The Presbyterians knew this was coming; in fact at least one voted against divestment citing his fear of just this headline. “Divestment vote by Presbyterian Church strains long ties with Jewish community,” writes The Washington Post. The story is slanted, suggesting that the divestment measure that targets three companies that serve the Israeli occupation is actually aimed at American Jews and sets back a “peaceful resolution” of the conflict. It fails to mention the many Jews who worked for the resolution– as the NY Times did in its coverage of the vote (and as NYT reporter Laurie Goodstein has emphasized on her twitter feed— and characterizes the vote as some quixotic action to confront Israel and Jews.
The reporters– who give no evidence of having actually been at the GA meeting– frame the whole story in terms of “how terrible this rift could now be between the Presbyterians and the Jews”, quoting extensively from Union for Reform Judaism’s Rabbi Rick Jacobs, who led the anti-divestment charge in Detroit, and from one or two of his Presbyterian allies. Notable in the coverage was the lack of any mention of (let alone quotes from) any Jewish people who supported the divestment resolution. This was blatant, pro-Israeli bias and hackery and should be called out. (As I started to do on twitter.) Makes the NYT reporting look like a model of fairness.
The point of view of the piece is clear in this line: “some interfaith leaders raised concerns about the long-term consequences of the decision.”
And as Cobban notes, the piece grants prominence to Jewish establishment groups that are outraged:
In a statement issued Saturday, [Reform leader Rick] Jacobs said the vote was “unfortunate” and “calls into question the many ways in which we work together” with the Presbyterian Church.
The Post might have mentioned Jacobs’s laughable proposal to put together the Presbyterians with Benjamin Netanyahu. This gambit apparently backfired; one church member said it was “hubris” to believe they would have any effect on the p.m., especially after they’d defeated divestment.
More of the threats from the Jewish community, reflected in the Post:
The American Jewish Committee, based in New York, called it “a very sad day for Presbyterian-Jewish relations,” saying in a written statement that a group within the Presbyterian Church was “driven by hatred of Israel” and had led a campaign of misinformation within the denomination.
“This is an affront to all who are committed to a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Rabbi Noam Marans, the AJC’s director of interreligious and intergroup relations, said in the statement.
Oh and this is from the Israeli Embassy Saturday: “Last night’s
#PCUSA vote in Detroit was a vote against peace.” Talk about fearmongering, the full statement implicitly accuses the Presbyterians of supporting terrorism:
“The resolution of the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) this evening in Detroit is shameful. It removes its ability to be a constructive partner to promote peace in the Middle East. It is also remarkable at a time when we are praying for the safety of the three boys: Eyal Gil-ad and Naftali, who were kidnapped by Hamas terrorists, that the church remained silent. We would have hoped that PCUSA would have joined us in promoting peace and denouncing terrorism.”