Presbyterians withdraw funds from Israel because of harm to Palestinians

RNS photo courtesy Danny Bolin via PC(USA)

CHARLOTTE, NC, July 28, 2014 — There is an old saying about not mixing religion with politics when you travel. That’s also good advice in social situations. Apparently the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) didn’t get the memo or, like Barack Obama, they just don’t care.

Recently, a matter of days before the current conflict between Israel and Hamas, the national Presbytery withdrew $21 million in investments from the Jewish nation. Heath Rada, a spokesman for the Presbyterian’s, said the move was made because Israeli actions “harm the Palestinian people.”

Perhaps Presbyterians don’t realize that unprovoked bombs and tunnels from Gaza into Israel can also be devastating and destructive, as well as deadly.

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, had a quick and accurate response. “You look at what’s happening in the Middle East and I think most Americans understand this, they see this enormous area riveted by religious hatred, by savagery of unimaginable proportions. Then you come to Israel and you see the one democracy that upholds basic human rights, that guards the rights of all minorities, that protects Christians—Christians are persecuted throughout the Middle East. Most Americans understand that Israel is a beacon of civilization and moderation. You know I would suggest to these Presbyterian organizations to fly to the Middle East, come and see Israel for the embattled democracy that it is, and then take a bus tour, go to Libya, go to Syria, go to Iraq, and see the difference. And I would give them two pieces of advice, one is, make sure it’s an armor plated bus, and second, don’t say that you’re Christians.”

Take Netanyahu up on his invitation. It will take less than a few minutes to realize how right he is in his assessment. Israel became a garden created in less than a hundred years built out of the same heap of desert that has remained desolate for centuries in Muslim regions.

Is the Jewish nation perfect? Of course not. Neither is any other country in the world. What Israel is, however, is an island of civilization surrounded by barbarians.

As Middle East expert Raymond Ibrahim asks so poignantly, “why is it that self-professed Christians completely ignore the horrific Islamic persecution of fellow Christians in the Middle East, while grandstanding against the Jewish state for trying to defend itself against the same ideology that persecutes Christians?”

Think about this rationally for a moment. Israel was created in 1948 as a result of the extermination of millions of Jews in World War II. At that time, they were given a desolate pile of rocks and sand less than the size of New Jersey that was harsh, brutal and unmanageable.
Israel went to work and turned that land into something desirable. A place where its people could thrive and live in peace.

As someone wrote, “In Israel, scientists at the University of Haifa are studying In-homogeneous tachyon dynamics. The latest scientific invention in the Arab world is a buzzer that goes off when a Muslim falls asleep against his prayer rug.”

In the same year Israel was formed, it was attacked by Arab nations surrounding it. The same thing happened in 1967 and again in 1973. In the process the land mass of Israel grew. Not as a result of aggression on their part, but rather because they were forced to protect themselves from their neighbors.

In each case, the Jews offered to return the land they took in exchange for peace. In fact, they gave back the Sinai Peninsula which is larger than the area of their own country.

The first thing Palestinians did in 2005 when the Israelis handed over the Gaza Strip to them was destroy property that had been created by the Jews.

Today, Israel is demolishing tunnels from Gaza that have been built to infiltrate their territory.
Based on past experience and present knowledge the entire world knows that Israel has the military strength to blow their enemies off the map. Instead they resist.
“Israel is the only nation in the entire Middle East where Arabs have a free and fair vote. Israel allows Israelis of any ethnicity to be elected to the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament – including Arabs. In Israel women can do whatever they please – including leading the state of Israel. In the surrounding Arab nations women are treated as chattel. They’re just property,” says one writer.

Raymond Ibrahim follows that statement by writing, “Sadly, the hypocrisy exhibited by the Presbyterian Church is not limited to that denomination. Some time back, fifteen leaders from various U.S. Christian denominations—mostly Protestant, including the Lutheran, Methodist, and UCC Churches—asked Congress to reevaluate U.S. military aid to Israel, again, in the context of supporting ‘persecuted’ Palestinians.

“If the Presbyterian Church has problems with governments that persecute people, perhaps it should begin by criticizing its own government’s proxy war on fellow Christians in the Middle East.”

In its 14 centuries of existence, Islam has proven that religion and politics don’t mix. In Islam, religion and politics are one in the same. It is one of the guiding foundations of the faith.

Perhaps Presbyterians, and other protestant denominations, would do well to stick to the tenets of Christianity by supporting fellow Christians who are being tortured, maimed, killed and evicted from their homes and stop preaching politics from its pulpits.

Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe.

Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (

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  • lilyred


  • Butch

    The Gay Presbyterian Church = Church that was spit out.

  • Dale Weatherford

    this Church is suicidal….

  • tim

    THAT should be the headline then.

  • KLJ

    Wow..tell the whole truth dude. “Presbyterians” didn’t do
    anything….one split off portion of the church that went liberal years
    ago did this…PCUSA…and it’s no huge surprise since they have been
    shooting themselves in the foot for many years with their anti-biblical
    ways. But to vilify the entire Church (who by the way are NOT
    anti-Israel at all) is a shame on you as a journalist. Just lazy
    reporting and not at all what I would expect from this site.

  • wassup402

    I’m a member of a PCUSA church and I for one will still support Israel despite what the misguided policy initiatives are from G.A.

  • When the Zionist in charge of Israel start to do the deeds of Abraham towards Palestine, I will start calling them his children, as all who do his deeds are. Collective punishment are not those deeds.

  • Paddy Xtolpho

    Christianity has been widely subverted to something called Evangelicalism. Evangelicalism is a perversion: modern Christianity infiltrated by archaic Judaism, a strange sort of hybrid in Gnostic magic. It’s harder for a conservative Evangelical to believe that his religion has been compromised than to believe the Jews are controlling even that very thing. But the outcome is that the Evangelical feels a specious, non-Christian, connection to Israel, and some sort of duty to defend the Jews.

    Zionism and Evangelicalism both share the attribute-value that who you are is more important than what you do. The “who you are” is always an archetypical image which grants power or supremacy over others, and varies by cultural context. “I am an [entitled] victim of G-d”, or “I am an [empowered] heir of God” are the corresponding images. Radical Feminism, with its “I am [superior] woman!”, likewise. Under guise of these artificial self-images, one can justify just about any action.

    Thus comes together the absolute effort to justify absolutely whatever Israel might do.

    But Christians are not beholden to Judaism in religion; neither should they be beholden to Israel in politics.