Jewish theologian says Christian discourse on divesting from occupation contains ‘latent anti-Semitism’

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Ruth Langer
Ruth Langer

In the Christian Science Monitor’s coverage of last week’s divestment vote by the Presbyterian Church (USA), Ruth Langer, a professor of theology at Boston College and degree-holder from Hebrew Union College who is an expert on Jewish-Christian relations, issues the anti-Semitism blackmail.

Note as you read this that the Presbyterian Church has long opposed the illegal Israeli occupation because it destroys Palestinian human rights and was considering a measure to divest from three companies profiting from it. Wow.

Ongoing calls for divestment cast a pall over Christian-Jewish dialogue, according to critics of the movement.

“It creates a hostile environment for relationships within Jewish-Christian dialogue,” says Ruth Langer, associate director of the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College. “There is a latent anti-Semitism in much of these [divestment] discussions in mainline groups…. That’s hugely concerning.”

Langer is hardly alone in the Jewish community. Remember that Americans for Peace Now said that divestment could “raise very real and understandable worries about global anti-Semitism” and Jeremy Ben-Ami of J Street said divestment would cause Christians to lose the “good will” of many American Jews.

I would remind all these moralists that David Remnick, the New Yorker editor, said that he can’t take the occupation “any more,” that the American Jewish community is holding the bag for the occupation, and that it is “deeply wrong.”

the corrosive effect of occupation on Israeli society and on the region is really serious. And so it is disappointing.. that Obama for whatever reason is going to slowly withdraw from this issue and not spend any big political capital to do it. Because the only place that will be able to bring people to the table is the United States…

[The occupation is] wrong. It’s deeply wrong.

But he’s Jewish so he gets a pass for such criticism? We must break down the prejudice that circles this issue like barbed wire.

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that was really irresponsible of CSM, there’s not one example of why langer called it “latent anti-Semitism”

““There is a latent anti-Semitism in much of these [divestment] discussions in mainline groups…. That’s hugely concerning.”

There is ‘anti- all -others’ in full bloom in your ‘homeland’…..suggest you sit up at night and worry about that for a change.

What is “latent anti-semitism” anyway? Is it either provable or even deniable? Perhaps she’s suggesting it as a pathology that only needs awakening again, of irrational, unfounded hatred. Could we suggest she’s a latent “zio-supremacist”, which she might also find difficult to refute? She’s used it as an intimidatory tactic, casting guilt and aspersions on non Jews – but that’s just an opinion, and without examples, is as well founded as hers.

I wonder what definition of anti-Semitism she has in mind. Mind you, there’s a lot be gained from rhetoric based on vagueness and ambiguity.

What is her criteria for calling support of the Palestinians “anti-Semitism”? Given that a majority of Jews and Palestinians share a common “chromosome pool” (see below), couldn’t attacks on Palestinians be considered anti-Semitic? The difference, of course, is religion, not ethnicity. What the Zionists want is for the world to accept a theocracy in the region. Some of the strongest opponents to theocracy anywhere else in the world are Jews because it has led to… Read more »