationalism.
To put it very succinctly, I consider the Rabbis at the Simon Wiesenthal Center my friends. I know them to be men of integrity. The IPMN may consider it important to get revenge against those they consider their enemies, but it seems to me that such action fails to honor the Prince of Peace. More than that, using a despicable insulting article full of fraudulent, contrived and exaggerated content to get revenge dishonors the One who is truth himself.

May God have mercy on us all.

[1] The author of this diatribe, Lawrence Swaim, is listed as Director of the Interfaith Freedom Foundation, an organization that apparently has no web site. The article was taken from a Muslim paper for which Swain writes a column, InFocus News. After clicking around on the site I could not come up with past articles, but here is an overview by the Jewish organization, The Anti-Defamation League.

[2] To read about the dispute over the Museum read the article that Swaim has written and then go to the Simon Wiesenthal Center and read their page on the Museum, read the whole page, The Museum of Tolerance, Jerusalem.


Pastor Bob said...

Putting aside the question of whether the IPMN is racist (I think they have proven their racism long ago) has Mamilla cemetery been neglected and desecrated over the years. Is the museum of tolerance being built on an ancient cemetery? Was a parking lot built on the site in the past? And if these two statements are true shouldn't Israel stop the building of the museum?

Bob Campbell
Sharon Hill, PA

Viola Larson said...

Bob, I would suggest going to the link I have provided at the end of the posting and reading the whole page. Beside one picture of a parking lot, it says this:

"The Museum is not being built on the nearby Mamilla cemetery, but on an adjacent site which, for nearly a half-century, served as Jerusalem's municipal car park where every day hundreds of Jews, Christians, and Muslims parked their cars. Electric, cable and sewer lines were laid below the ground."

Dexter Van Zile said...

In its press release, the IPMN states that the Wiesenthal Center is building its Museum of Tolerance on an ancient Muslim cemetery. This is not the first time they've leveled this accusation. Prior to the PC(USA)'s General Assembly this summer, the IMPN described the Wiesenthal Center as "an organization once known for its pursuit of justice [that] has now appointed itself to be a mouthpiece for a colonial enterprise and segregated political system."

The IPMN continued: "It is important to note that the Wiesenthal Center, which Presbyterians could once count on to express the best of the Biblical prophetic tradition, is presently trying to build a 'Museum of Tolerance' on an ancient Muslim graveyard in Jerusalem."

The IPMN left out some important facts about the “ancient Muslim burial ground” it was allegedly desecrating.

In 1945, the Supreme Muslim Council in Jerusalem approved the construction of a business center on the same property. The center would include a six-story house belonging to the council, offices and “a four-storeyed hotel, a bank and other buildings suitable for a college club and a factory.” (“Cemetery Into Business Centre,” Palestine Post, Thursday, Nov. 22, 1945, page 2.)

Subsequently, the property in question had been used – without complaint as a parking lot – for forty years.

In sum, the IPMN was parroting the line offered by Muslim extremists in Israel and using it to attack a Jewish group in the U.S.

Viola Larson said...

Thanks Dexter. Good information. However to any one reading, the SWC's decision good or bad, does not deserve the rant that the article spews. "tinged by neo-fascism and with many of the characteristics of a hate organization," indeed! I don't think the person who is doing the posting on IPMN is even reading everything they post. If they did read this they are blatant in their radical anti-Semitism.

will spotts said...

Viola - whether they read this particular item or not, they are blatant, and have been so since at least the 2006 GA. (You may recall the power point presentation they prepared for that GA.)

Viola Larson said...

I had forgotten that. Is that somewhere still pn the web?