Katherine Cunningham, Moderator of the Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), writes the 4th article on the Kairos Document for ecclesio.com. Her focus is on a letter written to members of the United States Congress and signed by 15 mainline denominational leaders. As Cunningham puts it “The letter addressed the American legislators who approve all economic and military aid to Israel and are charged with the responsibility of oversight for how that 3.1 billion dollar annual aid package is implemented.” The letter suggested that the military aid to Israel is unconditional and that it was helping to continue Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.
Cunningham’s introduction to this subject, like most material coming from IPMN, is offensive. Her beginning remark on the subject of the letter is, “On October 5, 2012, fifteen Christian leaders in the United States issued a letter to members of Congress that rocked American Christian-Jewish relationships.” She further states:
No one saw this coming. The statement stunned the Jewish community used to the unquestioned support of the State of Israel as a preferential ally of the United States. The 2012 denominational national meetings, with their heated debates on divestment from American corporations benefiting from supporting the Palestinian occupation, concluded with votes among the Methodists, Presbyterians and Episcopalians “to invest” in Palestine rather than divest church funds from U.S. corporations profiting from Israel’s military occupation. Those votes were influenced by threats from Jewish organizations that pro-divestment actions would cause a rupture in the decades of Christian-Jewish interfaith partnerships. (Underline mine)
Four questions here:
1. Is Cunningham linking the failure of the motions to divest from companies doing business with Israel to the writing of the letter by denominational leaders? That would imply that at best the letter was a means of correcting commissioner’s votes.
2. Is Cunningham suggesting that the simple truth that most of the Jewish community would be alienated by the action of divestment on the part of Presbyterians and other denominations is a threat? Why is she using that word?
3. Is Cunningham aware that her organization is guilty of perpetrating horrific slander against the Jewish community during the 2010 General Assembly when they placed a comment within an attachment on a motion, implying that the Jewish community had used threats and intimidation which included sending a bomb to Presbyterian headquarters and burning down a church? They have never apologized for that and now they are using the word ‘threat’ again. (To see attachment click additional resource in the blue box here.)
4. Does Cunningham, and denominational leaders, truly believe that the United States Congress gives military aid to Israel unconditionally without any forethought for either the security of the people of the United States or of Israel the only democracy in the Middle East?
That is extreme simplistic thinking. One may disagree with the amount or even some of the conditions but to insist that the money is given unconditionally borrows from those who would underline the unconditional with some vague reference to covert conspiratorial influence.
And indeed, Cunningham aggravates the honest reader with these words, “The intense reaction from Jewish organizations reveals a significant divide in nationalistic loyalties, focused on Christian U.S. citizens calling Congress to an honest examination of military aid under United States law against the actions of the country that so many Americans regard as the rightful Jewish homeland.” Only those who have forgotten the accusations of Nazi leaders in Germany against the loyalty of its Jewish citizens would even think of making such accusations.
One need go no further in reading after that remark about loyalty—who could hear above the awful drum beat of anti-Semitism.