On Tuesday, by a vote of 28 for and only three against, The Presbyterian Church of the United States of America, an umbrella group representing churches across the country claiming over 1.7 million members, passed several anti-Israel resolutions including one that labeled Israel an apartheid state and compared Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to the Nazi’s genocidal treatment of the Jews.
Other false accusations made by the resolution were:
- The resolution falsely accuses Israel of stealing Palestinian water supplies “for Jewish-only settlements”
- Establishing two sets of laws, one for Israelis and one for Palestinians, which give preferential treatment to Israeli Jews and oppressive treatment to Palestinians,
- Denying the right to “freedom of residence to Palestinians.”
- It accused Israel of “dividing the population along racial lines by the creation of separate reserves and ghettos for the Palestinians.”
The resolution also condemned Israel’s use o checkpoints and security barriers which have proven effective at preventing Palestinian terrorism. The resolution called for “members, congregations, presbyteries, and national staff units, including the Office of Interfaith Relations, to seek appropriate ways to bring an end to Israeli apartheid.” Ironically, the resolution claimed the purpose of demonizing Israel was a “peaceful reconciliation for the people of Israel and Palestine similar to that which occurred in South Africa when apartheid was internationally acknowledged.”
While acknowledging that there is a disturbing rise in antisemitism, the resolution claimed that its claims were not antisemitic as they addressed “behaviors…without condemning a whole people group.”
The Philos Action League, a Christian community group that works with Jewish allies to combat anti-Semitism and the spread of hatred within the Christian community, is urging Presbyterian Church group members to reject the measure, saying it will contribute to the rising tide of anti-Semitism in the United States.
The resolution also compared Israel to Nazi Germany:
After World War II when the horror of the Nazi Holocaust was revealed, Jews around the world said “never again.” Many Christians around the world were shamed by their silence during the 1930s as Jews in Germany were given special cards identifying their religion, had their businesses shut down, had their land expropriated, and were forced to live in ghettos. Christians too vowed that never again would they be silent if a government passed laws establishing and maintaining the domination by one ethnic group over another ethnic group through systematic separation, oppression, and denial of basic human rights. Silence in the face of evil was wrong then, and it is wrong now.
The resolution also used a map to show the loss of “Palestinian land” from 1946-2000.
This map has been widely used as anti-Israel propaganda and has been debunked numerous times. MSNBS aired it in a segment in October 2015 and was forced to issue an apology. The maps give the impression that a state of Palestine had existed in 1946 when in fact the area was under British Mandatory rule until May 14, 1948.
The resolution called to designate May 15 as “Palestinian Nakba Remembrance Day “. Nakba, or ‘catastrophe’, refers to 1948 when Israel successfully defended itself from seven Arab nations attacking from all sides in an attempt to wipe out the Jewish nation. Nakba Day commemorates this as a catastrophe.
The resolution also called for the end of the “siege of Gaza”. Israel pulled out all IDF troops in 2005, and forcibly evacuated 10,000 Jews living there. The Palestinians elected Hamas to govern and they have spent billions of dollars intended for humanitarian aid in attacking Israeli civilian centers. The resolution called on Israel to end all military action in Gaza, which it described as being disproportionate and collective punishment against Palestinians. Despite the Church recognizing that Israel’s strikes on military targets were not in violation of international law, they felt that since the strikes sometimes harmed civilians, they constituted collective punishment.
The Presbyterian Church has a long history of anti-Israel and antisemitic statements. In January, the Stated Clerk Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II of the US Presbyterian Church described Israel’s treatment of Palestinians as “enslavement.”
Ironically, the resolution also called for Israel to adopt a policy of religious freedom in Jerusalem by prohibiting Jews from worshipping at the Temple Mount.
The church also said in the statement that it rejected “the doctrines of Christian Zionism that tend toward idolatry and heresy.”
Arsen Ostrovsky, CEO of The International Legal Forum, condemned the resolution declaring Israel an apartheid state.
“This resolution by the Presbyterian Church, with its plethora of antisemitic tropes, crosses all acceptable boundaries and descends into full-blown Jew-hatred, that will only incite and fuel further violence against Jews,” said Ostrovsky. “Furthermore, by making such mendacities accusations and deplorably invoking the Holocaust to compare to contemporary Israeli policy, places the Presbyterian Church in direct and flagrant violation of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of antisemitism, the most widely adopted global definition of modern antisemitism, including in the United States.”