Monday, June 16, 2014

It has already begun: control of the Middle East Committee (Update) (New Update)

The Middle East Committee, which like all committees, must finish their work by Tuesday night is already under control of those who will frustrate every attempt the committee takes towards fairness. Last night when the agenda for the committee was voted on a member made a motion to allow Presbyterians For Middle East Peace  thirty minutes to speak from a different perspective than the three Presbyterian entities, which includes Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI).
In the midst of debate the resource person for that committee was asked by the committee’s moderator to explain how the open hearings work. And although only ninety persons will be allowed, (There was almost double that amount signed up)  each having 90 seconds to speak, some having the same anti-Israel perspective as the three Presbyterian entities, the resource person made it seem as though this was a sufficient way of allowing different perspectives. She failed to note that the committee will not be allowed to ask any of them questions. There can be no dialogue with them.

The resource person should not have been asked in the middle of the debate. She gave more than information, she gave advice. That is just one way of controlling the committee.

The motion lost 25 to 33. If you want to know more about the PFMEP they have just posted the videos of their General Assembly breakfast speakers on their web site. It begins with Rev. John Wimberly speaking and introducing the main speakers, Ghaith Ai-Omari, a Palestinian, R. Gustav Niebuhr a professor and journalist and Rachel Lerner of J. Street.
Pray that the dark forces (and here I am referring to the spiritual powers of wickedness) that seek to separate the Jewish community from the Presbyterian community will themselves be thwarted and banished. Pray that sensibleness and fairness will invade the hearts of those who have the power to destroy relationships, and the Presbyterian Church itself, with their actions. Pray that the truth will prevail.

Update: There is now more control happening in the committee. These people listed have been chosen to speak against Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions when they are for BDS: (See second update below)

04-03 - Sydney Levy -  chosen to oppose Apartheid overture
Author of Op-Ed calling for "divestment from Israeli Apartheid": 
Director of Campaigns for Jewish Voice for PEace - supports divestment by PCUSA: 

04-05 Susannah Nachenberg - chosen to OPPOSE Boycotting HP
Listed as a Jewish Voice for Peace "Resource:

Part of a JVP crowdfunding campaign

Giving an interview highly critical of Israel  

04-06 - Seth Morrison - chosen to OPPOSE occupation free investment
Pro-BDS activist, Described on pro-BDS website MondoWeiss as an activist with 

Here visiting congressman with JVP Jewish Voice for PEace 

Mondoweiss: Seth Morrison is a longtime activist for Israeli Palestinian peace. An active member of Jewish Voice for Peace and volunteers for a variety of Jewish and secular non-profit organizations. Professionally he is a consultant in marketing and strategic planning for nonprofit and for-profit organizations.

04-07 - Michael Davis - chosen to OPPOSE MRTI report overture
Member JVP Rabbinic Cabinet
Here he writes in Tikkun that he is coming to Detroit in support of divestment

04-08  MARILYN BORST -chosen to OPPOSE MRTI report overture
signed onto pro BDS petition
longtime member of Sabeel (Sabeel annual report 2006):

Second update: The Scheduling people have stated that there was a clerical misunderstanding of the sign up sheet. 


will spotts said...

Clerical misunderstanding?

How plausible ... or not

Viola Larson said...

I want to give them the benefit of the doubt--there was a huge amount of sign ups, and although I signed up early and it was easy there could have been some mistakes with so many. We will never know, it is for certain that JVP filled many of the slots at open hearings.

Doug Hagler said...

What is sensible and fair about benefiting financially from the apartheid in Israel-Palestine? Why is it that we are Anti-Semitic if we dare not earn investment dividends from the situation there?

Viola Larson said...

Doug I do not consider Israel an apartheid state so it wouldn't help to answer the question. Israel does have problems as we have throughout our existence. We keep working on our problems so does Israel. In South Africa different ethnic groups didn't shop together, eat together, etc. one of the founders of the BDS movement goes to Tel Aviv university. There just isn't a real comparison.

Anonymous said...

Doug: Your use of the term "apartheid" to describe the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may be emotionally satisfying, but bears as much relationship to the facts as would calling Iran a functioning democracy because it happens to have elections.

As for the investment question, I'm sure the companies in question could not care less whether PCUSA earns anything from them or not. (At this point, they probably wish it would, so they wouldn't have to listen to its self-righteous moralizing any more.) Selling investments in those companies doesn't make the stock disappear–it simply goes into other hands. But I'm sure it will make the blame-Israel-for-all-the-world's-ills crowd happy.

David Fischler
Woodbridge, VA

will spotts said...

Doug - more to the point, this post is about a corrupt process at the General Assembly. This is a shameful practice that Presbyterians - Even if they do believe Israel to be an apartheid state, and even if they do want to divest - should reject if they wish for a moral stance.

But I also rather strongly question the degree to which PC(USA) investments with then be somehow 'ethical' - how were they vetted? I'd wager (and give very strong odds) that you profit from things you would think repellant every day. And then there is the issue of just how exactly divestment affects funding of the occupation. It doesn't in any way, shape, or form. It is theater to make Presbyterians (who agree with the issue) feel better about themselves. Nothing more, nothing less.