Friday, February 10, 2012

A need to apologize--before tomorrow

The Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has recently been confronted by a long-suffering yet weary Jewish Community with such words as “gutter tactics,” “horrific rhetoric,” and “outrageous and uncivil invective.” The Jewish Council for Public Affairs has called on the PCUSA to take action against the IPMN. The JCPA’s beginning statement is:
The Israel Palestine Mission Network of the PCUSA (IPMN-PCUSA) is a group chartered by the PCUSA General Assembly and advised by members of the denomination's national staff. IPMN-PCUSA’s policies, programs, social media and other communications are a wellspring of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel invective, according to extensive research conducted by the JCPA and the Israel Action Network, an initiative of The Jewish Federations of North America in partnership with JCPA.
Included in their statement is the fact that “the IPMN-PCUSA falsely accused the Jewish community of intimidating Presbyterians by sending a letter-bomb to the church’s headquarters and setting fire to a church.” If one goes to documents for the 219th Presbyterian General Assembly the statement will still be there; it has never been removed, RE: “CHRISTIANS AND JEWS: PEOPLE OF GOD” AN EXAMPLE OF OCCUPATION THEOLOGY The offensive statement is the first footnote. And although Carol Hylkema the moderator of IPMN, admitted it was placed there by one of IPMN’s own she never apologized or denied the accusation’s placement.

The JCPA also noted the many anti-Jewish links and statements placed on the IPMN’s Facebook page which has just recently been removed. They write:
The IPMN-PCUSA Facebook page includes a cartoon of President Obama wearing weighty Jewish star earrings to suggest Jewish control of the American leaders, a common theme on the site. The IPMN-PCUSA has posted articles that accuse Jews of controlling Hollywood, the media, and American politics - and blaming Israel for the American housing and economic crisis. IPMN-PCUSA's communications chair also posted her opposition to a two-state solution and the existence of a Jewish state, something which she terms "anachronistic.” The same IPMN leader, Noushin Framke, clicked "like" on the Obama cartoon with the Jewish stars and another post that Hamas should keep Israeli Gilad Shalit hostage until Palestinians are granted a right of return.
It should be noted that first IPMN took down their Facebook Page and then put it back up for several days with an announcement that it would soon be removed as they would only use Twitter. But with that announcement they also linked to some more sites including one with old pictures of the ancient Holy Land taken in the 1920s and before. Some pictures were beautiful but many had extremely bad propaganda written on them. One suggested that the father of Zionism, Theodor Herzl, was calling for the Jews to come and destroy the Mosque in Jerusalem. This is the kind of tactic that continually besmirches the PCUSA and those of us who are still members.

The IPMN has written an arrogant response to the JCPA which includes the statement that they are not anti-Semitic. As I read it my thoughts went to a book I keep hidden with most of my other yucky research material. That is Henry Ford’s The International Jew. It was written as Hitler was rising to power in Germany and is basically a redo of the Protocols’ of the Elders of Zion a malevolent & fraudulent work. As I read in it I see samples of slander that are not unlike those propagated by the IPMN. For instance in the booklet published by IPMN, Steadfast Hope they write:
The founding narrative of the State of Israel links the modern-day Jews’ claim to their direct genealogical descent from the ancient Israelites. Recent anthropological scholarship shows that this widespread belief is very likely a myth.
And in The International Jew Ford writes:
The fiction that the Jews are an Old Testament people faithful to the Mosaic Law, would then be exploded [if seminarians studied the Protocols] and timid Christians would no longer superstitiously hesitate to speak the truth about them because of that sadly misinterpreted text: “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee.”
Another example, in Steadfast Hope as well as many statements and links the IPMN insists that Israel controls not only the United States media but also much of its government. The mention above of President Obama wearing Star of David ear rings is but one small case of that equation. It is a constant theme for IPMN. Likewise Ford in The International Jew writes that “all leading news agencies in America are Jew-controlled.” And his book is full of the ways that the Jews supposedly control governments.

At least two years ago IPMN posted a film on their web site entitled “I Am Israel.” It was a horrible video slamming Israel for even existing. It was made by a radical Muslim. A battle ensued between the Jewish Community and IPMN to remove the video. They did remove it, but they never apologized. Supposedly Ford apologized for The International Jew which was published as a series in the Dearborn Press. But it is also rumored that he didn’t and so the material lives on used by the anti-Semites and bigots of the day.

I hope and pray that there will be a clear enough statement and apology by both the leadership of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the members of the IPMN so that in coming years they will not have contributed to future racists and bigots’ pamphlets of hatred toward the Jewish people.

For additional information please see David Fischler’s IPMN: How Dare You Point Out Our Anti-Semitism.

For help in understanding the issues from a fair and just position go to Presbyterians for Middle East Peace.

Also for lots of good information see

"Presbyterian Church Struggle Continues, Jews Suffer the Consequences" at Camera by Dexter Van Zile


Dexter Van Zile said...


Thanks for your work.

At our blog, Snapshots, someone has written "The Presbyterians clearly understand that the cry of "anti-Semite!" has lost much of its punch due to willy-nilly overuse."

Here is my response:

First off, the IPMN represents a narrow band within the PCUSA. People within the PCUSA and outside the denomination have known for a while that its witness about the Arab-Israeli conflict is motivated by an undeniable animus toward Jews and Israel.

If we look at the overtures coming into the upcoming General Assembly, you will see a few dealing with Israel and to the best of my knowledge dealing with Egypt or Iraq where Christians are attacked on a regular basis. Silence on Syria as well. This may change, but the overtures match the silence of the leaders in Louisville.

The fact is, the so-called peacemakers in the PCUSA are obsessed with what Jews and the Jewish state do, but care very little about the obvious misdeeds of Arab and Muslim regimes in the Middle East.

So it's not the cries of anti-Semitism that no longer have any credibility, it is the cries of "Peace! Peace!" from PCUSA institutions that no longer have any credibility. PCUSA peacemakers have applied a double standard, delegitimized Israel and have demonized Israel as well. They have also downplayed or denied Muslim anti-Semitism. And they have also trafficked in tropes of Jewish influence, portraying American Jews as a threat to democracy in the U.S.

That is, simply put, anti-Semitism.

Because the denomination's national leaders have allowed the IPMN to do what it has done without challenge, the denomination's credibility writ large has taken a beating.

It is not the cries of "Anti-Semite" that have lost their power. It is the cry of "Peace!" from the PCUSA that has lost its power and credibility.

Dexter Van Zile

Viola Larson said...

Thanks Dexter. Just a few years ago flying to Denver thelady sitting beside me told me she was I Christian and I of course responded that I was too. When I told her I was a Presbyterian her first words were why do the Presbyterians hate the Jews. Our leadership seem unable to see how many in the Christian world see them.