Thursday, December 2, 2010

Who cares? An exchange of e-mails between myself and IPMN

I sent an e-mail to Carol Hylkema, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Israel/Palestine Mission Network, concerning their link to Veterans Today and to James Wall who not only writes for My Catbird Seat but also praises Veterans Today. Below is my e-mail and then the E-mail she sent me. The e-mail is signed by Hylkema but was sent by Jeffrey DeYoe, chair of the IPMN advocacy group.

Carol Hylkema
Israel Palestine Mission Network
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Dear Ms Hylkema,

I am writing this to inform you that the person you have been linking to both on your front page and your Facebook page, James Wall, has connected to several highly anti-Semitic web sites and insists that they are not anti-Semitic. He, in fact, is writing for them. I know that he was once the Editor of Christian Century but nonetheless he is involved in radical anti-Semitism. Today you linked to his essay, Choose This Day Whom You Will Serve in which he insists that Veterans Today is not anti-Semitic. He writes:

“The website Veterans Today is not a “sludge-bucket”. It is a progressive website that sees injustice and calls it for what it is, which explains why these days, I find myself more at home with my new friends at Veterans Today and My Catbird Seat than with any Presbyterian blogger who has failed to realize that the Israeli occupation is a moral evil which must be ended. Perhaps this is a new ecumenism of the faithful.”

But this is the latest article on Veterans Today, “Dam of Lies.” It not only denies the Holocaust, it says that in World War II the Germans were the good guys. Most of the writers on the site believe the Israelis are the ones who brought down the towers in New York. And yet Noushin Framke placed a comment on Wall's posting about how the site is not anti-Semitic praising Wall and directing people to your site. And you have linked on Facebook to at least one article on Veterans Today.

To be very blunt, I and others are outraged by this and are pleading with you and/or others to do something about the problem. You, of course will not like my blog posting about this but I am sending them to you so you will hopefully understand that this is a very big problem.

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Viola Larson

Cc Linda Valentine, Executive Director
Hunter Farrell, World Mission Director

Dear Ms. Larson,

Thank you for your letter expressing your concern regarding our network's endorsement of James Wall and his writings. From where we stand, James Wall is a beacon of light in a place where debate has produced more heat than light.

Mr. Wall's reference to other writers are his choice, not ours to make. As far as your concern on articles not referenced by James Wall that appear on a website that he has referenced, we feel uncomfortable practicing guilt by association. The Israel Palestine Mission Network never condones anti-Semitism and does not believe that James Wall is anti-Semitic. His record of speaking out against racism and human rights violations in the world speaks for itself and we support his work in this regard.

Grace and Peace,

Carol Hylkema, Moderator

cc: Linda Valentine, GAMC Executive Director
Hunter Farrell, World Mission Director


reformedpastor said...

This woman plainly doesn't understand the idea of guilt by association. If Veterans Today were simply using his blog posts, or if Debbie Menon were just using them, that would be one thing. But Wall is a "contributing writer" for My Catbird Seat, and explicitly endorses Veterans Today in the portion you quoted to her. That's not guilt by association, it's outright embrace of the unthinkable.

I think at this point that it would be fair to say that IPMN is so obsessive in its conviction of Israeli guilt and Palestinian innocence that it is unable to recognize anti-Semitism when it sees it. Time for members of the PCUSA to go over their heads with complaints, as you have done in cc'ing Linda Valentine. I'll be interested to see whether she is as blind. Well done, Viola.

David Fischler
Woodbridge, VA

Anonymous said...

Dear Ms Larson,

Interesting blog, I just stumbled on.

It is a symptom of a greater disease when as Mr. Fishler suggests, people cannot recognize anti-Semitism, and at the same time, others cannot recognize the evil of rabid Zionism either. Nevertheless, I think the anti-Semitism you are referring to is so obvious as to be a caricature, and therefore suspicious.

It serves no purpose at all for Christians to choose sides in the Israeli - Palestinian conflict. The blood both sides have bathed in leaves neither on the high ground of moral justice. It is also true that the balance of power lies in the hands of Israel, and it is therefore much more in Israel's ability to opt for moral justice than the Palestinian's. Therefore, it is fair to hold the Israelis up to a higher standard of accountability.

So if your purpose is to promote peace between Israel and her neighbors you are barking up the wrong tree. If your purpose is to promote moral justice in general, you will fail because you are choosing sides with injustice and immorality. If your purpose is to defend Israel against her enemies, she does not need your help and you are wasting your energy.

Your own choosing of sides against the Palestinians muddles your complaints against James Wall.

James Wall says he is more comfortable sitting at the table with someone whose views are so extreme as to be humorous than he is with sitting with the folks who ignore the evil sin that Israel is committing. That does not mean he has embraced their views nor adopted them for himself.

It may just mean he is pissed off at people like you that ignore the inhumane methods Israel uses against the Palestinians and choose sides with the powerful against the weak.

It may just mean he is experiencing what King David experienced while taking refuge with his country's enemies at the time, the Philistines:

"You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;"

It may just mean you need to check yourself when you presume to complain against folks "in the name of Jesus Christ". Jesus Christ's complaints may not be against Mr. Wall at all. They could in fact be against those who refuse to be just and peaceful even though it is well within their power to be so.

Steve Blair
Coronado, CA

Greg Scandlen said...

"Guilt by association?" One chooses with whom one associates. I would say those choices are a pretty good indicator of the person's character. In this case, Mr. Wall says he is perfectly comfortable with these associations and has not a word of reservation about it.

Greg Scandlen

Pastor Bob said...

Unrestricted giving doesn't actually go to the IPMN does it?

Bob Campbell
Sharon Hill

Viola Larson said...

David, this is off my main subject, but I have a question relating to what you quoted from on your comment section. It was the extra by the awful anti-Semite:

"I have proposed the basic framework of the solution, which is the elimination of the rabbinical class and its entire support system, both Jewish and Gentile. Almost anything is possible but first it has to be proposed."
Couldn't one make the case that this is a death threat to a whole group of people and therefore VT should not be allowed on the internet?

Viola Larson said...

Greg, thanks I agree.

Viola Larson said...

I think it does, or was that a rhetorical question?

Viola Larson said...

Dear Steve,

I generally know when someone just stubbles onto my blog, and when they purposely lurk about until striking. I do have a feed after all.

You remind me of a favorite book by William Faulkner: The Sound and the Fury. Of course he was borrowing from Shakespeare who was explaining what life is about.

The kind of views J.B. Campbell has are the kind that killed six million Jewish people including children. I do not consider that humorous.