The Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly in July 2012 voted 333-331 against a resolution to divest from Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola Solutions over those companies’ profit “from non-peaceful pursuits in Israel-Palestine.” Now, the Presbyterian Church’s new study guide on the Arab-Israeli conflict has been accused of being a “hateful document” that “promotes the eradication of Israel.” Credit: Justin McIntosh via Wikimedia Commons.
By Sean Savage/JNS.org
Presbyterian Church (USA) has come under fire for its new study guide on the Arab-Israeli conflict, which critics contend is a “hateful document” that “promotes the eradication of Israel” by targeting the core tenets of Zionism and Christian Zionism.
The 74-page study guide, titled “Zionism Unsettled: A Congregational Study Guide,” was produced by the Israel/Palestine Mission Network of Presbyterian Church (USA) and released ahead of its national assembly in June.
“Every couple of years, in the run-up to the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s General Assembly, anti-Zionist activists in the denomination put forth a hateful document that assails Israel’s legitimacy and antagonizes Jews in the United States. It happened in 2010, it happened in 2012 and it happened again in 2014 with this document,” Dexter Van Zile, Christian Media Analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, told JNS.org.
According to its website, the study guide and its companion DVD tackles “critical issues fearlessly and with inspiring scope” that “draw together compelling and diverse viewpoints from Jews, Muslims, and Christians in Israel, Palestine, the US, and around the globe.”
The study guide also seeks to confront “mainstream perceptions with important alternative perspectives frequently ignored in the media,” its website said. But B’nai B’rith International said in a press release, “Despite the rosy terms in which the church describes the guide, its description is profoundly deceptive. The church conceals the actual nature of the publication—engagement in vile revisionism of not merely Israeli, but Jewish history too—while exploiting fringe perspectives to legitimize polemics contrary to any understanding of genuine interreligious dialogue and peacemaking.”
Van Zile told JNS.org that the study guide promotes historical figures who have “lost the argument over the need for a Jewish state and then presents them as credible voices to non-Jews.”
“The authors of the document report these folks are ‘outside mainstream circles,’ which is another way of saying they have lost the argument with their fellow Jews,” he said.