1200 rabbis threaten an end to interfaith harmony if Methodists support divestment

Next week at their conference in Tampa, the Methodists will consider divesting from Israel companies profiting off the occupation , and people are gearing up for the big struggle. Here is an amazing stroke that demonstrates the overwhelming support for Zionism inside the Jewish community, a letter reported in JTA from 1200 rabbis to Christian churches, appealing to them not to divest from Israel.

“We understand and respect your calling to invest in a morally responsible manner,” said the letter, which was launched two weeks ago. “A policy of divestment to pressure Israel runs counter to these goals. Such a one-sided approach damages the relationship between Jews and Christians that has been nurtured for decades. It promotes a lopsided assessment of the causes of and solutions to the conflict, disregarding the complex history and geopolitics. Furthermore, it shamefully paints Israel as a pariah nation, solely responsible for frustrating peace.”..

The rabbis are from all 50 states and represent the gamut of Jewish belief, including Orthodox, Chabad, Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist and Jewish Spirituality movements. The signatories also represent a range of political views, including signatories affiliated with the liberal New Israel Fund.

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the umbrella body for public policy groups, helped to organize the letter.

Note the incredible diversity of the rabbis. Tragic. Notice the consolidation of neocons (JCPA) and liberal Zionists (NIF).

And a lopsided assessment? One side is throwing rocks if they are doing anything, the other has nukes and M16s and a huge occupying army. That is the lopsided reality. I wonder how many of these rabbis have been to the occupation. I wonder how many have independently sought to assess the human rights violations for millions of people who lack the power of consent to the government that controls their lives.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in American Jewish Community, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, Neocons, US Politics

{ 104 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. A quick clarification, Phil: the Methodists aren’t considering divesting “from Israel” as a whole (not that I would be against that, but that’s a different story); I think you unwittingly play into the resolution’s enemies’ hands here.

    In fact, the resolution is much, much simpler and more direct: it is to divest from three specific companies–HP, Motorola, and Caterpillar–because their products are directly used in service of the West Bank occupation and in violation of the rights of Palestinians there. The United Methodist Kairos Response people that are leading this effort are to be commended; they really went for the lowest common denominator, the most obvious and symbolically meaningful corporate enablers of the occupation’s most conspicuous wrongdoings (HP products help inhibit Palestinians’ freedom of movement, Motorola sells security systems to Jews-only colonies built on stolen land, Caterpillar products destroy homes). Their messaging has been spot on and, in my opinion, has appeal to the broadest base possible without sacrificing moral clarity. Even those of the “liberal” Zionist variety who condemn the ’67 occupation while ignoring the ’48 one should be able to get on board with this. They’re not even Israeli companies, for goodness sake!

    • Philip Weiss says:

      thanks Austin. helpful going to incorporate

    • lysias says:

      And Beinart supports BDS of products made on the West Bank, as he indicated in his interview with stern:

      Siedlungspolitik bedroht Israel mehr als der Iran

      Die Bedrohung durch den Iran hält Beinart nicht für zentral. Für ihn ist die Siedlungspolitik das entscheidende Manko. Daher fordert Beinart im Interview mit dem stern, dass Produkte aus den jüdischen Siedlungen im besetzten Westjordanland in deutschen Supermärkten besonders gekennzeichnet werden sollten. “Ich will, dass die Leute anstelle von Produkten aus den Siedlungen Produkte kaufen, die in Israel hergestellt wurden”, so Beinart. Mit seinem Aufruf zum Siedlungs-Boykott will er eine Debatte über die Politik der israelischen Re-gierung anstoßen, “Juden zu subventionieren, damit sie ins Westjordanland ziehen.”

  2. Dan Crowther says:

    You’re back on the horse Phil. You’re posts of late have been tremendous. Must be riding high, with the Orioles playing so well…… :)

  3. Terryscott says:

    You mean you didn’t break the community wide open and cause a huge Jewish conversation? Incredible.

  4. hophmi says:

    The JCPA is not neo-conservative. Not even remotely. Where do you get this crap from?

    Yes, Phil, most Jews are Zionists, and most of those are liberal Zionists who want a two-state solution. That does not make them neo-cons.

    • Philip Weiss says:

      fair enough, hop, i should modulate that. but they are hawkish re iran
      link to engage.jewishpublicaffairs.org
      what percentage of jews are zionists? im guessing 50 percent. and of organized jewry– 98%. a democracy of zealots

      • hophmi says:

        “what percentage of jews are zionists? im guessing 50 percent. ”

        It depends on your definition of Zionism. I think it’s a lot higher than 50%. If you ask Jews whether they believe Israel should exist as a Jewish state, most answer yes.

        How are you defining organized Jewry? I assume you mean the establishment, and yes, it should come as no surprise that the establishment is overwhelmingly Zionist.

        As far as Iran, I don’t see any support in the JCPA for military action. That places them well within the mainstream of Americans, most of whom favor sanctions. That is true of most of the establishment as well; most do not want military action to happen. As you go further right, that changes, but that’s as true for the rest of America as it is for the Jewish community.

        • Fredblogs says:

          Much, Much higher than 50%. Mr. Weiss has a distorted view living in his echo chamber. Ask “should Israel exist as a Jewish homeland” and you’d probably get about 90% of Jews saying yes. Other than the neturei karta nuts who for religious reasons would rather see the Israeli Jews exterminated than living in Israel.

        • Citizen says:

          hophmi, u talk about the “rest of America” as if they have ever received any objective facts from their MSM about the I-P situation. Goebbels use to justify his stance by saying the German public agrees. All they had were government furnished radios all stuck on the government station. Essentially, we in US have the same today when it comes to anything touching on Israel and its conduct.

        • Elliot says:

          …and if you disagree with that proposition, then you’re not really Jewish. QED.

        • Shingo says:

          Ask “should Israel exist as a Jewish homeland” and you’d probably get about 90% of Jews saying yes

          What would they say to occupation or apartheid Fred? The religious nut in Israel will tell you it’s God’s will.

        • Dutch says:

          @ Hophmi. Certainly it depends on the definition. In Holland a Zionist is a person who strivies for a Greater Israel and wants to be identified as such, using ‘historical rights’ to legitimize his claim. As a result the word ‘Zionist’ has a negative connotation.

          @ Fredblogs: ‘Should Israel exist as a Jewish homeland?’. I think 90 percent of the Jews will ask you what you mean by that: the apartheid state that is occupying Palestine – or a true democracy, behind the Green Line, with equal rights for non-Jews? So which one is it?

          As for the ‘homeland’-function. The time Israel was needed to safe the lives of Jews in other places is long gone. Shamefully Israel has been actively importing Jews to create a demographic majority over the original owners of the territory. If you check the Proclamation of Independance you will conclude with me that Israel is far off the intended homeland.

        • Sumud says:

          Other than the neturei karta nuts who for religious reasons would rather see the Israeli Jews exterminated than living in Israel.

          Can you support that with evidence or are you just terrorising other jews in the way zionists love to do?

        • “Much, Much higher than 50%.”

          I have to agree with Fred here. I think Phil is trying to convince himself of something for which there is not really much evidence, at least yet. The point of about echo chambers is well taken. The internet misleads us because we self-select our news sources. Probably all the self-identifying Jews in the USA who oppose Zionism are here commenting on this site. (And even a Pam Geller can easily outpull Mondoweiss in the traffic statistics.)

        • Dex says:

          Here’s a definition of Zionism Hophmi:

          RACISM! So any Jew, or any other person, who considers themselves a Zionist is, by definition, a racist. Full stop.

        • RoHa says:

          “Ask “should Israel exist as a Jewish homeland” and you’d probably get about 90% of Jews saying yes.”

          So you think 90% of Jews have no sense of decency?

        • Talkback says:

          “Other than the neturei karta nuts who for religious reasons would rather see the Israeli Jews exterminated than living in Israel.”

          More stupid rubbish from you. In fact it’s Kook and other zionist rascists Rabbies who welcomed the Holocaust as a necessary surgery to cut out the Jewish people from the bodies of nations.

        • eljay says:

          >> Ask “should Israel exist as a Jewish homeland” and you’d probably get about 90% of Jews saying yes.

          So, in the 21st Century, approximately 90% of Jews support the concept of a religion-supremacist state. Wow.

          I wonder what the percentages among Jews and among non-Jews would look like if one were to ask:

          1. “Should Israel exist as a religion-supremacist state, in which Israeli citizens of the Jewish faith have more rights than – or special rights denied to – Israeli citizens not of the Jewish faith?”

          2. “Should Israel exist as a secular, democratic and egalitarian state of and for all Israelis, one in which – regardless of religion, ethnic background or prior nationality – all citizens are have equal rights and are treated equally?

        • Mooser says:

          “Can you support that with evidence or are you just terrorising other jews in the way zionists love to do?”

          What you don’t understand, Sumud, is that Jews in Israel are a lot like Goldilocks. They shouldn’t be ‘too hot’ or ‘too cold’, no they should be ‘just right’.
          And of course, the right amount and type of Jewishness is the amount and type that is best for Israel.

          And so a proud, 2500 year or more old religion goes to its knees and becomes simply a front for the Zionist project. What an inglorious end.
          It’s nasty, but you know what? I think the Zionists may have looked at Germany and saw how easy it was to mess with the Jews. And took their lessons from it.

        • Fredblogs says:

          Most of them would probably say they aren’t happy about the occupation, but they understand the necessity. Most of them would probably also disagree with the use of the term “apartheid”.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “Most of them would probably say they aren’t happy about the occupation, but they understand the necessity. ”

          Fredo, in the South, circa 1955: “Now I’m not happy about the lynchin’s of all those colored fellows, but I do understand the necessity of it. Wouldn’t want them touchin’ our white women-folk…”

          “Most of them would probably also disagree with the use of the term ‘apartheid’.”

          Yeah, Fredo, but the likes of Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu have looked at the situation and said that, yes, “apartheid” is a proper term. But what the hell do they know about apartheid anyway, amirite??

        • mig says:

          Fredb :

          Most of them would probably say they aren’t happy about the occupation, but they understand the necessity.

          Necessity ? Oh yeah, without occupation there wouldn’t be settlers & settlements. Was this necessity in your mind Fred ?

          Most of them would probably also disagree with the use of the term “apartheid”.

          But of course my dear.

        • American says:

          “Fredblogs says:
          May 2, 2012 at 10:12 am”

          Perhaps some..there is no accounting for some kind of people …..some abused become abusers…..but my experience is that most people who have experienced bullying and oppression have a visceral reaction against it when they see being done to anyone.

      • seafoid says:

        Phil

        Almost 50% of Jews live in Israel .

        The Zionist concentration is higher than 50%. I’d say closer to 75% based on the content of Diaspora newspaper editorials.

    • Danaa says:

      hophmi, those Rabis are not stupid, you know. Neither are the Jewish establishments they are embedded in. They know the two state is a fig leaf and that the occupation is here not just to stay but to expand. They are just lending a helpful hand to try to cover it up.

      And because they are neither ignorant, nor stupid, each and everyone of these rabbis should be held to account,

      Unfortunately, the Jewish community in the US and elsewhere is complicit in the Israeli plan to herd the west bank palestinians into the designated batustans (cf. Area A) and to undermine any hope for an actual Palestinian state. They all know, as do you.

      That’s the bottom line – everyone knows.

      As a result, I predict this sniveling letter will some day be seen as what it is – the canary that heralds the degradation of Judaism itself. In the interest of keeping Israel from the opprobrium it deserves, what values Judaism stands and stood for are sacrificed and corrupted. An great religion – through the sad craveness of its august practitioners – brought down to the most basic common human denominators – greed and fear. The exceptional, the respect for human rights, laid low in front of the tribal.

      What else is left? oh yes, there’s apathy for the suffering of “others”, that other common pilar of humanity.

      • Elliot says:

        Danaa –
        That cleared the sinuses. Thank you!
        Most of these rabbis thought about this for less than a nanosecond before adding their names to this letter. They have been conditioned to think a certain way. They don’t even allow that the principled stand has a point. And you are absolutely right that they should be held to account.

        • Fredblogs says:

          I love how people on this site blindly assume that any opposition to their position must be “conditioning” or something.

        • seafoid says:

          “I love how people on this site blindly assume that any opposition to their position must be “conditioning” or something.”

          Sociologists call that Zionism drunk or sober attitude cognitive dissonance

        • Maybe it’s something to do with your failure to come up with any coherent rationale for the degradation of judaism that zionism has inflicted on it, and the callous inhumanity of its very own version of apartheid.

        • Elliot says:

          Fredblogs –
          Why do you assume that I “blindly assume”? And why accuse everybody else on this site of my failings?
          This isn’t “any opposition” but that of a highly controlled – and yes – conditioned, group, which reflexively sign these kinds of petitions.
          Pro-Israel is only piece of dogma that unites all rabbis: from atheist to messianic, from back-to-the-shtetl to Beverly Hills.
          The conditioning happens in rabbinic school, in Jewish organizations and – lest they forget – in their jobs.
          If you want to get a sense of how little almost all rabbis and Jewish professionals care about Palestinian human rights, try out a few sample lines and see what kind of response you get:
          1) If Israel can limit immigration to Jews only, America should limit its immigration policy to Christians only.
          2) Jews don’t need a Jewish state to guarantee their safety in America.
          3) “Holocaust therefore the State of Israel” is a false argument.

        • Citizen says:

          Fredblogs, you are new to this site, comparatively speaking; many of us have been here for years–if you peruse the archives you will see that nothing said by us is not factually based.

        • Shingo says:

          I love how people on this site blindly assume that any opposition to their position must be “conditioning” or something.

          How else does one explain such an immoral, inhumane, saddistic and unjust ideology?

        • eljay says:

          >> I love how people on this site blindly assume that any opposition to their position must be “conditioning” or something.

          I love how Zio-supremacists blindly assume that any opposition to their position must be “anti-Semitism” or something.

        • mig says:

          You got it right this time Fred, it’s that “something”. But don’t bother your soul thinking of it. It will cause headache.

    • Correction: most Jews are coerced and appropriated by zionist fundamentalist and apartheid supporters. The price for speaking out is high, most would rather avoid the subject. The zealots and hasbabrats are a minority but make the noise, obscure the truth, intimidate the gullible, bribe the officials, and attack the political system at all levels.

    • mig says:

      hoph :

      Yes, Phil, most Jews are Zionists, and most of those are liberal Zionists who want a two-state solution.

      And then came Santa Claus. With elves & reindeer choir.

      If MOST are liberal, where is influence, and mostly action to that direction. Say it as it is hoph, doesnt exists. Put it where your BS is, nowhere. Have a Good one hoph. And i mean it really. Honest.

  5. talknic says:

    Rabbis lives and families can also be ruined by being labelled Antisemitic, self hating, terrorist supporters. The Greater Israel project has had over a century of practice

  6. Kathleen says:

    “And a lopsided assessment? One side is throwing rocks if they are doing anything, the other has nukes and M16s and a huge occupying army. That is the lopsided reality.”

    The lopsided comment jumped out at me too.

    link to rachelcorriefoundation.org
    ACT NOW Support Methodist Divestment!

    From April 24-May 4, the United Methodist Church’s top legislative body, the General Conference, will meet in Tampa, Florida and address the proposed resolution “Aligning United Methodist Church Investments with Resolutions on Israel/Palestine.” The resolution supports prompt divestment from Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola (cited as companies that perpetuate the Israeli occupation – which Methodists are on record opposing). The resolution further proposes engagement with similarly implicated companies, followed by divestment should they refuse to change their policies. Nine hundred and eighty-eight Methodists (lay and clergy delegates) will attend the conference to set policy and direction for the church. Every four years, the General Conference, with delegates from around the world, revises The Book of Resolutions, “a volume declaring the church’s stance on a variety of social justice issues.” The book contains more than 300 such resolutions.
    This event is only ten days away.
    Time to act is now!

    Help in these ways:

    1) As an individual, read and endorse the resolution here.
    2) Act to have your organization read and endorse the resolution here.
    3) If you participate in services provided by the UMC General Board of Pension & Health Benefits, read and sign the petition here.
    4) If you are Palestinian and support church divestment, click here to sign this letter written by Palestinian Christians but open for signature by all Palestinians.
    5) Lend help reaching out to voting delegates and commissioners by emailing to us at [email protected].

    For background on the major Methodist and Presbyterian votes on divestment this year, see info from the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. A victory in either of these campaigns would be a major step forward for divestment in the U.S., empowering other institutions to take similar steps.

    • Fredblogs says:

      Well, rocks, suicide bombs, white phosphorus missiles, etc, etc, etc.

      • Shingo says:

        Very funny Fred.

        The wp in the wp (shells, which all landed harmlessly), came from unexploded Israeli shells.

        Suicide attacks ended in 2006.

        Rocks? Are you serious?

      • mig says:

        Fred :

        Well, rocks, suicide bombs, white phosphorus missiles, etc, etc, etc.

        PSST, Fred….those “white phosphorus missiles” are IDF shot…

        • mig says:

          Well, rocks, suicide bombs, white phosphorus missiles, etc, etc, etc.

          Fred, you forgot to add bicycles to that list….

        • Mooser says:

          “PSST, Fred….those “white phosphorus missiles” are IDF shot…”

          What the hell, in for a penny in for a pound! If the Palestinians weren’t so awful, Israel wouldn’t be forced to shoot off that phosphorus. And anyway, it’s harmless.

  7. Empiricon says:

    I’d like to congratulate the rabbis for reaching a pinnacle of power previously held by Chrisitan clergy, aligned with the power structure and standing against basic human freedoms. We saw it in South Africa in the 70s and 80s, the South in the 50s and 60s, etc.

    “In every country and every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot… they have perverted the purest religion ever preached to man into mystery and jargon, unintelligible to all mankind, and therefore the safer engine for their purpose.” — Thomas Jefferson to Horatio Spafford, 1814

    • seafoid says:

      If they are going to go all out with Israel, drunk or sober, all the way to the extreme right and beyond then can they at the very least formally and publicly renounce all of the stuff they no longer support ?

      Like this :

      “Wherever we can save life, we should. That is a longstanding and fundamental proposition of Judaism”

      link to guardian.co.uk

      And this

      link to hartman.org.il

      “Our tradition, places the relentless pursuit of peace amongst the highest of our aspirations. The Talmud, in Tractate Derech Eretz Zuta, devotes an entire chapter to exalting peace as a Jewish value. Hillel the sage instructs us to be “like the students of Aharon, to love peace and chase after it” (Avot 1:12). And in the Midrash (Bamidbar Rabbah 21:1) Rabbi Shimon Ben Halufta says, “There is no vessel of greater blessing than peace,” and quotes, in that context, the famous verse from Psalms (29:11): “May God give His people strength, may God bless his people with peace.” The list of Jewish sources embracing peace is almost countless”

      Just drop it. There is no point in fooling anyone any more.

  8. seafoid says:

    Huge swathes of Jewish officialdom appear to have been co-opted by the Ziobots.
    Which will make the endgame vicious in a way that South Africa wasn’t.

    The pity of it all.

  9. Sumud says:

    Such a one-sided approach damages the relationship between Jews and Christians that has been nurtured for decades.

    I’ll bet they thought that was subtle.

  10. pabelmont says:

    The 1200 rabbis are high-pressuring the Christians, showing that (as all too usual) they are not moved toward interfaith talks by religious considerations but by political ones, and that political reason is to hold a sword over the heads of Christians, to prevent criticism of Israel and its doings. The sword has now been shown. (Sorry, seeing too many samurai movies, it’s all Netflix’s fault).

  11. rws450 says:

    The letter and signatories here: http://www.rabbis-letter.org

    The url was clearly chosen in reply to the letter of progressive rabbis here: http://www.rabbisletter.org

    The letter from 1200 rabbis was sent to individual delegates (as well as churches) going to the conference. It’s just PART of the full court press.

    I have spoken with some delegates who seemed influenced by the letter. Other Methodists, especially those who have spent time in the West Bank, are not so easily misled.

  12. Do it! Publicize it! Make Youtube videos about it!

  13. RudyM says:

    So Methodist ministers like my late father won’t be able to mention their rabbi friends any more. Boo-hoo.

  14. CitizenC says:

    It is essentially a Jewish debate. The Methodists are doing what the Jewish left permits them, arguing for divestment from “the occupation”. They oppose, not Israel and its US supporters, the most important of whom are the organized Jews, as this hysterical reaction shows. Rather they oppose “corporations profiting from the occupation” as if this drives things, when it is irrelevant.

    Resistance comes, not from corporate profiteers, but from Zionists. From Israeli diplomats, pressuring the Berkeley student govt, the Olympia WA co-op. And from the US organized Jews. “Occupation” is not the ssue, rather Zionism, including the “Zionism of Jewish peoplehood” which drives the organized Jewish establishment.

    As Seafoid noted:

    Huge swathes of Jewish officialdom appear to have been co-opted by the Ziobots.
    Which will make the endgame vicious in a way that South Africa wasn’t.

    The other factor in making the endgame vicious is the success of the Jewish left in controlling the critical agenda, suppressing the real issues— Zionism, and the power of the US organized Jews.

    • lysias says:

      Another factor making the endgame vicious is Israel’s hundreds of nukes.

      • seafoid says:

        Perhaps not, Lysias.

        If sanctions were to cripple the Israeli economy and they had no option but to grant Palestinians full rights in order to save their cashflows the nukes would be meaningless.

        Nukes are not particularly practical in breakdowns drive by moral collapse. That was the South African experience.

        • lysias says:

          Perhaps, but I’m not sure “perhaps” is good enough.

          If Hitler had had nukes, can we be sure he would not have been willing to bring the whole world down when he faced defeat? He did issue those scorched earth orders that Speer blocked..

          And we’ve heard a lot about Israel’s Sampson Option. Maybe it’s all just a bluff, but I wonder.

        • seafoid says:

          I think the nukes are supposed to make people fear Israel. But people are losing the fear.

  15. to quote the words of Jesus Christ from a conversation with a lawyer from Luke 10:25-

    25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

    26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?

    27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
    28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
    29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?

    30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

    31And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

    32And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.

    33But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,

    34And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

    35And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

    36Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?

    37And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

    If these churches are followers of Jesus Christ I do not see how they can turn their back on the Palestinians and not stand with them in their hour of need.

    • Citizen says:

      And we all know by now that the Torah is nothing without the interpretation of the Talmud, just as the US founding documents are nothing without SCOUTS & lower federal courts interpretation. What the federal courts have done with, e.g., the Commerce Clause alone, is quite striking, like say Obamacare, not to mention the “penumbra of the Constitution” which gave us a right to privacy, hence outlawing of laws against interracial marriage. Let’s hope the Methodists, and the Presbyterians, next, followed by the Pope, will do something besides rubber-stamping all Israel does as the Evangelicals do (so they can rapture up to Heaven while the rest of humanity not on board is sent to Hell).

    • Citizen says:

      Many rabbis over the centuries have interpreted the word “neighbor” as pertaining only to fellow Jews. Many still do, it seems.

  16. marc b. says:

    Such a one-sided approach damages the relationship between Jews and Christians that has been nurtured for decades.

    christ on a crutch. i’ll give them credit: it’d be hard to pack more bullshit into such a short sentence. how does discussion of this potential tactic, in response to decades of failed diplomacy and inaction (no, that’s the wrong word; not inaction, intentional subversion) constitute a ‘one-sided’ approach? and so far as the ‘relationship’ that has been nurtured for decades (who wrote this piece, lord douglas? this is the ‘nurtured relationship’ that dare not speak its true name.) it seems to be based in large measure on christians’ will to ignorance on all matters israeli. a preemptive counterstrike is in order, i think. why not ask what the good rabbis are doing about the increasingly brutal, inequitable treatment of christians in israel and the OT? how many of them speek out publicly when gentiles are routinely referred to in subhuman terms by their israeli counterparts? and why aren’t the rabbis concerned that mistreatment of christians is damaging ‘the relationship between Jews and Christians that has been nurtured for decades’?

    • Elliot says:

      oh c’mon, everybody knows that indigenous Palestinians are not real Christians. Heck, back in the good old days of missionary work in the 19th century, the Western churches sent people over to Palestine to “convert” them.
      American Methodists and rabbis feel a far greater affinity to each other than American Christians feel for their Palestinian co-religionists.

    • Citizen says:

      My communication with US fundies reveals that they could care less about Arab Christians. They have no will at all to check it out.

      • marc b. says:

        that’s my impression too, citizen, although i have had little direct contact with fundies since i left the military. (we’re much too enlightened for that sort of thing here in New England. *insert condescending sniff*) like israelis the fundies have very specific type in mind when they talk about the truly authentic among themselves.

    • Sumud says:

      I read that sentence as a reference to the holocaust marc b.

      That’s what happened ‘decades’ ago and why the relationship has needed ‘nurturing’ – because christian Europe killed jews. Which is of course, 100% true, but also 100% irrelevant to any response to Israel’s current behaviour.

    • ritzl says:

      Great comment. I’d like to see a lot of these questions turned into the “preemptive counterstrike.” Publicly, with a written expectation of an equally public response before the vote.

      I mean these rabbis just publicly issued a thinly-veiled threat to the Methodist Church (though its hard to tell if it’s a threat that warrants any attention, but Methodists being Methodist, they probably will give it its due) as their opening in an attempt at interfaith dialog.

      Israel is playing a dangerous game by prompting its supporters to engage this kind of high-handedness, if not out and out brinksmanship.

  17. Les says:

    We know about the Jewish Council for Public Affairs from their effort to organize opposition against the Park Slope Coop divestment resolution. Just whose rubber stamp is this “umbrella” group?

  18. rws450 says:

    Austin – Wish I was, but I won’t be at Tampa. I know there will be lots of great people volunteering with you. Good luck!
    As to CitizenC – The choice is up to the delegates and leaders whether they will be controlled by other faith leaders acting as agents of a foreign country. In both UMC and Presbyterians there is a very solid minority who are really clear and will not be intimidated.
    The fact there is now a Jewish debate seems to be a step forward since previously there was no counter.

  19. MHughes976 says:

    Absolute refusal to put pressure on either side is in its way ‘one-sided’ too, since it amounts to letting the stronger side prevail without protest, and that amounts either to saying ‘It’s none of my business’ or to saying ‘It is my business and I want the side that is stronger at the moment to win’. Backhandedly, the 1200 rabbis give the reason why this is the business of Christian organisations. Israel and all its works, even the works of occupation where Caterpilar and the like are most involved, are strongly supported by the organisations of Judaism and attempts at finding common ground between Jewish and Christian belief are being made. The question of how much common ground exists is therefore a matter of Christian concern.
    At that rate silence is encouragement of the stronger side, the Israelis, so is pretty one-sided in its own right.
    Jewish organisations do not totally shrink from critique of Christianity, nor should they.

  20. seafoid says:

    The 1200 Rabbis are following in the footsteps of the South African Board of Jewish deputies

    link to nybooks.com

    “When finally Israel was backed into a position of support for international sanctions against South Africa, a body called the Jewish Board of Deputies, the official mouthpiece of the Jewish community there, decried the waning of “the special relationship.”
    Polakow-Suransky tells the story of that support for the regime as well as the story of Jews, South African and Israeli (including Israelis of South African origin), who were stalwarts against apartheid from the start. One of these, he relates, lavished praise on Nelson Mandela not long after his release from prison, before the majority-rule election that would sweep him into office as president. The former prisoner, this Israeli gushed, was a latter-day Moses who would reach the Promised Land. The normally mellow Mandela replied sharply. “The people of South Africa,” he’s quoted as saying, “will never forget the support of the state of Israel to the apartheid regime.”

    Also worth noting from the article

    “By the time the missile accord was finally struck in 1984, South Africa had produced its first nuclear device. The idea was never to hurl a warhead into Luanda, Lusaka, or Maputo. It was a card to be played in trying to persuade Western powers not to “abandon” the regime in the face of a Communist “onslaught.” But when the curtain rose for the last act, South Africa’s undeclared nuclear status proved to be less powerful than the political pressure for sanctions brought to bear in the West by the anti-apartheid movement; nor could a nuclear arsenal do anything to slow the breakdown of the racial order increasingly evident in the industrial belt around Johannesburg. The end of the cold war shredded the always feeble argument that the white regime might have some residual value as a strategic partner. “

    • lysias says:

      Earlier on, Israel supported France in its attempt to maintain its colonial regime in Algeria, and eventually had contacts with the OAS.

  21. The Methodist church will not be alone in divestment.

    The newly elected Vice-President of the University of Michigan student government also says that the university must not invest in socially irresponsible companies.

    See today’s Arab American News ,
    at: link to arabamericannews.com

    “The issue of divesting from companies that provide military support to Israel and other companies deemed unethical was brought before student government this past year and has ignited discussions on campus and editorials in the Daily.

    “Hashwi said that he will strive to be a true representative of the student body while making all decisions, and that he will also not be afraid to express his own opinions.

    ” ‘I believe the university must not invest in socially irresponsible and immoral companies and if the students agree with this logic, then that is what I am committed to advocating for.’ “

  22. The Methodists should call their bluff. It’s the same old hypocritical game of blackmail and diversion, anything to obscure and quieten the truth. The subtext, as ever, is ‘you will be antisemitic if you proceed with this’. So the threaten an end to ‘interfaith harmony’ – the question should be was there ever such a thing anyway, or was it a useful way of exerting pressure to acquiesce in the apartheid and land grab. If that is ‘harmony’ let’s be done with it, the truth and justice is far more important. Would the Methodists have been intimidated by the South Africans into ceasing their anti-apartheid campaigns on the grounds of some spurious ‘harmony’?

  23. CitizenC says:

    rws450:

    The fact there is now a Jewish debate seems to be a step forward since previously there was no counter.

    RWS, some us, perhaps older, and with more memories, are not satisfied that we are still “getting started”. This control of the left has been going on for a long time. See for instance this 1990 piece on New Jewish Agenda (now defunct).

    Proposition W and The Pacification of the U.S. Middle East Movement
    link to cosmos.ucc.ie

    • rws450 says:

      CitizenC, thanks for the reference to the fascinating Blankfort article. Lots of good information and analysis there.

      That said, I believe it’s true that things are qualitatively better today. J Street, with all its shortcomings, is gaining traction and taking congressional delegates to spend REAL time in the WB. Congresspeople are starting to look to them for an alternative. Progressive organizations like Code Pink, with much Jewish leadership, is nipping at the heels of AIPAC with increasing effectiveness. This website (MW) with its vibrant and thought provoking debate is another sign of the progress between now and 20 years ago.

      Back to the UMC conference, the progressive rabbis are overwhelmed in numbers but simply their vocal existence is a huge start to removing the principle weapon of the pro Israel zealots that you are anti-semitic to not support Israel.

  24. Elliot says:

    The JCPA rabbis’ letter also takes a pot shot at the statement of Palestinian Christian unity known as the Kairos document.
    We can’t have the natives unified over anything, certainly not equal rights for all. Democracy in Palestine = anti-Semitism.
    Last week, Netanayahu used Holocaust Remembrance Day to urge war on Iran. This week, the rabbis are opposing democracy in the name of Judaism.
    Shame on all of them.

  25. yourstruly says:

    interfaith harmony depends on forsaking justice for palestine?

    no, then, to phony interfaith harmony

  26. ritzl says:

    In the self-emolation department: Methodists, who actually believe there are constructive interfaith relationships to be had and that Jews DO NOT need to convert or die to fulfill prophesy, get threatened, while the Christian denominations that DO believe that Jews need to convert or die to fulfill prophesy are embraced enthusiastically (though imo, insincerely).

    Kinda like rifle-butting a Dane (not that that ever happens…).

    All for Israel, or some vanishingly narrow vision thereof.

  27. giladg says:

    I don’t remember rocks and stones being lobed at Israel during all the wars that have been waged against it. The Palestinians are part of the Arab family. There are times when it suits them to act together and there are times when it suits them to act alone and to be seen as isolated. They are not. Anyone who understands anything about the Arab world knows that the “uma”, the concept of Arab and Muslim brotherhood and one nation, is never far away, especially in the conflict with Jews. The Palestinians have the Arab world behind them with all their oil money and military power, and all are looking forward to the day they can unleash this, once again as we know they will, on Israel. And instead of opting for negotiating and compromise with Israel, the Palestinians are letting others do the dirty work for them. They should know that if Israel goes down, they will go down as well.

    • mig says:

      giladg :

      I don’t remember rocks and stones being lobed at Israel during all the wars that have been waged against it.

      We will forgive you that. After all, we are all humans. Mostly.

      The Palestinians are part of the Arab family. There are times when it suits them to act together and there are times when it suits them to act alone and to be seen as isolated. They are not. Anyone who understands anything about the Arab world knows that the “uma”, the concept of Arab and Muslim brotherhood and one nation, is never far away, especially in the conflict with Jews.

      And then there are times, when ziobots start to talking again, about this arabs are all the same one arab nation is never far away concept while no single move that direction is made in any arab meeting. Funny how they just love to be so separated one arab nation.

      The Palestinians have the Arab world behind them with all their oil money and military power, and all are looking forward to the day they can unleash this, once again as we know they will, on Israel.

      Yes, we all are so afraid of paper tiger. And holocaust all over again. That sky is falling theme 24/7 doesnt do good to your mental health you know ?

      And instead of opting for negotiating and compromise with Israel

      Hilarious.

      the Palestinians are letting others do the dirty work for them. They should know that if Israel goes down, they will go down as well.

      Where you get these visions ?

      • giladg says:

        The so called moderates in Arab society are both powerless and totally useless. Name one achievement made by this sector? This then leaves the religious fanatics, like the Muslim Brotherhood, who may not represent a majority in the countries they live in but they inter-connect with each other, whether it is Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Lebanon (Hezbollah) and the Palestinians (Hamas). Those who dictate history and determine which direction a country will take, are those who are organized and who are willing to sacrifice on the streets. The so called moderate Arabs are nowhere to be seen. This leave the likes of the Muslim Brotherhood to take control and rally the “uma” against Israel. The pseudo liberals around the world latch onto the so called moderates, like Mustafar Barghouti, thinking they represent something. Hamas wields the power in the Palestinian society. Barghouti and his friends are being propped up mainly by their European puppet masters.

        • mig says:

          giladg :

          The so called moderates in Arab society are both powerless and totally useless. Name one achievement made by this sector?

          Oh, im sorry. I thought that you were talkin’ about those liberal zionists. Who and what ever those are.

          This then leaves the religious fanatics, like the Muslim Brotherhood

          And settlers in west bank.

          This leave the likes of the Muslim Brotherhood to take control and rally the “uma” against Israel.

          Sky is falling & holocaust part 2 alert.

          Barghouti and his friends are being propped up mainly by their European puppet masters.

          European puppet masters ? I really dont know what you are smoking or inhaling or sniffing, but seriously gilad. Nation level schizophrenia or something ?

        • Elliot says:

          I’d actually like to bring Moslem Brotherhood values to America. It would help us forge a better union. Unlike many local and state elections in the U.S. that are never contested or seriously in play, the Moslem Brotherhood actually stands for multi-party elections.

    • Ha ha, gilad has been reading his guide to zionism for five year olds. Complete with a little bullyboy threat at the end. Well done, your teacher will give you an inverted dunces cap

    • eljay says:

      >> And instead of opting for negotiating and compromise with Israel …

      Israel is a religion-supremacist state born of terrorism and ethnic cleansing. It remains engaged in a 60+ years, ON-GOING and offensive (i.e., not defensive) campaign of aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction and murder. It has the power to end this campaign immediately and completely, but it refuses to do so. And it consistently refuses to enter into sincere negotiations for a just and mutually-beneficial peace.

      But it’s all the Palestinians’ fault. Poor little religion-supremacist Jewish state. :-(

  28. Keith says:

    1200 Rabbis suggests to me that there is a definite link between Zionism and Judaism, anti-Zionist protestations notwithstanding.

    • Antidote says:

      “1200 Rabbis suggests to me that there is a definite link between Zionism and Judaism, anti-Zionist protestations notwithstanding.’

      Indeed. There is a disturbing streak of Messianism. See this piece, published March 2003 in Israel National News. Makes your head explode:

      link to israelnationalnews.com

      WW II, Iraq, Iran – all the same divine pattern and purpose? Netanyahu’s gift to Obama last month was a scroll of the Book of Esther:

      link to israelnationalnews.com

      And the Israeli Embassy in Berlin had this comment on Gunter Grass:

      “What must be said is that it belongs to European tradition to accuse Jews of ritual murder before the Passover celebration”

      It is also a sacred duty to defend Jews at Passover against anyone, including Jews, and no matter what:

      link to algemeiner.com

      Does the date of the publication o Grass’ poem matter? Did it matter to him or only the Israeli embassy? Meanwhile, the Communist Party in Greifswald, on their website, credits Grass with having prevented a war that has been long in the planning but has now become politically impossible.

      link to dkp-greifswald.de

      I wish.

      Sure feels like 1939 to me.

    • andrew r says:

      I don’t think anyone said there is no link between Zionism and Judaism. However, Zionism is still a secular racial ideology that assumes the existence of a biological Jewish identity regardless of how observant you are. There’s no way that came from Rabbinical Judaism.

      • “There’s no way that came from Rabbinical Judaism.”

        I’m not following your logic. Rabbinical Judaism doesn’t recognize a Jewish “people,” membership in which is conferred by bloodlines?

        And even if it doesn’t, modern secular Jewish identity certainly does.

        • andrew r says:

          Any religious definition is going to veer towards being observant. Zionist colonization had to ignore some basic tenets like keeping the Sabbath and fasting on high holy days. This was possible because the Zionists adopted the attitude that Jews are a nation irrespective of religious practice, and that idea could only have formed in Europe where the uneasy mix of intolerance and emancipation affected Jewish identity.

  29. RE: “Next week at their conference in Tampa, the Methodists will consider divesting from Israel companies profiting off the occupation” ~ Weiss

    UNITED METHODIST KAIROS RESPONSE

    Endorse the Resolution

    Aligning United Methodist Investments with Resolutions
    on Israel/Palestine

    Read the resolution here – link to kairosresponse.org

    This is a endorsement form for individuals, both United Methodists and all others. We welcome endorsements by everyone who would like to support this action for justice and peace in the Holy Land.

    TO ENDORSE THE RESOLUTION - link to kairosresponse.org

    P.S. Please endorse the resolution, y’all! My mom did! (lol)
    I’m not sure she knows it, but her great-grandfather was a Methodist minister and church official; and he sent all of his eight sons to Methodist-affiliated Emory, and all of his three daughters to Methodist-affiliated Wesleyan (in Macon, GA). One of his daughters was at Wesleyan when the students were roused late one night and told that Sherman was coming through. She had a rather difficult, but nonetheless exciting adventure getting home (about 50 miles away). It was truly the stuff of legends.
    Interestingly, as Sherman marched from Atlanta to the sea (Savannah), he split his forces into several contingents to maximize the pillaging and to create as much mayhem as possible. Fortunately, her hometown was spared with one contingent passing a few miles to the northeast and another passing a few miles to the southwest (somewhat akin to the parting of the Red Sea). I suppose I could call it Divine Intervention (that is, if I had a mind to). It was truly the stuff of myths!

    • FILM: Divine Intervention (Yadon Ilaheyya) 2002 NR 89 minutes
      In this comedy tinged with pathos, love blossoms amid the confusion and despair of Nazareth, a city caught in the crossfire of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Elia Suleiman (who directed the film) stars as E.S., a man who observes the ravages of war alongside his girlfriend (Manal Khader). Surreal vignettes underscore the war’s ability to erode this city’s sense of community and its residents’ ability to coexist.
      Language: Arabic (English subtitles)
      Netflix Availability: Streaming and DVD
      • NETFLIX LISTING – link to movies.netflix.com
      Divine Intervention Theatrical Trailer – link to youtube.com

      P.S.
      • I Put a Spell on You, Natacha Atlas (VIDEO, 03:41) – link to youtube.com
      • LIVE: I Put a Spell On You ♫ Natacha Atlas (VIDEO, 5:00) – link to youtube.com
      P.P.S. I had no idea “those people” could ‘get down’ like that. There is no telling what kind of ugly names Rush Limbaugh would call them!

    • RE: “as Sherman marched from Atlanta to the sea (Savannah), he split his forces into several contingents” ~ me, above

      WIKIPEDIA (MAP) – link to upload.wikimedia.org

      • P.S. ANDREW BRACEVICH, 4/20/12:

        (excerpt) . . . When Sherman’s troops marched to the sea in 1864, few cared about any atrocities they might commit. The object of the exercise, after all, was not to win Confederate hearts and minds but, as Sherman succinctly put it, to “make Georgia howl.” . . .

        SOURCE – link to washingtonpost.com

  30. ToivoS says:

    Keith says: Rabbis suggests to me that there is a definite link between Zionism and Judaism, anti-Zionist protestations notwithstanding.

    Unfortunately, I think that is true. Many years ago (I was ten or so, we are talking about the 1950s) my Christian church was involved in a inter-denominational faith thing that Jews should not be objects of discrimination. We all agreed. In fact this group of Christians became active in the civil rights movement during the 1960s.

    There is no way that this group would support the colonial occupation of Palestine. If 1200 rabbis now insist that we must support Israel in their colonial domination of the people of Palestine, then I think it is time for American Christians to engage those rabbis in political opposition. Here is the question: Do American Jews really want to engage in this type of battle? Is Israel that important to you? If so, there is a growing number of Americans that will engage in that battle.

  31. Talkback says:

    Imagine Christian priests had threatened Rabbies to end interfaith harmony if they supported boycotting Southfrica Apartheid’s interhuman disharmony.

    I wouldn’t care about interfaith harmony with religious extremists who support Worse-than-Apartheid-Israel.

  32. Antidote says:

    OT

    After 9/11, the United States government created the Department of Homeland Security to prevent future acts of terrorism and deal with other domestic issues. Now in order to keep doing such, the agency is asking for 450 million hollow point bullets.
    The DHS has signed off on an “indefinite delivery” from defense contractors ATK that will include, for some reason, nearly 500 million high-power ammunition for .40 caliber firearms. The department has yet to discuss why they are ordering such a massive bevy of bullets for an agency that has limited need domestically for doing harm, but they say they expect to continue receiving shipments from the manufacturer for the next five years, during which they plan to blow through enough ammunition to execute more people than there are in the entire United States.

    link to rt.com

    • RudyM says:

      What does the DHS know we, the American public, are going to do that we don’t yet know we are going to do?

      DHS is also buying bulletproof checkpoint booths (though I haven’t seen an exact figure for that).

      The laws are being changed to “legally” overturn our constitutional rights, our police forces are being militarized, and new technologies have already been put in place which offer the powers that be a frightening capacity to surveil and control the 99%. But don’t utter the word “police state.”

  33. PilgrimSoul says:

    Christians also used interfaith connections for their own corrupt purposes. As Peter Novick convincingly demonstrates in The Holocaust in American Life, Catholic leaders used interfaith connections to try to suppress the American production of The Deputy, asking “their Jewish dialogue partners to put pressure on the Jewish producer and director to cancel the play, or at least to join them in denouncing it.” The Deputy (a play that questioned Pope Pius’ unwillingness to speak out against the Nazi Holocaust) had been produced at a time of “tense politicking at Vatican Council II in Rome over a declaration repudiating anti-Semitism and absolving Jews of culpability in the death of Jesus.” According to Novick, the American Jewish Committee “did its best, albeit unsuccessfully, to prevent the play from going on—and made sure that church officials knew that it had tried.” The national tour was canceled, probably as a direct result of combined Catholic/Jewish pressure to do away with it.

    Needless to say, a play should never be closed down because it criticizes organized religion, any religion; and using it as a poker chip in such backstage tummeling is another example of how the Nazi Holocaust corrupts everything. If American Catholics and Jews had to suppress a play about the Holocaust to get the Pope to stop blaming Jews for the death of Jesus, the entire project of reconciliation had, certainly for the people involved in the suppression, no meaning whatsoever. Similarly, the postponement of candid discussion about Israel was both stupid and tragic, because as time went on the elephant in the parlor got bigger and bigger; and in the total absence of tough love from American Jews, the political class in Israel kept moving to the right until it had completely embraced the neo-fascist Jabotinsky form of Zionism. And the liberal mainstream Protestant groups have been completely swamped by evangelical Christians, who–along with conservative Catholics–now constitute the vast majority of Christians in the US.

    And what did we get out of it? The grisly deceit called Judeo-Christian values, which are nothing but a particularly brutal form of imperialism compounded with religious fanaticism–and every day takes us closer to the religious war that we all seek to avoid. The lesson is simple: we have to speak up, no matter how much the fanatics yell and scream. The Screamers are always with us, but the important question is whether we’ll speak up anyway. Here’s hoping the Methodists have the internal fortitude to stick by their position, which is extremely simple and just. But the fanatical distortions that have entered American Judaism, based almost entirely on religious nationalism as defined by a foreign state, are breath-taking and terrifying. Christians must take some of the responsibility for this, because we did not speak up when we should have.

  34. andrew r says:

    Link to the letter with signatories
    link to engage.jewishpublicaffairs.org
    link to rabbis-letter.org

    This is a very fascinating letter. Runs the gamut of hypocritical to just plain illogical.

    Yet quite honestly, were American Christian denominations to indict only Jews and Israel for the conflict with the Palestinians, they would justify the violence perpetrated against Israeli civilians – including children – as the unfortunate result of Israel’s unilateral guilt. In other words, Israeli victims would be responsible for their own suffering. Frankly, such a representation is anything but an expression of friendship and common purpose, and it would replace the closeness and comfort the Jewish community feels in existing relationships with distance, distrust, and disappointment.

    Anyone like how the above paragraph totally forgets that Israeli civilians include Palestinians who are ‘present-absentees’ and frequently suffer their communities demolished? And for that matter, what were the signatories doing the whole time Cuba was embargoed, Iraq was under sanctions and Gaza was (and still is) under siege? What BDS proposes will not inflict near as much damage on Israel. If anything, Israel is the only country they would defend from a consumer-led boycott.

    • Fredblogs says:

      Terrorism against Israeli civilians is not limited to Jews. Bombers attempt to kill large crowds of civilians, often without regard to whether the victims will be just Jews, or Arabs as well.

      • Shingo says:

        Terrorism against Palestiniancivilians is not limited to Muslims. Bombers who use 500 and 1000lb bombs. With a kill radius 20 times that if a suicide vest, attempt to kill large crowds of civilians, often without regard to whether the victims will be just Muslin, or Christian as well.