May it have been worse timing — the week after the hostage disaster in Colleyville, when each American Jew felt uncooked and threatened?
May the timing have been extra ironic — to make this assertion throughout the week that Jews learn the Ten Commandments within the Torah?
Particularly that one about “not bearing false witness?”
Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, Acknowledged Clerk of the Common Meeting of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has urged American Jews to assist finish Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory.
His phrases: “The continued occupation in Palestine/Israel is twenty first century slavery and must be abolished instantly.”
You learn that proper: “twenty first century slavery.”
To accuse the Jewish state of participating in slavery is to flip the traditional Jewish narrative. It’s to say to us: “As soon as upon a time, you had been slaves in Egypt. Now. you’re Pharaoh.”
Rev. Nelson’s ignorance is matched solely by his malevolence.
Since we’re speaking about unhealthy timing — he provided these phrases on the birthday of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., who was a buddy of the American Jewish neighborhood and of Israel.
I accuse Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson of bearing false witness in opposition to the state of Israel, and by extension, in opposition to Jews. As a result of his assertion comprises echoes of basic antisemitism.
That is the push back from the Convention of Presidents of Main American Jewish Organizations:
To make use of the reminiscence of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to make claims linking the Israeli-Palestinian battle to enslavement after which name on the American Jewish neighborhood to make use of its ‘affect’ with the American authorities is just not solely unfair, however it’s also harmful. It’s a long-standing antisemitic trope about Jews. In truth, the notion of ‘Jewish Energy’ seems to have been a key a part of the distorted motivation of the terrorist who held 4 folks hostage lower than 48 hours earlier than Rev. Nelson’s hateful assault. Blaming American Jews for the actions of the Israeli authorities is a transparent instance of the ‘trendy antisemitism’ outlined within the internationally-accepted worldwide holocaust remembrance alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.
We additionally be aware with disappointment that is hardly the primary time the Presbyterian Church USA has proven this ugly facet of itself. We pray for extra from a self-professed God-fearing Church.
Precisely proper. There’s a troubling historical past right here, which my RNS colleague Yonat Shimron outlines.
In 2014, the denomination voted to divest from three corporations that it says provide Israel with tools used within the occupation of Palestinian territory.
That very same 12 months, its Israel/Palestine Mission Community printed “Zionism Unsettled,” a examine information calling Zionism — the motion undergirding the founding of Israel as a Jewish homeland — a “pathology” and “a doctrine that promotes demise somewhat than life.”
The screenwriter, Ben Hecht, as soon as mentioned: “Within the warmest of hearts, there’s a chilly spot for the Jews.”
He was proper — particularly on the subject of mainstream Christian denominations, who’re our allies in different issues, however who continually disappoint us with their anti-Israel feedback.
I’m coronary heart sick over this. For nearly seventy years, Jewish leaders have engaged in vigorous interfaith dialogue — sharing, bridge constructing, native and nationwide tasks, with our clergy and lay companions. All of us have native tales of success. I depend Christian (and Muslim) colleagues amongst my closest pals. In some instances, they’re like household to me.
However, we American Jews find out about different statements supporting BDS which have emerged from Christian teams, and/or have been contemplated by Christian teams. Frankly, they damage us deeply.
We wince over the uncooked Jew hatred that has turn into a part of our tradition. Examine the benefit of entry right into a Christian church with the safety guards, partitions, gates, and numeric pads, at synagogues.
I’m not positive that the Presbyterians within the pew know what their leaders are saying of their identify. Neither am I positive that in the event that they knew, that they’d approve.
These Presbyterians need to let their leaders know exactly that.
Think about this welcome, redemptive statement from Pastor Todd Stavrakos, convenor of Presbyterians for Center East Peace.
He expressed disappointment that the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. remained mute throughout the Colleyville hostage disaster.
Then, he continued:
Nevertheless, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II, the Acknowledged Clerk of our denomination, took time to extol the have to be vigilant in opposition to injustice on this planet in addition to pursue the unity that Dr. King sought. Sadly, with all of the injustices on this planet (China, Myanmar, Russia, and Saudi Arabia, to call a number of.), he wrote solely of the persevering with battle between Israelis and Palestinians…
The Rev. Dr. Nelson‘s actions in lashing out on the U.S. and world Jewish neighborhood is past the pale. Gratefully, his actions and phrases don’t match the work of native PCUSA and Jewish congregations in communities throughout the nation. On the grassroots, Presbyterians work for justice alongside Jews, somewhat than participating in polarizing polemics. If Rev. Dr. Nelson frolicked with the American Jewish neighborhood, as domestically primarily based Presbyterians do, he would know that American Jews are various and very involved about what is going on in Israel and Palestine. He would additionally know that many reside in worry of violence – and that phrases matter. We hope the Acknowledged Clerk will spend extra time speaking and dealing with American Jewish neighborhood leaders and fewer time writing blasts stuffed with reprehensible misrepresentations of our Jewish neighbors.
For the sake of statements and sentiments like this, we American Jews may select to reconfirm our dedication to interfaith dialogue. As a result of a lot is at stake.
You may keep in mind that basic Hasidic story.
A rebbe is speaking to one in all his college students. “Do you’re keen on me?” he asks.
“After all I really like you, Rebbe,” the coed replied.
“Actually? Have you learnt what offers me ache?”
“How can I do know what offers you ache?
To which the rebbe replied: “When you have no idea what offers me ache, how are you going to say that you simply love me?”
Honest interfaith dialogue implies that we will know what offers ache to the opposite.
As a result of, with out that, you can not say that you simply love me.