The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Middle East Committee has drafted a report on the Israel/Palestine conflict that has some Jewish groups claiming anti-Semitism (“The Presbyterians: Exacerbating The Problem,” Editorial, June 18).
Rabbis across the country have been mobilized to speak to their Presbyterian pastor colleagues to denounce the report and its anti-Semitic bent. Something is not right here. On the one hand, we have incredibly caring Jewish organizations devoted to social justice and peace calling Presbyterians anti-Semitic. On the other hand, we have peace-loving Presbyterians devoted to social justice who treasure their good relationships with Jewish people and who are the farthest thing from anti-Semitic. Someone is completely out-of-step and doesn’t realize it.
Presbyterian mission workers on the ground in Palestine have seen the violence and mistreatment Palestinians now face and have called for change. Jewish people, such as Anna Baltzer, have documented the apartheid conditions and have denounced the way Palestinians are treated, too. But American Jewish leaders see these issues in a larger context that makes them realize that such treatment— though regrettable— is justified and necessary.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Middle East Committee report bends over backward to be supportive of Israel while calling for an end to the mistreatment of non-Jewish families in Palestine. Hopefully American Jewish organizations will soon recognize that their support for violence and mistreatment of Palestinians has been horribly misplaced.