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Jewish critics: Presbyterian study guide equates Zionism with racism

Zionism Unsettled cover page.
Zionism Unsettled cover page

photo courtesy of

Zionism Unsettled cover page

(RNS) Major Jewish civil rights groups are denouncing a new publication distributed by the Presbyterian Church (USA) that rejects the existence of Israel as a Jewish state.

“Zionism Unsettled,” a study guide published last month by the Israel/Palestine Mission Network, a group chartered by the church, writes of the “pathology” of Zionism, the movement undergirding the founding of Israel as a Jewish homeland.

The booklet describes Zionism as inherently discriminatory toward non-Jews. It calls on Christians to see the conflict through the lens of Palestinian Christians who have declared Zionism “heretical” and “a doctrine that promotes death rather than life.”

“The fundamental assumption of this study is that no exceptionalist claims can be justified in our interconnected, pluralistic world,” the booklet states.

But Jewish groups say that in its accusations of Israeli “exceptionalism,” the booklet seeks to mask its authors’ bigotry.

“This publication is not an attack on particular Israeli policies but on the very idea of a Jewish return to Zion,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. The church, he added “has deployed the nuclear option against the vast majority of Jews, calling us inherently racist and abusive. We call on our Christian associates — including those critical of some of Israel’s policies — to denounce this disgusting attack aimed at delegitimizing and demonizing the world’s largest Jewish community and all lovers of Zion. “

The booklet recounts in detail the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, using phrases such as “ethnic cleansing” and “apartheid” and accuses Israel of “cloaking secular nationalism with sacred messianism.”

It laments that the major streams of Judaism — Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist — have included the “Prayer for the State of Israel” in their prayer books, reflecting that “most Jewish theologians have turned a blind eye to the darker implications of the wedding of religion and state power in Israel.”

At the same time, its critics note, the booklet makes scant reference to anti-Semitism, aggression and terrorism suffered by Israelis, or territories Israel has returned, such as the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip.

The Rev. Walt Davis, education co-chair of the IPMN, called the reaction to the study guide “knee-jerk” and “emotional” and said the guide is meant to open a discussion on Zionism and the harm it has done to the Palestinian people.

He said he can understand the strong “blowback” to the study guide, in that he grew up in the South, and witnessed angry responses to the civil rights movement.

The publication of “Zionism Unsettled” comes as Secretary of State John Kerry is trying to broker a new peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians, who have been negotiating since July.

Its publication also comes as the 1.8 million members of the PCUSA anticipate a June meeting of the General Assembly, which is expected to take up a resolution to divest church funds from companies, that, in the view of the resolutions’ proponents, further the Israeli occupation.

The “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions” movement against Israel has an active base of support within the denomination, and a divestment resolution have failed by a slim margin at the last meeting of the General Assembly. It also strained Jewish-Presbyterian relations.

The study guide will further estrange the denomination from the Jewish community, said Rabbi Noam Marans, the American Jewish Committee’s director of intergroup and interreligious relations. He said he does not buy the church’s statement that the IPMN “speaks to the church and not for the church.”

“This is a distinction without a difference when you are chartering IPMN and selling their propaganda on your home website,” he said.

Denominational officials reminded that the IPMN does not speak for it in a statement on the booklet issued in response to a query from Religion News Service.

“Our church has a long history of engaging many points of view when it comes to dialogue on critical issues facing the world around us — it’s who we are, part of our DNA,” said Linda Valentine, executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

“There are likely as many differing opinions as there are Presbyterians — and, like many denominations, we don’t always agree.”

It affirmed the denomination’s support for a peaceful settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.

But some within the church came out strongly against the booklet, most notably the Rev. Chris Leighton, the executive director of the Institute for Christian & Jewish Studies, which is not affiliated with the church.

In an open letter to the church, he wrote that “to suggest that the Jewish yearning for their own homeland — a yearning that we Presbyterians have supported for numerous other nations — is somehow theologically and morally abhorrent is to deny Jews their own identity as a people.”


About the author

Lauren Markoe

Lauren Markoe has been a national reporter for RNS since 2011. Previously she covered government and politics as a daily reporter at the Charlotte Observer and The State (Columbia, S.C.)


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  • I am a Presbyterian Ruling Elder and I am certainly against the booklet. I have been writing about it on my blog and left a comment at the official PC (U.S.A.) news site, but they did not post my comment. One of my post is a review at, I also wrote this yesterday I hope that our leadership will eventually speak up-the Israel/Palestine Mission Network who put the booklet together is driving our denomination into an awful dark place.

  • I have seen first hand Presbyterians walk off and leave. In my pastorates of PC(USA) churches it seems that those at the GA are out of step with those in the pews of our churches. No wonder we have declined! Sadly, this will continue unless God intervenes. Many of us, especially in the South, are looked upon as a bunch of conservative, homophobic, anti-Muslim rednecks which is further from the truth as East is from the West. Maybe they make wake up y’all !

  • This study guide is not an official document of the Presbyterian Church (USA) but comes, rather, from the Israel-Palestine Mission Network (IPMN), an advocacy group speaking for itself alone.

  • Actually, Morton, the IPMN is a department of the PCUSA. It is not a separate group. The PCUSA is responsible for its actions even though it doesn’t admit it.

  • The number of Presbyterians is off by about a half million. Membership is in free fall. 1.8 million members soaking wet.

  • Iwas raised Presbyterian and am from scotch irish and puritan heritage. What has happened? Who is taking over? This is really sick. Are the muslims infiltrating out churches too? Very frightening

  • David Duke has endorsed Walt Davis Islamo fascist ideas.
    So Davis has the support of the Neo Nazis.

    Shaked: ‘How Can We Make Peace With These People?’
    In letter to MKs, Ambassadors, Jewish Home Chairwoman Ayelet Shaked calls for end to anti-Semitic incitement in the PA.
    Tova Dvorin, Arutz Sheva Staff

    MK Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) dispatched a letter to Knesset members and ambassadors in Israel Sunday, following reports of violent and anti-Semitic content featured on the Gaza radio station “Sawt Al-Quds”, broadcasted on FM 102.7.

    The program, named “Arva Vanet” (lit. “no homeland”), airs several times a week and profiles a “martyr” for the “Palestinian people,” according to the letter. The program glorifies that murder of civilians – especially Religious Zionists.

    Each story details a different terror attack and is accompanied by a soundtrack full of pathos. The show airs in the afternoon and evening – a prime time to reach the ears of children and teenagers returning home from school.

    Shaked gives one example of programming by the station, citing an episode which aired on January 1. “The broadcaster talked about the “martyr” from the city of Nablus, born in 1977, who blew himself up in Netanya, killing large numbers of Jews ‘by the Grace of G-d,'” she stated.

    Shaked responded, “We are trying to make peace with these people? They incite to murder and praise terrorist atrocities! They educate their children to murder innocent people! They have no regard for morals or human life!”

    Shaked noted that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu promised peace only in the event that incitement against Jews and Israeli stopped. Now that the incitement continues, “why do we continue the deception [of negotiations]? Why do we stand blind to reality?” she asked.
    Shaked concluded her letter with a statement calling on the international community to recognize the incitement against Israel from the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Gaza.

    Israel’s Security Agency (ISA or the Shin Bet) statistics in 2013 revealed that terror attacks have been on the rise since peace talks resumed.

    Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu remarked Friday that incitement – not just from the Hamas, but from the PA as well – is “a major factor behind the attacks.”

    “To glorify the murders of innocent women and men as heroes is an outrage,” he added. “How can President Abbas say that he stands against terrorism when he embraces the perpetrators of terrorism and glorifies them as heroes? He can’t stand against terrorists and stand with the terrorists.”

    Netanyahu told US Secretary of State John Kerry that it is “not surprising that in recent weeks Israel has been subjected to a growing wave of terrorist attacks. President Abbas didn’t see fit to condemn these attacks even after we learned that at least in one case, I stress at least in one case, those who served and are serving in the Palestinian security forces took part in them.”

  • The only plan Israel can offer that is acceptable to Palestinians is one in which Israel becomes Palestinian Muslim majority and Palestinian Muslim ruled.

    3 Times from 2000 to 2008, Israel offered the Pals a state, something no Arab or Islamic country ever did.
    Israel offered the Pals a state even thought their was never in history any state called Palestine governed by Palestinians.
    The Palestinians refused to end the conflict as long as it meant that they would have to accept the legitimacy of Israel as a sovereign, permanent country and neighbor. Only when the Palestinians extremist/rejectionist/supremacist attitude changes will peace really be possible.

    Palestinians should get one thing into their heads: the world does not revolve around them. They share the blame for their situation, because they always wanted everything and never wanted to compromise. First and foremost that NOBODY, and least Israel owes them anything.

    The Palestinians’ plight is due to their own fanaticism, hatred, intolerance and intransigence.
    The worst thing about the Palestinians is that unlike the Israelis – the Palestinians deliberately target women and children.

    The Palestinians have no basic human morality.
    Opinion polls show the majority of Palestinians support killing Israeli civilians.
    73% of Palestinians Believe Jews Should Be Killed Wherever They Hide
    Jim Hoft
    July 16, 2011,
    Wednesday, September 11, 2013
    Once again, Palestinian Arab support for terrorism is the highest in the world
    Pew Research just released their latest Global Attitudes report on how the Muslim world views extremist groups and terrorism.

    The Palestinians have also put a lot of energy into celebrating the murders of Israeli civilians by Arab terrorists.
    They don’t just celebrate murdering us once or twice – they still celebrate murders they committed of Israelis in the 1970s.
    Their culture is one big murder cult (with Israeli civilians as their targets)

    I advise you to go on Palmediawatch to see the racist genocidal Palestinian media against Israel.

    The Palestinians will blow up the same hospital that gave them excellent care. The will try to blow up the power plant providing electricity from Israel. Their hate knows no end. Until they love their children more than they hate the Jews as Golda Meir said.

    Palestinians get more aid per capita then any people on earth yet they are always angry. All foreign aid should be cut off till they grow up. Tell these terrorist Pals stop firing missiles at civilians, and learn to be productive humans instead of moochers and terrorists.

    Hamas and Fatah are always ready to sacrifice women and children for their greed and hatred.

    ISRAEL which is defending itself against Pan-Arabism, Arab imperialism and Arabization of the Middle East – that is the “problem you don’t like.

    The real problem is global Arab/Moslem insistence to spread hate, violence, wars, terrorism, lies, false accusations against Jews and reducing Jews to subhumans or second class citizens – slaves or servants – without any human rights.

  • The Arabs continually initiate the violence. The Israelis have not fired the first shots.
    Do the Palestinians expect not to be fired back on? Its ok for them to blow up school kids on buses, shopping malls, disco’s, pizzeria’s and Passover seders.
    Someone please explain to me how the Israelis could possibly live next to such a violent people. I personally don’t see how it can be done at this point. All I see is the Palestinians provoking war and using any method they can to get all of Israel.

    It seems that after 5 decades of terror and murder against Israel.
    The Palestinians might have realized that this campaign of terrorism and rejectionism has failed.

    By the way, how many Muslims have been killed by Muslims this week in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Bahrain, Lebanon, Somalia, Yemen? How many have been killed by Jews? Numbers please.

    Palestinians should get one thing into their heads: the world does not revolve around them. They share the blame for their situation, because they always wanted everything and never wanted to compromise. First and foremost that NOBODY, and least Israel owes them anything.

  • There is a difference between terrorism and defense of innocents.
    Israel targets terrorists, Israeli civilian deaths are the Palestinians goal.
    Big difference

    Hamas and the PLO derive their legitimacy by killing Israeli secretaries and high schoolers.

    The Palestinians are obsessed with hate.
    They are a hateful people with lives ruled by prejudice, terrorism and murdering innocent civilians.
    The Pals never contribute nothing to society, other than whining that Israel doesn’t want to live under Sharia law.

    Any sane human would CONDEMN Palestinian leaders brainwashing their children to strap bombs on themselves to murder Jewish children.

    How do the Palestinians raise so many people who have no regard for human life? What kind of gutter do these animals come from? What kind of Evil could think it is an act of heroic and religious martyrdom to slaughter children waiting for buses, to blow apart people in their sleep, to kill women doing their marketing, to target the weak and defenseless at malls.

    Why do the Palestinians clamor like vultures to take credit when they butcher Israeli school kids on a school bus? Through the Palestinians hate, an entire generation has lost the capacity for humanity.

    Israel should be commended for its extreme restraint. Which other country would tolerate blood thirsty terrorists murdering its civilians.

    The racists are Palestinians who praise Israeli buses being blown up with old people on board. Pizza restaurant and Disco’s where Israeli teenagers hung out, blown up.
    Crude racism was an old man in a wheel chair is pushed off a ship alive, because he was a Jew.
    Does the name Leon Klinghoffer ring a bell? OH i forgot, dead Jews don’t bother Walt.
    More Evidence that Palestinians are Religious Nazis
    August 20, 2013
    Itamar Marcus

  • I keep thinking: How is it possible for Palestinians to sit and plan a such an evil crime of mass murder of innocent people they never met – especially on such a festive occasion? The simple fact is that there is only one entity that encourages such behavior and is currently involved in nearly all the murders, mayhem and misogyny around this planet – the cult of Islam. However, what is even more revolting are those like Walt Davis try to rationalize/justify such evil…
    East Jerusalem terror cell charged with planning attack on wedding hall

    Men planned to enter Bayit Vagan wedding hall in haredi dress, carry out shooting attack with mini Uzi guns. wedding hall
    Nof Wedding Hall that was target of terror plot

    The Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday filed an indictment with the Jerusalem District Court against an alleged terror cell of four east Jerusalem residents for planning to attack the “Nof” wedding hall in Bayit Vagan, Jerusalem.

    The cell included Anas Ouisat, Basel Abidat, Ahmed Sarur and Amru Abado of the Jabal Muchbar neighborhood all between the ages of 19-21, said the indictment.

    The indictment’s details were as follows: Ouisat and Abidat decided in December 2013, based on nationalistic motivations, that they would carry out an attack against Israeli civilians in Jerusalem and in coordination with terror groups.

    Ouisat suggested a shooting attack on the Nof hall both because there would be a large number of casualties, between 800-1500 attendees, and because he had previously worked there.

    They planned to enter the hall in haredi dress in which they would conceal mini Uzi guns and they got an estimate of NIS 50,000 from a weapons dealer.
    At some point, Sarur joined the group, including performing surveillance of the hall to plan the attack.

    However, he had a dispute with the original two, eventually dropped out and was eventually replaced by Abado.

    The head of the wedding hall, Gilad Pinchas, expressed his immense relief and gratitude in an interview with The Jerusalem Post.

    “Nof is a place of celebration,” said Pinchas, “the indictment is a gift from God. Nof has top security conditions, and we will continue to consider security a top priority at our hall for all our events and all our guests.”

    The prosecution has requested to remand all four to police custody until the end of the proceedings.

  • Walt Davis basically absolves the Palestinians from all guilt and blame for their violent murderous behavior.

    Davis knows Palestinians cannot be expected to behave like civilized people so he makes excuses for their terrorist atrocities.

  • Well the boycotting Arabists like Walt Davis can always buy Palestinian made home grown products like Katyusha rockets, suicide vests, slingshots with stone ammo and tires to burn. That about does it for their exportable inventory.

  • In 2003 Yasser Arafat’s Fatah faction shot and killed a Palestinian named George Khoury as he was jogging in Jerusalem’s French Hill neighborhood.

    Arafat, in a clear racist gesture, stated that this was a case of mistaken identity – because their victim turned out to be an Arab instead of a Jew.

  • WOW can you imagine the outcry if a foreign leader was delayed because a bodyguard was muslim??
    Waqf Blocked Harper ‘because of Jewish Bodyguards’
    The Muslim Waqf reportedly vetoed Canadian PM’s planned tour of the Temple Mount, because some of his guards are Jews.
    Gil Ronen

    Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper planned to tour the Temple Mount after visiting the Western Wall (Kotel) Tuesday, but the visit was torpedoed at the last minute by the Muslim Waqf, which said it would not allow Harper’s security detail onto the Mount, since some of the bodyguards are Jewish, leading Temple activist Yehuda Glick told Arutz Sheva in an exclusive interview. Bnei Brith Canada confirmed the story.

    There are also alternative versions of the events, however, and it cannot yet be said with complete certainty which is the correct one.

    Members of Harper’s entourage had made a preliminary tour of the Mount Sunday morning. The Waqf’s announcement that it would not allow the Jewish bodyguards in was made at the last moment, supposedly because the Waqf did not know earlier that some of the guards were Jewish.

    Harper would not enter the Mount without the bodyguards and the visit was cancelled, according to a press statement by B’nai Brith Canada.

    “It is a shame that the Prime Minister’s visit to the Kotel was marred after he learned that his security detail would not be allowed in to the Dome of the Rock because they are Jewish,” said Frank Dimant, CEO, B’nai Brith Canada. “B’nai Brith delegations have also faced moments of discrimination and harassment on previous missions. We have raised this issue with Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom. Equal access must be given to Jewish worshipers wishing to ascend the Temple Mount. This incident serves as a stark reminder of the religious discrimination going on at the hands of the Islamic Waqf responsible for administering the site.”

    Version 2
    However, the Huffington Post has a different version of what happened.

    “Planning and logistics required on a trip like this can be complicated and unfortunately we weren’t able to make it work in a manner that satisfied the security organizations involved,” Harper spokesman Jason MacDonald said of the decision to cancel the visit, according to the publication.

    “Specifically,” he is cited as saying, “Shin Bet (the Israel Security Agency) would not guarantee that they would not enter the mosque.”

    While the Huffington Post quote is ambiguous, MacDonald was apparently saying that the Shin Bet refused to promise that if disturbances occur, its men would refrain from entering the Al Aqsa Mosque. It is not clear whether the people demanding this commitment were the Waqf or the Canadians.

    Version 3
    Arutz Sheva spoke to sources in the Foreign Ministry who confirmed that the Waqf had cancelled Harper’s visit. However, their version was that the Waqf simply refused to allow Canadian security men into the Temple Mount.

    Glick, a prominent Temple activist and LIBA project coordinator, told Arutz Sheva Wednesday that he spoke to sources within Harper’s entourage who confirmed that the Waqf refused to allow Jewish bodyguards into the Mount.

    On Sunday, Glick accompanied a former Canadian minister on a tour of the Temple Mount. Stockwell Day, who served as Canada’s Minister of Public Safety between 2006 and 2008, visited the Temple Mount following a coincidental meeting with a resident of Jerusalem, Yosef Rabin, who regularly visits the Temple Mount compound.

    An accompanying video shows Arabs – apparently fom the Waqf – shouting and employing a threatening tone as Glick and the Canadian group conducted the preliminary tour on Sunday.

    Rabin said that his meeting with Day took place over Shabbat, when he visited friends for a Shabbat meal also attended by Day.

    During the meal, Rabin told Arutz Sheva, he told the former Canadian minister about the situation on the Temple Mount where police, in an attempt to appease the Muslim Waqf which was left in charge of the compound after the 1967 Six Day War, ban Jews from praying or performing any other form of worship. Police sometimes close the Mount to Jews altogether in response to Muslim riots – for days or weeks at a time – despite evidence that such violence is usually planned in advance for the specific purpose of forcing Jews out.

    “When I told Day about the situation on the Temple Mount, it pegged his interest and he asked me to arrange a visit for him,” said Rabin.

    “This trip has been an amazing experience with the visit to the Kotel being one of the most touching,” said Eric Bissell, national president, B’nai Brith Canada. “As Prime Minister Harper approached the Western Wall, I could not help but think about how the Jewish people struggled for thousands of years for the freedom to pray at our holiest site. As a child survivor on the run during the nightmare of the Holocaust, this moment is more than I could ever have imagined or hoped to have been part of. To witness such support is a true miracle.”

    If Jews attacked Muslims in Mecca, world media would cover nothing else for a month
    Ronn Torossian
    February 10, 2014

    Imagine that this week, Jews got angry and hundreds attacked Palestinian Arabs with rocks at the holiest Muslim site in the world. Imagine that this violence came after a handful of Muslims came to pray peacefully at the site, and even though hundreds of Jews attacked police officers, only seven were arrested. Can anyone imagine the endless news stories and media reports which would emanate as a result? The New York Times would have three front-page stories; there would be countless United Nations and European Union condemnations, and CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on site.
    Media coverage would be non-stop.

    But, in reality Arabs attacked Jews repeatedly over the last few days at the Temple Mount, the holiest site for Jews, so it is barely a news story. Palestinian Arab violence against Jews is a regular occurrence, and as the media seemingly expects the Arabs to throw rocks, they don’t afford it much media coverage.

    A few weeks ago, Stockwell Day, who served as Canada’s Minister of Public Safety between 2006 and 2008 visited the area and was refused admittance by Muslims. On the Temple Mount, Jewish religious artifacts and symbols are not permitted and visitors report being strip searched before being allowed admittance. Imagine if in the Vatican, people weren’t permitted to bring religious artifacts? World media would jump all over themselves to cover the story. But, since it is Jews being attacked, the world’s media is silent.

    The Temple Mount is Judaism’s holiest site and the location of the two Holy Temples of Jerusalem, the latter of which was destroyed by the Romans in 70CE. Despite the fact that this area is the holiest place on Earth for the Jews, Jewish visitation is restricted. Pretend there was an area in Washington, DC which had important political or religious significance to America – Could anyone envision a scenario where Americans were kept out? And police officers were attacked regularly at the site?

    Of course, if the Israeli police were to adopt the position of the American border patrol police which says they “consider rock-throwing to be deadly force which sometimes demands the same in response”, then the world headlines would criticize Israel for shooting at “unarmed” young protestors. Ignoring the fact that rocks kill people, the media would describe “tit for tat violence” if Israel responded. Talk about a no-win situation.

    Israel is simply always wrong and can do no right for the world’s media. This bias leads to Jews being killed and is despicable.

  • 1) Israel has equality under law regardless of race, religion or gender. Arabic and Hebrew are dual official languages.
    2) The PA has a law giving the death penalty for selling land to Jews
    3) The PA and Hamas both say no Jews are allowed to be in “their” nation
    4) Christians are fleeing Muslim persecution under both PA and Hamas rule
    5) Jordan says it’s illegal for Jews to be citizens
    6) Saudi Arabia says non-Muslims are barred from citizenship
    7) Every Muslim nation has at least partial Sharia law, implementing discrimination against non-Muslims.
    8) Copts in Egypt, Maronites and other Christians, animists, Berbers, Chaldeans and other non-Muslims, regularly document religious discrimination in their countries.
    9) The fifty-seven member nations of the Organization of the Islamic Conferences openly reject the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights because equality is against the core tenants of Islam.

  • PCUSA membership is 1.8 million according to a church website. The number has been corrected in the story.

  • Viola, Have you read the book — all of it? I call all who comment to first disclose whether they have actually read it or not, as I have already encountered comments from others that make it clear that they have not.

    So will you please, elder to elder, Christian to Christian, lead the way with that simple declaration one way or the other.

    Have you read it?

    For my own part, I have only read one or two quotes and have not yet read the entirety, and thus will reserve comment or judgment until I have read the book in its entirety.

    Yours in Christ’s own peace,
    Rev. Beth Pyles
    McDowell, Virginia

  • Sorry Nate – this got linked to the wrong thread somehow.

    IPMN is independent within the PC(USA) in the same way every other mission network is, in the same way groups within the church speaking for and against abortion rights, in the same way the Presby’s for Middle East Peace (who are polar opposites from IPMN on these issues) are — they get no money from the denomination. No part of any dollar your church sends to General Assembly goes to IPMN. They paid for the cost of publication. They are (all or virtually all) Presbyterians. And yes , there are linkages. But this is not an official policy statement of the PC(USA) anymore than their opposing organization’s statements condemning the book are. Saying it so does not make it so, my brother.

  • Nel, Have you read it – the book? It is the question I am asking each and every person who condemns it based on someone else’s report.

    Have you read it?

    If you haven’t, will you join with me in abstaining from making a judgment until you have?

    If you won’t, why not?

    In Christ’s peace,
    Rev. Beth Pyles
    McDowell Presbyterian Church

  • Ken, you speak of many issues beyond the immediate one raised by the article, about which I am not sufficiently informed to know.

    As to the IMMN book, my question remains the same for all as for you:

    Have you read it – the book? It is the question I am asking each and every person who condemns it based on someone else’s report.

    Do you not see the particular and vicious irony that the book has been condemned for being ‘anti-Semetic’ and wrongfully and heinously invoking the Holocaust and references to genocide, which articles then go on to invoke David Duke as the ‘supporter’ of the book, linking the PC(USA), by inference, with the KKK?

    So I repeat regarding the book: Have you read it?

    If you haven’t, will you join with me in abstaining from making a judgment until you have?

    If you won’t, why not?

    In Christ’s peace,
    Rev. Beth Pyles
    McDowell Presbyterian Church

  • Have you read it – the book? It is the question I am asking each and every person who condemns it based on someone else’s report.

    Have you read it?

    If you haven’t, will you join with me in abstaining from making a judgment until you have?

    If you won’t, why not?

    In Christ’s peace,
    Rev. Beth Pyles
    McDowell Presbyterian Church

  • Where is the Presbyterian church that: proceeds with objective deliberation and compassion, with both sides considered, filled with God’s Grace, feeding the poor and afflicted, healing the sick, providing shelter, abhorrent of violence. recognizing everyone’s right to freedom, recognition as one people in God’s sight whether we are red or yellow or black and white, and building bridges of tolerance and understanding? A statement by IPMN that has been released by PCUSA is so unbalanced that it should be denounced for what it is. Clearly an unbiased report is in order. I can only vote with my feet and my money. No support from this Life-long Presbyterian until this nonsense is rescinded in the strongest possible terms. I presume my freedom of expression will not be “”held for moderation”.

  • Beth Pyles, I have read the book. It is excellent and I recommend it to all. The PC(USA) can be proud that some of its members have tackled a complex and controversial issue and produced a thoughtful collection of diverse perspectives from Christians, Muslims, and Jews. For those of you who haven’t read the book itself, at least read some of the excellent reviews it has drawn since publication.

    Markoe’s article falls far short of doing the book justice, unfortunately, and her coverage sullies Religion News Service’s reputation as a source of unbiased journalism. Sure, a lot of people hold emotionally-charged opinions about Israel and Palestine, but it’s shameful that as a journalist Markoe was not able to check her own prejudices at the door and write a balanced piece.

    Markoe’s bias problem is not subjective, it is quantifiable.

    –The book’s Jewish critics get the headline, the first word, the last word, and most of the words in between.

    –If we set aside Linda Valentine as “neither negative or positive,” we are left with three negative views (Marans, Cooper and Leighton) and one positive view (Davis). In other words, 75% of those who are given room to express an opinion are negative. When tallied in terms of word count, Markoe’s balance problem is even more stark–Davis is granted a paltry 23% share of those quoted who express an opinion for or against the book.

    –RNS is not a lowbrow rag, yet Markoe debases a serious issue by reducing it to sensationalism: the name-calling, finger-pointing, and ultimatums that fly whenever there is criticism of Israeli policy. Markoe does nothing to examine the policies themselves and why they are controversial.

    –Not only does Markoe allow a 3:1 ratio of negative-to-positive opinions about the publication, but she eliminates Palestinian perspectives entirely, as though they are irrelevant.

    –Markoe is dead wrong in portraying the controversy as a Jews vs. Christians debate. What’s happening right now—and Markoe misses the chance to talk about it–is the formation of new partnerships based not on religion and ethnicity, but attitudes about democracy vs. ethnocracy. The ADL and the AJC do not speak for American Jews and, increasingly, American Jews are openly revolting against the old dinosaur organizations and challenging the policies of the Jewish state. And yet, remarkably, Markoe omits to record the opinion of the many American Jews who challenge Israeli policy and, for that matter, praise the publication.

    There too many distortions in Markoe’s presentation of the content of the book to itemize, but I will mention two here.

    –In the first sentence, Markoe characterizes Zionism Unsettled as “a publication…that rejects the existence of Israel as a Jewish state.” This is patently untrue. Israel exists, its existence as a nation-state is almost universally recognized, and its desire to self-identify as a Jewish state is well known. What is debatable is whether a Jewish state can be democratic for the non-Jews who live there. In the area now controlled by Israel, non-Jews outnumber Jews by a slim majority. It is not heresy to openly examine how the idea of a “Jewish state” can coexist with the notion of equality

    –Markoe describes Zionism as “the movement undergirding the founding of Israel as a Jewish homeland.” Zionism Unsettled does not dispute this characterization, but fleshes out Markoe’s one-sided description. Zionism succeeded in founding a Jewish homeland, and in the process 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes; those who stayed report chronic discrimination. Markoe gives them nary a nod of recognition.

    Zionism Unsettled lifts up the tragic history of Jewish persecution that led many Jews to embrace Zionism as a necessity for Jewish self-preservation. At the same time, the book relates the less-well-known and also traumatic history of Palestinian displacement and loss that has occurred as a consequence of the establishment of a Jewish state in their midst. An understanding of both people’s narratives is absolutely essential to understanding the contemporary struggle for rights and land.

    Markoe’s narrow view, it would seem, only one side of the Israeli-Palestinian story is worthy of being heard. And because Markoe is one of many who hold this view, Zionism Unsettled is timely and important.

  • Martha the 2 links you have are radical websites that do Pallywood lies. Mondoweiss and RabbiBrant.

    Mondowess had articles by .Max Blumenthal and Annie Robbins saying Thai workers massacred the Fogel family in Itamar 2 years ago.
    After Itamar: Exploring the cynical logic that makes everyone a target
    Max Blumenthal on March 15, 2011

    Even after it became known that a Palestinian committed the massacre, Blumenthal made excuses for this Arab terrorist.
    The man is a sicko who turns a blind eye to the Palestinians genocidal media against Israel.
    As Caroline Glick said, The fact that the Palestinians from Fatah and Hamas alike are Jew-hating racists should surprise no one who has been paying a modicum of attention to the Palestinian media and general culture. Since the PA was established in 1994 in the framework of the peace process between Israel and the PLO, it has used the media organs, schools and mosques it controls to spew out a constant flow of anti-Semitic propaganda. Much of the Jew-hating bile is indistinguishable from anti-Jewish propaganda published by the Nazis.

    Here is Annie Robbins saying that foreign workers murdered the Fogels in Itamar and not the Palestinians. Annie cant believe that Palestinians would massacre Israeli civilians.
    Itamar video says settlement had night-and-day perimeter surveillance
    Annie Robbins
    April 5, 2011

    On RabbiBrants site, anyone that rebukes his lies he prevents from posting on his site.

  • The 48 war was the was the result of the Palestinians together with their Arab allies to perform ethnic cleansing on the Jews and their failure to complete it.

    Every single Jew in the parts of the Mandate seized by the Arabs was expelled from their homes. No exceptions. They even dynamited the entire ancient Jewish quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem in an attempt to wipe out the history of Jewish residence there.

    They also made it illegal for a Jew to live in the areas of the former Mandate that they controlled, including East Jerusalem, West Bank, Gaza and Jordan.

    850,000 Jews were also forced from the Arab countries.
    After the 5 Arab armies attacked Israel in 48,

    Haj Amin Al Husseini stated:
    I declare a holy war, my muslim brothers! Murder the Jews! Murder them all!
    The Arab League Secretary, General Azzam Pasha declared “a holy war. He said, “This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades.

  • Rev. Beth, I am not speaking from the viewpoint of what is official or unofficial PC(USA) sanctioned or sponsored group(s). To those in the pew the very appearance of the name PC(USA) to this and other controversial matter causes a walk away. Look at the membership decline and still declining that we are experiencing. Has no one wondered why? Or is the fact covered in some statistical monologue as a natural occurrence? People have learned to eat the chicken and throw out the bones.My prayer is that we have a genuine renewal in the PC(USA). I am a lover of peace, purity and our part in the advancement of the Kingdom of God to all peoples of all nations. Yes, many have never read the document. Sadly, many that leave our PC(USA) never will. de bono et malo! dante Deo.

  • Haven’t any of the anti-Zionist people read the Bible? God said in His Holy Word that the Jews would be ejected from the Land of Israel and dispersed to all the nations of the world. That happened in 70 AD. The scriptures go on to say that after a long time God would bring His people Israel back to the land of Israel, happened in 1948 and that all of the nations surrounding the land of Israel would be hostile to Israel but that He, God, would protect His people Israel and that they would never be kicked out of Israel again. (The 6 day war was a major miracle! Tiny Israel was attacked by 3 major countries and Israel was beating them so badly (with God’s help) so that the Muslim Arab nations wanted a cease fire but peace treaties were slow to come because the Muslim would not confirm that Israel had a right to exist.
    Those people who are on the side of the Muslim Arabs are against the will and plan of God Himself. God decides where people live and what countries exist, not us silly humans.

  • Looks like someone at the Presbyterian church apparently leaked the book before it’s available to the public.

    Now everyone can read it. I especially loved page 47, where I found out that I, as a Jew have had my blessings suspended until Jesus comes at the end of History.

  • Beth I read the whole awful thing. I would not write about it if I had not. I tried to watch the DVD but could not finish even the first part about the history of the area and Zionism. I have a MA in History, one of my loves-I was so disgusted with the supposed history I turned it off.

  • Beth I read the whole awful thing. I would not write about it if I had not. I tried to watch the DVD but could not finish even the first part about the history of the area and Zionism. I have a MA in History, one of my loves-I was so disgusted with the supposed history I turned it off. (Sorry I put this in the wrong place.)

  • Dear Martha, I am not chopped liver, here is my review which is on google- Telling stories that hurt and destroy: A review of Zionism Unsettled I have written several others, so has the Presbyterians for Middle East Peace, here is their Press Release and here You are simply ignoring all of the articles written against Zionism Unsettled. There was so much to cover I wrote many articles including one many evangelical Christians would be interested in: The Israel/Palestine Mission Network & Zionism Unsettled denies the uniqueness of Jesus Christ

  • I just reread your comment and realized you were only writing about the articles the author of this posting used. Sorry, but I do hope you will read what I linked to. Anyway, it isn’t about how many are against or for-it is about the truth, and Zionism Unsettled is not dealing out truth.

  • Viola,
    As a past deacon and elder of the Presbyterian USA church I am certainly appalled at their view of Israel.
    I am looking for ways to respond both locally and nationally. Are there any actual contacts with whom we can start a dialogue?
    Otherwise it seems like we are just preaching to the choir and blogging into thin air.
    Your efforts are so far the most effective avenue but I feel the need to hear real human voices and see their faces.
    A forum blog is maybe the first step.

    Thanks so much for all your efforts!!