Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, “America’s Rabbi,” has written a piece in the New York Observer, titled, “By Condemning Israel, Presbyterians Condemn Themselves” that includes this factoid/howler:
When I was a student in Israel in the mid 1980s there were almost no checkpoints. That’s because suicide bombings had yet to come into vogue. Young Muslims were not being encouraged by the PLO and Hamas to detonate themselves to strike a blow for their religion.
Things have changed. In the wake of the Oslo Accords, in which Israel granted the PLO political autonomy in the West Bank, about 60,000 Americans were murdered in Israel.
I love the modifier “about.” Seems he is slightly off:
— daniel sieradski (@selfagency) June 25, 2014
Update: The piece has been updated to read:
Things have changed. In the wake of the Oslo Accords, in which Israel granted the PLO political autonomy in the West Bank, the equivalent of about 60,000 Americans were murdered in Israel.
Boteach begins that piece by running down the Presbyterian Church vote on divestment:
The rotting corpse of the Presbyterian Church suffered another nail in the coffin with its general convention vote on Friday to divest from companies doing business with Israel.
Scott McConnell comments, at The American Conservative:
One suspects that if a prominent Presbyterian cleric used comparable language about a branch of Judaism, it would attract some negative attention.
McConnell’s piece about the nobility of the Presbyterians is excellent. Two quick excerpts.
Protestantism, or to be more precise, liberal establishment Protestantism, used to be something of a state religion in America. Protestant clerics were widely quoted, featured on the covers of news magazines. Time magazine (itself widely read) ran a weekly “religion” feature, which more often than not circulated Protestant ideas and covered the comings and goings of mainline church luminaries. Presidents sought their advice, or at least claimed to.
That day is past: since then America has elected a Catholic president, and a substantial part of its financial and cultural establishment is Jewish. Multiculturalism has triumphed.
Presbyterian leaders in America have a richly textured history of political cooperation with Jews; they made common cause in opposition to Vietnam, over civil rights, over issues of church-state relations. They are fewer than 2,000,000 now, but they are generally well educated, and have both activist skills and a strong penchant to combat injustice. They are a smaller group than two generations ago, but the Israel lobby obviously cared enough about them to make a major effort to defeat the divestment vote. The Israel lobby failed, suffering a significant public defeat. Presbyterians made themselves more visible and relevant than they’ve been in decades.