Huffington Post features Israel lobby propaganda in slander against the Presbyterian Church

on 32 Comments
In the midst of the divestment debate at the Presbyterian General Assembly, Huffington Post ran an article full of Israel lobby propaganda against divestment, including the suggestion that the Presbyterian Church is anti-Semitic.
The article, “Presbyterians: Help Prevent Injustice Against Israel,” by Jonathan Miller, harshly condemned the church for considering divestment from three companies (Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions, and Hewlett Packard) that sell equipment used for military purposes in maintaining and expanding Israeli’s occupation of Palestinian land.  The article ignored the fact that the church has a longstanding policy of divesting from companies that sell military equipment, and implied instead that the church’s action to divest was really a “statement against Jews.” 
The only proof offered for this alleged anti-Semitism was a misleading claim that, “a recent church forum in Louisville about the divestment proposal – one of a series that were held across the country prior to the General Assembly – belied the notion that Zionists shouldn’t take offense. Neither Jewish nor pro-Israel leaders were permitted to deliver a presentation.”
That is a misrepresentation of what happened at the Louisville church forum (which I attended.) The facts reveal quite the opposite.
Jewish leaders have had many opportunities to meet with Presbyterian Church leaders and to make presentations at Presbyterian gatherings to argue against divestment. But the Louisville church forum described in the Huffington Post was an internal Presbyterian event that had been scheduled so Presbyterians could talk among themselves and share their concerns in a free and open manner. Only Presbyterian ministers and church officials were invited as panelists.
A Presbyterian leader who is opposed to divestment was invited as a panelist, so all sides would have a fair hearing. Fair, honest, and open discussion is a time-honored tradition in the Presbyterian Church.
Because this was to be an internal church discussion, only Presbyterians were invited to be in the audience. Jewish leaders from the extremely pro-Israel Louisville Jewish Community Federation (JCL) found out about it, talked with the event organizers, and asked to come, or somehow managed to get invited. Even though it would change the character of the event, the Presbyterians kindly and graciously said Federation folks were welcome to attend. They did not want to exclude Jews. 
The Jewish Community Federation leaders then traversed the bounds of propriety and asked to be put on the panel to make a presentation. The Presbyterians politely declined, but encouraged them to come and be in the audience. 
When my Presbyterian friends told me that the Louisville church forum had been opened to non-Presbyterians, I decided to attend. I identified myself as Jewish and was allowed to speak at length during the discussion period after the panel presentations. The five pro-Israel Jewish leaders from the Federation who were there had the same opportunity to speak during the discussion period. They did not “deliver a presentation” because they were not panelists, but they did have a chance to express their views.
Bear in mind that the Federation had held an event in Louisville the week before, in which they had invited Presbyterians and lobbied them against divestment. No Presbyterian made a presentation at the Federation event, and no opposition panelist was allowed. In contrast to the fair-mindedness of the Presbyterians, the Federation has a standing policy of excluding any speaker who supports divestment. Speakers who support divestment are officially banned from Federation property, even if they are Jewish. For the Federation or its allies to accuse the Presbyterian Church of not allowing alternative viewpoints to be heard is completely false and utterly hypocritical.
The Huffington Post article misrepresented what happened at the Louisville church forum and used it as the basis for a false accusation of anti-Semitism. Huffington Post owes the Presbyterian Church an apology.
About Russ Greenleaf

Russ Greenleaf is a Jewish peace activist and a member of Louisville Jewish Voice for Peace. He is a member of a Reform Temple in Louisville, Kentucky.

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32 Responses

  1. Avi_G.
    July 17, 2012, 10:29 am

    Those dinners with Israeli officials are paying off for Arianna Huffington.

    • Daniel Rich
      July 17, 2012, 5:14 pm

      @ Avi_G

      LOL … Oh, f**k! AOL!

      • Avi_G.
        July 17, 2012, 8:49 pm

        It’s true.

        I arrived in Tel Aviv, at the Ben Gurian Airport, at 6:30 Sunday evening and went straight to the Yoezer Wine bar, a charming restaurant in Jaffa, housed in an old stone building that dates back to the Ottoman Empire.

        I was there to have dinner with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and his wife Nili, who were leaving at midnight for Washington for meetings at the White House, as well as prominent Israeli venture capitalist, Meir Barel, of Star Ventures, fellow Greek Sabby Mionis, and Avital Leibovich, the spokesperson for the Foreign Press Division of the Israeli military.

        P.S. – Note how she misspells “Ben-Gurian”[sic]. She spelled it the way she would pronounce it, due to her accent.

        The ignorance of all those fawning tools is quite amazing sometimes. She can’t be bothered to actually spell “Ben-Gurion” right (i.e. learn the facts surrounding Israel’s history, a part of which is Ben-Gurion), but she is more than willing to peddle Israeli propaganda at will.

      • Daniel Rich
        July 21, 2012, 4:31 am

        @ Avi_G

        Q: (i.e. learn the facts surrounding Israel’s history, a part of which is Ben-Gurion), but she is more than willing to peddle Israeli propaganda at will.

        R: First there was the Ottoman Empire and then … <<>> Israel!!! I don’t know about you, Avi, but I myself am quite weary of persons dropping [famous] names like bat shit.

  2. Kathleen
    July 17, 2012, 10:48 am

    Yeah. Have been sending Huff Po reguest to cover this. Bet others have too. Sending them scoops, tips. [email protected]. Folks you just never know what efforts you try may or may not get through. You just never know. It can really help. Huffington Post monitors/moderators have become much more fair and balanced in regard to what links they will and will not allow through also. Just a few years ago tough to get links to Mondoweiss and other fact based sites about the I/P issue and Iran through. Keep pushing, linking, petitioning, calling national shows.

    • jimmy
      July 17, 2012, 11:25 am

      K ….

      many of us dont like the Huffpo gives foxman harris ginsbergs voice …

      I bitch all time

  3. Basilio
    July 17, 2012, 10:51 am

    Zionists don’t tend to present more than one side. However, they scream when you show your side saying you didn’t show their side as if they have the God given right to always have something to say no matter where or what, but they will do everything to silence you. It’s the height of arrogance. As some Orthodox rabbis said, Zionism has become a religion. Israel has become a god.

  4. Kathleen
    July 17, 2012, 10:54 am

    oops just read the article. Trying to erase the above. Too bad Huff Po only allowing that view through. Too bad indeed
    “Far worse than the misguided and misinformed resolution’s practical implications is its potential to seriously disrupt the long term Jewish-Presbyterian alliance on behalf of social justice. As I detail in my new book, The Liberal Case for Israel, the language of “boycott” and “divestment” is particularly painful for Jews who have suffered from more than six decades of boycotts against Israel, led most often by those who seek to de-legitimize or even destroy the Jewish State. While many Jews, including myself, disagree with some of the Israeli government’s policies regarding the West Bank, we are infuriated by boycott actions that blame the Jewish State entirely for the failure to reach peace, and those that single out the only liberal democracy in an exceedingly hostile and autocratic region. Where’s the fury about the more than 150 rocket attacks targeting Israeli civilians that have been fired by Gaza-based, Hamas-supported terrorists in just the past week alone? Where’s the outrage against the Syrian government’s policy of mass murder? Where’s the protest against government persecution of gays and subjugation of women in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and other Middle East nations?”

  5. jimmy
    July 17, 2012, 11:01 am

    huffpo is usually neutral……I rag on them all the time

    but they need cash…

    so I am find the article …and blow it to smithers

  6. justicewillprevail
    July 17, 2012, 11:02 am

    Zionists have no compunction, or shame, about lying their heads off, alleging all manner of imagined anti-semitism when it suits them. That’s standard behaviour – what is really pathetic is the eagerness of MSM to lap it up and repeat it verbatim.

  7. stopaipac
    July 17, 2012, 11:23 am

    what do you expect of a website like Huffington Post, that had, on its very first day in cyberspace, featured a column by well-known anti-Arab racist Daniel Pipes?

  8. ritzl
    July 17, 2012, 11:26 am

    Another smear sh*t-canned. Well done.

    A wise friend once said that there’s no self-awareness in Zio circles. For them, that was “great”while the lid on deviation from the planned narrative was still in place. It served to project and reinforce a certainty about the righteousness of “the cause.” Now that the lid is off (W&M), the lack of self-awareness has an opposite, “circling the drain” effect, and further will prevent zios from realizing that it is having the opposite effect (i.e. cue more antisemitism accusations).

    It’s like a real-life political version of “The Picture of Dorian Gray” meltdown.

    Not that the meltdown is a bad thing, but a lot of people who reached out in good faith to supporters of Israel will be hurt (i.e. question their generosity/faith-based insights) by being treated, in the end, like a Palestinian olive tree.

    • Betsy
      July 17, 2012, 12:05 pm

      @ritzl — I’m more hopeful. There’s a lot of philoSemitism built up — because of the crucial & wonderful contributions that Jewish activists, leaders, intellectuals have made to American life, especially social justice — especially post WWII. It’ll take a while to deplete that fund of good will. Also, just to speak as a Presbyterian — after an initial period of being very hurt — I’m now thinking of this as like going to family unions — there’s always some crazy uncle that you don’t want to get going on some weird belief. Certain Jewish networks have gone crazy in bad ways (with horrific consequences for Palestinions & US military budget)– but, buddy, as Christians & Americans — don’t we know what it’s like have “our people” go crazy. So, we can relate to the process…We just need to figure out how to balance patience & tough love.

      Clearly we Presbys need to get tougher — and call this out for a nasty unfounded attack…what to call it? PRESBYPHOBIA??

      • Daniel Rich
        July 17, 2012, 5:20 pm

        @ Betsy,

        Q: … especially social justice

        R: yeah, for everyone but muslims. How come Richard Gere is jumping through hoops for the Dalai Lama, but can’t find a place in his heart to do the same for others? Oh, the bosses, you say?

      • Betsy
        July 18, 2012, 8:39 am

        *many* types of Americans are behaving despicably toward Muslims — Islamophobia is widespread & spreading in Christian and Jewish & other groups. Outrageous & a blot on America — but we should all pitch in & work together on it…

      • Daniel Rich
        July 21, 2012, 4:33 am

        @ Betsy,

        Someone else summed it neatly up when s/he said that extremists have niches in every religion, it is up to us to sift through all the dis-info to find grains of truth.

      • ritzl
        July 27, 2012, 6:10 pm

        Hi Betsy. You’re right, of course. There is a huge reservoir of goodwill, borne, again as you say, out of horrendous past collective indifference.

        I too am hopeful, in the sense that you don’t burn bridges (drain that reservoir) while trying to create new ones to the Muslim/Arab/Palestinian community for precisely the same reason that overtures were made to the Jewish community. That’s zero sum, bogus, and counterproductive. The Presbys, as a church, do seem to have learned that lesson, that zero sum world views diminish us all, greatly.

        Great credit to you/them.

        My fear (and personal caution) is that potential betrayal is what’s in play here. Betrayal is perhaps one of the most unrecoverable of human experiences. Seafoid wrote here a couple of weeks ago that it’s easy to lie to people of goodwill, to which I responded yes, but it’s the worst possible thing to do. If in fact the advocacy against BDS in front the PCUSA is shown to be simple, calculated, political cover, then the blowback will be huge and deeply felt. It would drain the goodwill pretty quickly. If it is shown to be naivté of the highest order, then maybe not so quickly and outreach and ecumenical dialogue can still foster change, but with a twist. Twist being, any dialogue would be from the perspective of a “what about this…” reality rather than an assumption of good faith.

        Events in Israel immediately after the PCUSA vote suggest strongly that there is a very reasonable case to be made for the cynical, political take. But my view is the Presbys will adopt the latter view, again to their credit, but with increased awareness of the terms of the debate and perhaps with more motivated outreach to Palestinian and/or Muslim voices.

        I hope that orgs like the PCUSA can actively solicit more ecumenical views on this issue beyond the outreach to the Jewish community. I hope that the Jewish community respects that prospective outreach.

        Sorry to take so long to respond. I deeply respect your views on this and it took me a while to get over the disappointment and respond in the spirit of what you said here.

    • seafoid
      July 18, 2012, 11:10 am

      Zionists live in another mental world. Those who interact with reality are alert to any meme that threatens the ur memes of Zionism and to date they have attempted to destroy them all. It never mattered who got in the way. Now the war has moved to the US and groups of elderly Presbyterian ladies are getting treatment that was previously reserved for enemies in Israel’s “near abroad”. Those bared teeth with spit drooling while the tongue lashes out the unspeakable slur “antisemitism” – I guess the ladies got a shock the first time they experienced the song and dance routine

  9. Dexter
    July 17, 2012, 11:45 am

    What does anyone expect…it’s the Huffington Post?! It’s not a serious outlet for news/information.

  10. American
    July 17, 2012, 12:00 pm

    Around the Web:….articles presented by Huffpo

    Will Presbyterians Repudiate Church’s Hate for Israel and Jews …

    Presbyterian Church (USA) Members Want Israel Accused of …

    Jewish Groups Accuse Presbyterian Church Group of Anti-Semitism …

    Presbyterians Against Israel – The Wall Street Journal

    Anti-Semitism in the Presbyterian Church … – Arutz Sheva Israel News

    Zios have put up Jews as human shields for Israel in their fight with Christian churches.
    Nothing new about that, but using it against others religion is a real ‘escalation’ that shows just how stupidly crazy they are. What do they think is going to happen when they issue ultimatums that say choose Jews (=Israel) or choose your own religious principles?

  11. radii
    July 17, 2012, 12:08 pm

    Arianna Huffington is a huckster, a self-promoter who runs a journalistic sweatshop and who follows some wacky guru – her site is true “info-tainment”

    • Kathleen
      July 18, 2012, 11:02 am

      Yep the USA Today of blogs. But great way to spread information about the I/P conflict over at Huff Po. The moderators have opened up. Allowing links to Mondoweiss, Race for Iran etc. Which in the past some moderators would not allow to go through. Use the site to spread info. Lead readers to the light over here at Mondoweiss etc

  12. seanmcbride
    July 17, 2012, 1:16 pm

    To how much pressure do you think Arianna Huffington has been subjected by the Israel lobby? A safe bet: massive, mammoth, unrelenting pressure. It’s a miracle that any criticism of Israel is permitted on Huffington Post.

    • Daniel Rich
      July 17, 2012, 5:21 pm

      @ seanmcbride,

      Who pays the legions of HuPo’s unseen, but relentless ‘moderators’?

  13. Keith
    July 17, 2012, 4:02 pm

    This article highlights a significant aspect of American Jewish Zionism. Insisting upon access to Gentile forums and organizations while simultaneously restricting Gentile access to Jewish forums and organizations. An intellectual ghetto where information and influence travel in one direction only.

  14. Roya
    July 17, 2012, 6:02 pm

    Zionists need to work on their self-reflection skills. Instead of hounding on their critics all the time, it’s time for them to take a good look in the mirror and ask, “I’ve done everything in my power to indoctrinate unwitting people with Zionism, so why is it that people are turning against me? Could I possibly be doing something wrong? Is there any merit in what they say? Am I enforcing a positive image of Jews?”

  15. DICKERSON3870
    July 17, 2012, 9:41 pm

    RE: “Huffington Post features Israel lobby propaganda in slander against the Presbyterian Church” / “That is a misrepresentation of what happened at the Louisville church forum (which I attended.) The facts reveal quite the opposite.”

    MY COMMENT: Hasbarists are such inveterate liars!


    “Amateur or professional?” ~ by Rowan Berkley, Niqnaq, posted on Saturday, January 8th, 2011 at 7:56 am
    The weakness of this scheme is that the message boards log IPs and can thus detect sock puppets – RB

    ~ ~ ~ JIDF 4chan operations for Feb 2011 ~ ~ ~
    Jewish Internet Defense Force (offsite)
    This upcoming February we will be launching our largest operation on 4chan and other popular image boards, our objective is to create an image of Palestinians and Lebanese being virulently anti-American and anti-Western.
    • Create threads against Israel and fill them with posts from violent Jihadist Palestinians, claim to want to immigrate into the West to do Jihad, later on in the threads post links to propaganda films like Pallywood.
    • Exploit massive Lebanese immigration into Australia as a reason why the Australian people should support Israel.
    • Claim that Israel helps stop Muslim immigration into the West.
    • Post propaganda threads linking to Palestinian and Lebanese suicide bombers and other Muslim extremism, in these threads also reply as a Jew who has been affected by Jihadist violence, explain to the readers that Muslims are a threat to the West.
    • Start threads claiming to be Lebanese-Americans or Palestinian-Englanders, portray yourselves as extremely anti-Israel, later on in these threads claim to be a Jew disgusted by the behavior of the Lebanese/Palestinian man.

    MD5: 98bc2f5ba195396e3958bcec640a4292-7-6-6-2-5-8-2-1-8-9-3-6-7-8-4-5-6

    SOURCE –

    • DICKERSON3870
      July 17, 2012, 9:46 pm

      P.S. ALSO SEE THE HASBARA HANDBOOK (pages 24-25):

      • Testimonial [one of the seven propaganda devices – J.L.D.]
      Testimonial means enlisting the support of somebody admired or famous to endorse an ideal or campaign. Testimonial can be used reasonably – it makes sense for a footballer to endorse football boots –
      or manipulated, such as when a footballer is used to support a political campaign they have only a limited understanding of. Whilst everybody is entitled to an opinion, testimonial can lend weight to an argument that it doesn’t deserve: if U2’s Bono condemned Israel for something that it didn’t do, thousands would believe him, even thoughhe was wrong.
      Enlisting celebrity support for Israel can help to persuade people that Israel is a great country. Obviously some celebrities are more useful than others. Students are probably a little too sophisticated to be affected by Britney’s opinion on Israel, but those associated with intelligence like professors, actors, radio hosts, sports managers and so on can be asked to offer testimonial. A celebrity doesn’t have to fully support Israel to be useful. Quotes can work as testimonial, even when they might be old or out of context. . .

      SOURCE – “HASBARA HANDBOOK: Promoting Israel on Campus”, published by the World Union of Jewish Students, March 2002
      LINK –

  16. Hostage
    July 18, 2012, 1:50 am

    Huffington Post ran an article full of Israel lobby propaganda against divestment, including the suggestion that the Presbyterian Church is anti-Semitic.

    Nobody out here in the Bible Belt is gonna buy anything these Zionists have to say if they keep trying to suggest that Methodists and Presbyterians are antisemitic. That idea goes over like a lead balloon.

    Has anybody seen any discussion in the US MSM over the latest anti-Christian tirades coming out of the Knesset? One of them tore up a Christian Bible and many others complained that it’s illegal to send one through the Israeli mail or to have one delivered to an Israeli Knesset member. Believe me, the Evangelicals out here will jump all the way to the end of their chains snarling and snapping over that sort of petty and bigoted bullshit if they ever get wind of it.
    Missionaries in the Knesset?
    Report: Israeli MK tears up Bible

  17. Les
    July 18, 2012, 4:23 pm

    Greenleaf sounds like one of those Jewish rebels who worship God rather than the state of Israel.

  18. russgreen
    July 30, 2012, 9:43 pm

    Thanks, Les.
    — Russ Greenleaf

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