Groups interfaithing in Nashville under the Red-Green alliance include but are not limited to: the Muslim American Center for Outreach (ACO), the American Muslim Advisory Council (AMAC), the Family of Abraham (FOA), Clergy for Tolerance (CFT), Temple Ohabai Sholom, West End United Methodist Church, Vine Street Church, Christ Church Cathedral, Woodmont Christian Church, First Presbyterian Church, Glendale Baptist Church, University School, and Lipscomb University.
Organizers include Remziya Suleyman, Avi Poster, Irwin Venick, Daoud Abudiab, Bernard Werthan, Mary Shelton, Tom Negri, Rev. Heidi Hudnut-Beumler and Rabbi Laurie Rice, among others listed on their invitations.
Did Family of Abraham organizers Avi Poster, Irwin Venick and Rabbi Rice know about ISNA’s Jew hatred but invited ISNA’s representative anyway? What about ISNA’s support for Hamas and Sayyid Syeed’s complicity? Why is Jewish Federation Director Mark Freedman silent? Why does Rabbi Mark Schiftan want such a close relationship with Muslim Brotherhood and CAIR/Hamas supporters?
Could it be that they agree with Secretary of State Kerry that Israel does not have to be recognized as the Jewish homeland? Are they aligned with J Street and therefore have to work with the Islamists and pro-BDSers?
Did Rev. Michael Williams at UMC and event promoter Rev. Kleinert at Vine Street Christian Church bother to google their speaker and his associations? Have any of these people read the Quran? If not, they are politically naïve (Islam is a political ideology as well as a religion), and useful to Islam as dhimmis and apologists who are ignorant of the fact that Allah cautions Muslims to not take Jews and Christians as friends. Is this Quranic quote compatible with the goals of interfaith dialogue?
Hopefully ignorance is their answer to these questions. Otherwise, it seems that the Family of Abraham wanted to legitimatize what ISNA, its ally the Muslim Brotherhood and Syeed represent.
Respectful but Dishonest Dialogue in Nashville
The August 2013, Family of Abraham meeting at The First Presbyterian Church in Nashville featured Lipscomb University president Randy Lowry. He said that while “be[ing] honest about their differences” interfaithers should “focus on their interests – the things they really care about – rather than the issues that divide them.” Does he mean differences like wife-beating, polygamy, slavery, jihad against non-Muslims, death for apostasy, theocratic government, much less the story that God saved Ishmael, not Isaac from Abraham’s sacrifice? Does Lowry mean those differences?
Every person who identifies themselves as a liberal progressive and who suggests that Israel is both the problem and the answer to the problem, ignores the fact that Israel is the sole country in the Middle East with any measure of and commitment to religious diversity and democratic rule. Why it then hasn’t a group like FOA that claims to promote respect for religious diversity and social justice, taken a stand against BDS?
The reality is that Family of Abraham events feature Muslim speakers and others who counsel attendees about how everyone should want to get closer to Muslims in their communities because they are only different branches of the same family tree. The subtext of the meetings is Muslim victimhood and, by analogy, the same for their Middle Eastern brethren, the Arab Muslim Palestinians.
Progressive interfaithers claim those like ISNA’s Sayyid Sayeed represent “moderate” Muslims even though Sayeed and his organization do not condemn Hamas attacks on innocent civilians. Interfaithers also claim that Hamas/CAIR is a civil rights group even though its Executive Director Nihad Awad publicly declares his support for Hamas, and CAIR’s state leaders, Dawud Walid and Zahra Billoo, regularly demonize Jews and Israel and advocate for BDS.
Liberal Christian sects like the United Methodist and Presbyterian USA churches that champion BDS while ignoring the persecution of Christians by Muslims, one of the greatest human rights tragedies in the world today, should be working to keep their own houses in order instead of trying to weaken and harm Israel. All these individuals and organizations, whether Muslims, Christians, or Jews, should be publicly and loudly rejected by real peace-seekers and those that respect religious pluralism.
For the liberal Left and Progressives,the BDS campaign is the modern day replacement for the failed Marxist revolution. BDS has made it easy and socially acceptable to hate Jews but not be labeled a Jew hater. All you have to do is parrot the BDS slogans, demonize Israel and pretend to care about social justice for “Palestinians.”
Since there are no facts or truth to back BDS claims, it should be understood for what it really is – plain and simple Jew hatred..
While the Red-Green Alliance is interfaithing, they are also harboring and legitimatizing individuals and organizations, that are involved with anti-Israel advocacy. The progressive tent, it seems, is considered big enough for everyone even if they are Jew-haters. Progressive interfaithing can ignore these differences because “honest dialogue” only focuses on commonalities while ignoring vast differences of ideology unknown to the ignorant participants.
Nashville Family of Abraham
Nashville’s 2011 Family of Abraham (FOA) inaugural event was hosted by Nashville’s far left and expensive private school University School of Nashville. Mayor Karl Dean welcomed attendees, followed by Rev. Sonnye Dixon, Fr. Joe Breen, Islamic Center of Murfreesboro Imam Bahloul and Mark Pelavin from the Jewish Reform Action Center.
Pelavin’s organization established its relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood as early as 2007 when the President of the Union of Reform Judaism, spoke at ISNA’s annual conference which also included BDS supporters Safaa Zarzour and Sayyid Syeed among others.
The next FOA followed quickly at a gathering hosted by West End United Methodist Church (UMC). As discussed in Part 2, the UMC maintains a very close relationship with ISNA (Islamic Society of North America), the largest Muslim Brotherhood organization in the U.S.
The UMC speaker was Sayyid Sayeed, founding board member and former Secretary General of ISNA, who now serves as its interfaith liaison. UMC shares ISNA’s support for BDS against Israel. Shortly after approving an anti-Israel divestment resolution, “Steadfast Support of Christians in the Holy Land”, the Northern Illinois Conference of Methodism received ISNA’s Interfaith Unity Award.
Why didn’t the Northern Conference resolution address instead the recent Pew Study findings of Christian oppression in the Muslim majority countries of Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Pakistan, Iran and Yemen?
ISNA’s Jew Hatred and Anti-Israel BDS
A look at ISNA’s website, leadership, annual convention speakers and partners shows why ISNA supports the BDS goal of destroying Israel as the Jewish homeland.
ISNA was founded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood’s first U.S. organization, the Muslim Students Association (MSA). Many of ISNA’s leaders were active in their respective college MSAs and other Muslim Brotherhood allied organizations listed in the 1991 Muslim Brotherhood Strategic Plan for North America (1991 MB memo).
In 2004, when Sayeed was the Secretary General of ISNA, he stated in repeated interviews that ISNA received no funding from Saudi Arabia. He denied this even after 2003 expert testimony during a U.S. Senate Judiciary subcommittee documented that Saudi Arabia was ISNA’s largest source of funding.
Saudi funding also enabled the establishment of ISNA’s subsidiary NAIT (North American Islamic Trust), which “is reported to own between 50 and 79 percent of the mosques on the North American continent. NAIT mosques rank among the most radical in the United States.” Islamic convert Stephen Schwartz, describes ISNA as “one of the chief conduits through which the radical Saudi form of Islam passes into the United States.”
ISNA, NAIT and Tennessee Mosques
In Memphis, Tennessee, the deeds forMasjid As-Salam mosque, home of the Muslim Society of Memphis, and the Al-Noor Mosque, which also houses the MSA in Memphis, show NAIT as the owner. Deeds to at least 10 other properties including some adjacent to the Muslim Society of Memphis also identify NAIT as the owner.
ISNA shares a street address with the MSA of Memphis and the Islamic Association of Greater Memphis. ISNA is also listed as the owner of the Islamic Center of Nashville (ICN), a mosque that openly promoted the Holy Land Foundation as far back as 1998.
In February 2010, the Islamic Center of Nashville ICN) and the Salahadeen Center, the Kurdish mosque, partnered with ISNA for a two day conference titled “Awakening the Leader Within.” Members of the Salahadeen Center include former Muslim American Society (also Muslim Brotherhood), leader Fadi Ezier, CAIR promoter Remziya Suleyman and BDS advocate Drost Kokoye.
Examples of ISNA Leadership, Conventions, Website and Partner Organizations
ISNA supports Hamas, the armed branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is dedicated to the destruction of Israel. Hamas is a U.S. designated terrorist organization. The Hamas charter, calling out the “Zionist invasion” states:
“For our struggle against the Jews is extremely wide-ranging and grave, so much so that it will need all the loyal efforts we can wield, to be followed by further steps and reinforced by successive battalions from the multifarious Arab and Islamic world, until the enemies are defeated and Allah’s victory prevails.”….
“The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!”
ISNA, NAIT and CAIR were named as unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) terrorism financing prosecution because of their involvement in raising money for Hamas. In 2009 their unindicted co-conspirator status was reaffirmed and the judge held that “the government has produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR, ISNA, NAIT with the Holy Land Foundation, the Islamic Association for Palestine, and with Hamas.”
Muzammil Siddiqi – served as the president of ISNA (1997-2000),and is now a Board member of ISNA and its subsidiary NAIT. Siddiqi is a pro-jihad, pro-Sharia, anti-American, hard core Islamist. He served as an officer at the Muslim World League (MWL), founded by members of the Saudi government to globalize fundamentalist Islamic sharia law.
Siddiqi advocated for the establishment of an Islamic state, told Muslims living in the U.S. that Islamic sharia law was superior to U.S. laws, and praised Islamic suicide bombers as “those who die on the part of justice” and thus reside “with the Lord.” He believes in “the victory of Islam in Palestine” by means of jihad, which he describes as “the path” and “the way [for Muslims] to receive the honor.”
Since 1981 he has served as director of the Islamic Society of Orange County and now serves as the Chairman of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California. The Shura Council includes a heavy dose of Muslim Brotherhood presence. The November 20, 2012 newsletter praised student BDS initiatives:
“Shura Council applauds the Associated Students of UCI [University of California, Irvine], for unanimously passing a resolution calling for UCI to divest from companies who benefit from occupied Palestine. Click here to learn more about UCI divestment and learn what is B D S here.”
Jamal Badawi - The Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing prosecution named Badawi individually as an unindicted co-conspirator. He was a founding member of the Muslim American Society, established as the representative organization of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. The 2004 Chicago Tribune reportconfirmed the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood over U.S. mosques.
Badawi’s recorded statements characterize Gaza terrorists as martyrs and suicide bombers as freedom fighters, and defending violent jihad in cases of “self-defense against unprovoked aggression . . . “
More recently, Badawi spoke at the 2012 AMP (American Muslims for Palestine) conference. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), describes AMP as “anti-Semitism under the guise of educating Americans about the just cause of Palestine and the rights of self-determination.”
AMP is a national extremist anti-Israel organization that helps train and support the college hate group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). SJP’s 2002 national convention was sponsored by the Islamic Association for Palestine (started by a Hamas leader), with guest speaker Sami al-Arian who was convicted for his activities with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a U.S. designated terrorist organization.
Joining Badawi were BDS advocates like Friends of Sabeel North American, Donald Wagner (see Part 2) , virulent anti-Semitic Jew haters like Hatem Bazian and openly vocal Hamas supporters like CAIR director Nihad Awad.
ISNA Conventions: Representatives and Speakers
ISNA’s conventions have included representatives from:
- Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC and now renamed to Organization of Islamic Cooperation) The OIC which works cooperatively with the Muslim Brotherhood, represents the 56 Muslim majority countries and is also the largest voting bloc in the United Nations. For years, the OIC pushed the UN to criminalize any criticism of Islam which was accomplished in 2012 with the passage of Resolution 16/18.
- Muslim World League (MWL)- founded in 1962 by members of the Saudi government for the purpose of globalizing fundamentalist Islamic sharia law (Wahhabism). “The MWL has a long history of ties to, and financial support for, Islamic extremists, terrorist operatives, and terrorist organizations including Hamas…and al Qaeda.” MWL has a history of virulent anti-Israel rhetoric and is a member of the OIC.
- WAMY – World Assembly of Muslim Youth – based in Saudi Arabia, it is the world’s largest Muslim youth organization. The U.S. branch, established by Osama bin Laden’s nephew, was raided by the FBI and shut down because of suspected links to terrorism funding. The U.S. WAMY has also provided funding to CAIR.
ISNA’s convention speakers have included:
Anwar al Awlaki – al-Qaeda cleric killed in Obama authorized 2011 drone attack.
Ali Abunimah -co-founder and executive director of Electronic Infitada, a major online media outlet promoting the Palestinian agenda along with BDS against Israel. He is also a founding member of Al Awda, the Palestinian Right of Return Coalition that opposes Israel’s right to exist.
Maha ElGenaidi - founder of Islamic Networks Group (ING) which trains and certifies speakers to present canned scripts about Islamic-related topics; helps to establish “affiliates” in different cities including Tennessee’s based AMAC. Acknowledged partnerships with Muslim Brotherhood’s ISNA, CAIR, ICNA, and MAS.
Paul Findley – author of “Liberating America From Israel” (“Nine-eleven would not have occurred if the U.S. government had refused to help Israel humiliate and destroy Palestinian society”)
Imam Warith Deen – former head of New York prisons’ Muslim chaplain program who described Jewish conspiracies to control the world.
ISNA Website Posts Quaranic Verses About Jews
Here is a now deleted (but screen shot saved) Quaranic passages posted on ISNA’s website:
“O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors; They are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily Allah guideth not a people unjust.”
“Progressives” – aka the Socialists, Alinskyites and Marxists Who Hide Behind Religion
What do self-labeled socially progressive Christians, Jews and even some Muslims, have in common? They either openly support the BDS campaign, or like Jewish Voice for Peace, give it their “Jewish” stamp of approval.
The Israel bashers and Jew-haters in their midst, including the Islamists and Arabs, have shrewdly embedded their objectives in the leftist jargon of social justice and human and minority rights. This is the Red-Green alliance that explains why the language of BDS’ers describes Israel as an “apartheid state” and why Sabeel is grounded in Palestinian liberation theology, a socialist, dhimmi Christian ideology.
Liberals who view themselves as socially progressive believe man can perfect the world. Jewish liberals pervert the repair rhetoric of tikkun olam from a God-driven end to a man-made mission. The Islamist partners in the Red-Green Alliance steadfastly challenge man’s right to legislate over Allah and make laws of their own while the Christian leftists delight in practicing social justice with the Palestinians who support terrorism and rule over their own apartheid state.
As Jonah Goldberg writes in Liberal Fascism:
“In Italy they were called Fascists. In Germany they were called National Socialists. [later renamed Nazis] In America we call them progressives…. Religion was a political tool, while politics was their true religion….”
But what Islamist Jew-haters and academics like Hisham Sharabi, founder of the Jerusalem Fund and supporter of “radical Palestinian terror groups” understood, is how gullible American progressives are. He predicted that the intifada followed by a BDS campaign would be supported by “progressive Jewish forces in Israel and the United States….[any group] enlisted in the ‘progressive’ cause of the Palestinian Arabs – why not, anyone ‘progressive’ enough to embrace Hamas…is someone useful to Israel’s enemies.”
“Any group enlisted in the cause of the Palestinian Arabs” would certainly include the groups highlighted in Part 2. It would likewise include the Tennessee groups listed as part of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation which include the Progressive Student Alliance at UT-Knoxville, the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center in Memphis and the Network for Environmental & Economic Responsibility of UCC in Pleasant Hill.
Tennessee groups in the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
As discussed in Part 2, the U.S. Campaign is an umbrella group. The Progressive Student Alliance at UT-Knoxville supports BDS. To this end they partnered with UT-Knoxville’s new anti-Israel hate group Students for Justice in Palestine.
The Mid-South Peace and Justice Center(MSPJC), is itself a coalition of member organizations. One of its members is the Worker’s Interfaith Network (WIN), also located in Memphis. Methodist Rev. Rebekah Gienapp, founded WIN and served as its first Executive Director. She is a co-author on a study guide about Islam. She has also served as the Communications Chair of Interfaith Worker Justice located in Chicago.
WIN is a great example of the Red-Green Alliance. Some of WIN’s high profile members include:
Former AMAC (TN American Muslim Advisory Council) Board member Abdulkadir Gure lists an affiliation with many organizations including WIN, the far left anti-American TIRRC (TN Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition), ACO (American Center for Outreach) and the Muslim Student Association (MSA).
Kyle Kordsmeier, Organizing Director for WIN and MSPJC Board member traveled to Gaza in 2006 to “help defend the rights of Palestinians” in an area where just two days prior, Lebanese guerrillas killed three IDF soldiers and attacked two others. Kordsmeier was arrested by Israeli police after he tried to take a Palestinian prisoner away from the police. He claimed unprovoked brutality by the police.
WIN Board members include Renee Dillard, associate minister, St. John’s UMC and Neal Gammill, Socialist Party, USA National Committee and Pres. Memphis Socialist Party.
Network for Environmental & Economic Responsibility of UCC (United Church of Christ) also pushing BDS, signed a petitionprotesting the U.S. boycott of the 2009 Durban II conference. Countries like the U.S., were concerned that like Durban I, the 2009 conference was going to be used to promote anti-Semitism and a push for sharia-styled anti-blasphemy laws. Canadian Prime Minister Harper boycottedthe conference because he believed it would be used to “scapegoat the Jewish people.”
Withdrawing from the 2001 Durban I conference, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell stated:
“I know that you do not combat racism by conferences that produce declarations containing hateful language, some of which is a throwback to the days of ‘Zionism equals racism;’ or supports the idea that we have made too much of the Holocaust; or suggests that apartheid exists in Israel; or that singles out only one country in the world–Israel–for censure and abuse.”
Amazingly 13 years later, anti-Semitism, or more precisely, Jew-hatred, has re-energized the BDS campaign and has spawned such heinous documents as the PresbyterianUSA’s Zionism Unsettled. Equally contemptible are initiatives likethe “Christ at the Checkpoint” conferences whose speakers have included Holocaust deniers, and whose organizers want U.S. evangelicals to understand the Bible from a Palestinian Christian perspective, ie, the same narrative used by Sabeel (see part 2). Claiming to be evangelical Baptists, they are working the U.S. churches with the message that Zionism, not Hamas persecutes Christians. The “BDS in the Pews” report shows that there is a very short road from full-blown BDS and its end-game agenda.
Even direct statements by BDS leaders like Omar Barghouti and Ali Abunimah that the goal of BDS is to eliminate Israel as a Jewish state does not seem to make BDS’ers stop and reevaluate their commitment to this movement. Nor has it stopped the liberal progressive media from promoting the Jew hater agenda by “fram[ing] the plight of Arab Christians in the West Bank as a problem caused by Israel.”
The BDS Progressives faithfully adhere to Alinsky’s “rules for radicals,” Marxist revolution, and the socialists’ dreams of man-made perfection on earth. But first, they must destroy any and all obstacles that stand in the way of achieving their utopia. In the case of Israel, the interfaithers use the Kairos Palestine Document’s liberation theology as a guide.
The intense and sustained hatred for Israel and the Jews is fueled by the fact, that despite Israel being the sole democracy in the Middle East, it has moved away from its communal-by-necessity beginnings. What began as a socialist’s vindication has matured into a strong capitalist-based economy.
So they hate a country and its people, who despite being attacked without provocation by Hamas, provided medical care this year to the granddaughter of Hamas leader Hamal Haniyeh.
This act was true goodness and mercy.
Interfaith Groups and BDS
How many Family of Abraham (FOA) members that meet in Nashville realize that there is a dark side of interfaithing that is an organized attempt to demonize and delegitimize the State of Israel?
US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (US Campaign)
Listed among the Anti-Defamation League’s Top 10 Anti-Israel Groups in America, the U.S. Campaign serves as an umbrella for the religiously identified pro-BDS organizations like The Interfaith Boycott Coalition which has been described as the “faith-based wing of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.”
The Interfaith Boycott Coalition “includes the Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Jewish Voice for Peace, American Muslims for Palestine, American Friends Service Committee, Episcopal Peace Fellowship’s Palestine Israel Network, Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East, Friends of Sabeel North America, United Church of Christ, Church of the Brethren, United Methodist Kairos Response and members of the Catholic, Lutheran, Mennonite and Quaker traditions.”
American Muslims for Palestine (AMP)
AMP is a national extremist anti-Israel organization that helps train and support the college hate group, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). The Anti-Defamation League describes AMP as “anti-Semitism under the guise of educating Americans about the just cause of Palestine and the rights of self-determination.”
AMP’s first conference in 2006 featured several former Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) leaders. IAP was created by a Hamas leader to be its U.S. propaganda arm and also raise money for Hamas. IAP was listed in the Muslim Brotherhood’s 1991 strategic plan for North America. In 2009 a federal judge ruled that “ample evidence” existed to tie IAP to Hamas. IAP’s leadership founded CAIR – the Council on American Islamic Relations. So it should be no great surprise that SJP’s 2002 national convention was sponsored by IAP.
ISNA, (Islamic Society of North America), also claimed by the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1991 plan, is a vocal promoter of BDS against Israel. Safaa Zarzour, secretary general of ISNA spoke at AMP’s 2011 and 2012 conference, along with individually named unindicted co-conspirator and Muslim Brotherhood leader, Jamal Badawi and here.
Zarzour’s talk about uniting Muslim organizations behind the BDS campaign was described as one of the most “inspiring” talks of the conference.
Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP)
The ultra liberal, progressive JVP is also listed in the Top 10 Anti-Israel Groups in America. JVP aggressively promotes BDS and is the largest Jewish anti-Zionist group in the United States. Sadly, there is no bar to Jews being self-hating anti-Semites.
JVP “uses its Jewish identity to shield the anti-Israel movement from allegations of anti-Semitism and provide it with a greater degree of legitimacy and credibility. JVP goes to great lengths to show that not all Jews side with Israel.” It is not uncommon for JVP campus groups to support SJP Israel Apartheid Week, also referred to as “Israel Hate Week.”
As a member of Islamophobia coalitions, JVP has joined with CAIR/Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood Muslim American Society among others, to protest alleged anti-political shariah speakers.
Friends of Sabeel – North America (FOSNA)
Also on the ADL’s Top 10 Anti-Israel Groups in America, FOSNA is the U.S.-based affiliate of Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center (Sabeel). Sabeel is a Palestinian Christian organization based in Jerusalem which helps promote anti-Israel advocacy in U.S. churches.
Sabeel was founded in 1990 by Rev. Naim Ateek, a Palestinian Christian. Rev. Don Wagner runs FOSNA and according to his posted bio, “works internationally to educate Christians about the problems of Christian Zionism.” FOSNA’s mission statement is dedicated to supporting Sabeel and advocates BDS and right of return for Palestinians which they well understand would make Jews a minority in Israel and lead to the BDS goal of turning Israel into a single Palestinian state, i.e, the demise of Israel.
During a 2012 California Palestinian convention which included Wagner and Ateek as speakers, Ateek called for a non-violent third intifada, but his final comment made his hatred for Israel and Jews clear: “We say no. We adamantly reject the two-state solution at any price.” Same as the pro-BDS “from the river to the sea” chant because Sabeel and Ateek seek the BDS goal of eliminating Israel as a Jewish state. (see Omar Barghouti in Part 1).
Ateek helped formulate “Palestinian liberation theology” and even describes Hamas as “an Islamic liberation theology movement.” Mark Tooley, President of the Institute on Religion and Democracy describes liberation theology as the “theological justification for Western church groups that backed Marxist revolution 20 and 30 years ago,” but which is now used as a “tool against Israel.” In other words, Palestinian victims must be liberated from the Israeli oppressor under which they are forced to exist.
Sabeel does not waste its time on the persecution of Christians living in Muslim majority countries, Muslim radicalism, or the terrorism, suicide-bombings and rocket attacks perpetrated by Hamas against Jewish civilians. But with the support of U.S. churches, Sabeel sponsors conferences in the U.S. and study missions to Israel to push its anti-Zionist and often, anti-U.S. agenda.
As far back as 2005, Sabeel U.S. conferences were endorsed by the World Council of Churches, the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries, and the United Church of Christ USA, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Common Global Ministries, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the United Methodist Church, the United Church of Christ (UCC), as well as the far-left Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA) caucus.
Sadly, Jewish Voice for Peace in pursuing the Jewish liberalist’s quest to “rethink our relationship with the Holy Land” openly supports Sabeel and presumably agrees with Sabeel’s rejection of a two state solution even if that would mean peace.
The Presbyterian’s Israel Palestine Mission Network and the United Methodist Church both discussed below, are also supporters of Sabeel’s work because they share the same objectives in their own anti-Israel work.
The Kairos Document
In 2009, a group of Christians and Jews from South Africa, the United States, Europe, and Asia met in Bethlehem and claiming to represent the voice of Palestinian Christians, affirmed the Kairos Palestine Document (KPD). The KPD calls on Christians throughout the world to target Israel with boycotts, divestments, and economic sanctions. It embodies the Palestinian liberation theology in the form of a bigoted and biased Israel blame-game. It provides a wholesale pass to Palestinian “resistance” in whatever form including “Palestinian attacks targeting Israeli civilians [which] are not terrorism motivated by a desire to destroy Israel, but ‘legal resistance’ motivated by a desire to liberate themselves from oppression.”
A recent commentary described the KPD as “a radical Christian initiative in support of BDS, to recycle pre-modern Church anti-Semitism by decrying Israel’s existence as a ‘sin against God and humanity.’” (Ben Cohen, “The Anti-Zionist College Ploy” Feb. 2014)
United Methodist Kairos Response (UMKR)
Predictably, the United Methodist Church responded favorably to the Kairos Palestine Document. For some time, the Methodist Church has been entangled with Israel hating Islamists not only through Mercy-USA, but also through the cozy “God Box” otherwise known as the United Methodist Building in Washington, D.C. Gathered together in one single building are denominational offices aligned against Israel all promoting BDS.
UMKR works hard to push the BDS agenda. While the General Conference of the UMC has not yet divested from the targeted Caterpillar, Motorola and Hewlitt-Packard companies for engaging in business with Israel, their 2012 General Conference did vote to recommend boycotts and sanctions. UMC is a vocal and active participant in boycott initiatives, including the recent one against Soda Stream.
The UMC Global Missions agency helps finance the U.S. Campaign pro-BDS activity discussed above. The UMC’s Women’s Division published a children’s book “intended to instill anti-Israel themes among Methodist youngsters” by portraying Israel as an aggressor and of course, not mentioning anything about Palestinian terrorism.
Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA) (the “Network”)
In 2012, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) was only 2 votes short of divesting from Israel. The vote was 331 for it, 333 against it and 2 abstentions. Muslim Brotherhood ISNA Interfaith liaison, Sayyid Syeed, praised the divestment supporters. He “thanked Presbyterians for their ‘alliance’ with Muslims against intolerance and for their helpful attention to Middle East justice.” (This is the same Syeed who was recorded in 2006 saying, ‘[O]ur job is to change the constitution of America.’”)
Considering the Church’s close ties and collaboration with known Muslim Brotherhood organizations and leadership (some of whom have made repeated visits to Nashville), and its support for Sabeel here and here, suggests that the Church shares the Islamic enmity towards Jews and Israel.
This June the Presbyterian General Assembly will be asked again to support divestment from Israel. This year’s vote will be cast in the context of the Presbyterian Church’s January release of a study guide regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict, titled “Zionism Unsettled.” Rabbis from the Simon Weisenthal Center characterized the study guide as “sending Jews to the trash-heap of history”… it “rejects the existence of Israel as a Jewish state.
On the other hand, the KKK’s former Grand Wizard David Duke and Iran’s Press TV, praised the document.
Efforts by the Church to distance itself from the publication and the Network have proven illusory since the Network uses the Church’s website to raise money, “[a]nd the PC(USA)’s online store is apparently the sole place on the Internet where people can get a copy of [the offending study guide] Zionism Unsettled.”
The American-Israel Friendship League recently took Presbyterian leadership to visit the Soda Stream factory located in the West Bank, to see the truth as opposed to the BDS propaganda. After the visit, the church delegation said they planned to tell church administrators and followers that they should be supporting, not attacking Israel.
What conclusions would be drawn then if church leadership maintains its position on BDS at the June 2014 General Assembly? Would that be evidence that the real motivation of the BDS campaign is just what Israel’s defenders say it is?
BDS: A campaign to destroy Israel any way possible.
What is BDS? (boycott, divestment & sanctions)
BDS is an anti-Israel, anti-Zionism and by extension, anti-Jew bigoted propaganda campaign. BDS’ers advocate:
- boycotting Israeli products, academics and culture
- pressuring companies to stop doing business with and divest economically from Israel, and,
- sanctioning Israel for employing self-defense measures from attacks like the Hamas rocket and missile attacks, and terrorists that blow themselves up in crowded public gathering places
BDS is pro-Hamas and fueled by anti-Semitic rhetoric. The intended result is to eliminate the democratic state of the Jewish people. For this reason, rallying BDS’ers use chants like “Palestine will be free, from the river to the sea” which means there would be no Israel or Jews between the Jordan River and Mediterranean. More chants are here.
BDS’ers call Israel an apartheid state, when in fact, many different races and faiths live and worship there. They work to demonize and delegitimize the State of Israel and spread misinformation and lies. (See StandWithUs pamphlets for accurate information about Israel.)
BDS is a targeted political movement designed to advance an extremist political agenda. It embeds its objectives in language about social justice and human rights in order to deceive people who have a conscience.
BDSers do not support a two-state solution.
BDS attacks Zionism, the movement that helped to establish the State of Israel. Martin Luther King Jr., often cited by progressives as a symbol for social justice, understood that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. As he said, “When people criticize Zionist, they mean Jews. You are talking anti-Semitism.”
Law school professor William Jacobson explains, “BDS should being seen for the anti-Semitic movement it is, a movement that demonizes only the Jewish State, holds only the Jewish State to the highest standards no one else meets (certainly not in the Middle East), and seeks the destruction only of the sole Jewish State in a sea of Islamic States.”
Natan Sharansky, a well-known former Soviet Jew and human rights activist, spent 9 years in a Siberian gulag. Upon his release, he immediately became an Israeli citizen, and eventually served in the Israeli Knesset. One of his duties was to monitor anti-Semitism.
He found the newer version of the classical anti-semitism was directed at Zionism and the State of Israel. BDSers self-righteously allege victimization of the Palestinians by Israel but Sharansky exposed what really drives the BDS campaign in his “three D’s” test for anti-Semitism:
- double standards – singling out Israel for criticism while ignoring the more egregious behavior of major human rights abusers in countries like Saudi Arabia, Syria, Sudan, Nigeria, North Korea, China, etc
- demonization of Israel – distorting the Jewish State’s actions using false comparisons to Nazis or South Africa’s apartheid regime
- delegitimization – denying only Israel’s fundamental right to exist among all other peoples in the world
Omar Barghouti, a prominent promoter of BDS who works to incite Israel and Jew hatred by groups like Students for Justice in Palestine and American Muslims for Palestine, and who ironically, attends Tel Aviv University in Israel, openly admits that BDS is the public relations path to eliminating Israel as a Jewish state.
“I clearly do not buy into the two state solution,”… This is something we cannot compromise on,… If the [Palestinian] refugees were to return, you would not have a two state solution, you’d have a Palestine next to a Palestine.”
BDS in Tennessee
Some BDS’ers are upfront about their Israel and Jew hatred, while others enable and legitimatize the BDS campaign by making BDS advocates their closest allies. It is a convenient “good cop bad cop” tactic supported by Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, that the “end justifies the means.”
In Tennessee, for example, Islamist Drost Kokoye is a vocal BDS promoter, while her teammate Remziya Suleyman endorses the BDS message by aligning herself with vocal BDS promoters but remaining silent on the issue. Still others, like Hannah Cornfield, with the Jewish Voice for Peace and a member of the Nashville Jewish community, legitimatize the campaign by advocating for BDS. Samar Ali’s father, Subhi Ali chairs the Jerusalem Fund in D.C. whose founder supported radical Palestinian terrorists, and whose director now openly advocates for BDS.
Besides these individuals, the same Family of Abraham (FOA) members that meet in Nashville to assure each other that they alone occupy the moral high ground, is mostly the same group of Abrahamic interfaithers that have organized to demonize and delegitimize the State of Israel.
The Israel and Jew-haters in their midst including the Islamists and Arabs, have shrewdly embedded their objectives in the leftist jargon of “human rights,” “minority rights” and “social justice.” This strategy is better known as the “red-green alliance”. It explains why the language of BDSers describes Israel as an “apartheid state” and why they espouse Palestinian liberation theology.
There are four more parts to this series. Part 2 provides more detail about the BDS anti-Israel, Jew-hating “interfaith coalition.” Part 3 exposes the Tennessee “U.S. Campaign” BDS organizations. Part 4 provides details about the Nashville Family of Abraham and their Muslim Brotherhood speaker. Part 5 details more Family of Abraham events and other interfaith initiatives and explains their anti-Israel underpinnings.
The Religious Communicators Council (RCC) will hold their annual convention in Nashville on April 3 – 5. According to their speakers schedule, they won’t be talking about:
- the recent Pew Study findings of Christian oppression in the Muslim majority countries of Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Pakistan, Iran and Yemen
- the BDS campaign against Israel being waged by U.S. based Hamas supporters, college campus Students for Justice in Palestine and Muslim Students Associations groups
Introductory speaker Remziya Suleyman will likely tell her same old embellished story of how she organized all the Muslims in Tennessee to beat back alleged anti-sharia legislation. She likes to portray herself as having “defeated the bill” when in fact the key provisions are now in state law. Bet she won’t bother to tell her audience that it was actually an anti-terrorism/material support bill based on the jihad murder perpetrated by Muslim convert Carlos Bledsoe. Bet she also won’t bother to explain to her audience that she is the one who equated anti-terrorism and material support with sharia!
For sure she won’t disclose to her audience that before she started her pro-sharia campaign, she admitted that “she never knew the concept of sharia…” In fact, she continues to remind us how little she knows about her own doctrine as she continues to promote the idea that anything violent or negative associated with Muslims and Islam is simply “culture” because it is not taught in the Quran. So how about those verses in the Quran that make wife beating sacred?
Daoud Abudiab is also a scheduled speaker. He is a Palestinian now living in Spring Hill, Tennessee who serves as the President of the Columbia Islamic Center. He will use the left’s double standard to tell the story about how an Islamophobe burned down his mosque like what every other Islamophobe out there would try to do. He’ll paint anyone who questions whether the U.S. should follow the U.K.‘s example of allowing a parallel sharia system to thrive as an Islamophobe. But when a Muslim like Bin Laden or Nidhal Hassan commits murder he characterizes it as a hijacking of the religion.
The RCC will get their victimhood mileage out of both of these speakers because they wear many hats. Both are involved with the progressive leftist organization Religions for Peace USA. Suleyman is the director of the Muslim American Center for Outreach and a CAIR/Muslim Brotherhood promoter. She also keeps her hand in refugee issues that augments her “American Muslim yearning for her Kurdish homeland.”
Abudiab is involved with the Tennessee American Muslim Advisory Council, the far left anti-American TN Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition and the open borders group Clergy for Tolerance. It would be interesting to hear Abudiab’s response to the pro-Palestinian student group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) newly established at UT-Knoxville, whose sister chapter was recently suspended at Northeastern University and cited for aggressive intimidation of Jewish students at University of Michigan.
The heavy representation in the RCC by the United Methodist Church (UMC) makes it highly unlikely that they will ever take up the issue of the anti-Israel Jew-hating BDS campaign. The UMC has been entangled with Israel hating Islamists not only through Mercy-USA, but also through the cozy “God Box” otherwise known as the United Methodist Building in Washington, D.C. In 2012 the UMC General Conference voted to recommend boycotts and sanctions. UMC is a vocal and active participant in boycott initiatives, including the recent one against Soda Stream.
The Newseum Institute, (part of the TN Freedom Forum First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt), represented by Gene Policinski, has been a long-time Islamic apologist. The institute has spent considerable resources and used their credibility as an advocate for “unbiased” media while defending the Muslim Brotherhood organizations and their sharia driven agenda. (read parts 1 -7 starting here.)
Bud Heckman from Religions for Peace USA (RFPUSA) will facilitate a discussion about the refugee propaganda film “Welcome to Shelbyville.” It seems fitting that an organization like RFPUSA would be involved with this film because of its own ties to leading Islamist Muslim Brotherhood organizations in the U.S.
The RCC’s convention focus is about Muslim victimhood. Anyone who knows anything about the magnitude of Christian persecution and the Jew-hating anti-Israel BDS campaign knows that these issues are mutually exclusive with Muslim victimhood. In fact, Christian persecution and the anti-Israel BDS campaign are the result of Islamist aggression, a topic the progressive leftists at the RCC wouldn’t want to be caught dead admitting.
What else can you expect from an organization whose Nashville chapter is headed by Scientologist, Rev. Brian Fessler whose religious cult is based the arrival of the extraterrestrial warlord Xenu?
Between new student groups SEAT (Sexual Empowerment and Awareness at Tennessee) and SJP (Students for Justice in Palestine), UT Knoxville (UTK) is an emerging up-and-comer in the liberal left’s higher education arena.
SEAT promises that will organize and present Sex Week each year at UTK. Last year’s inaugural Sex Week included a sessions on how students could have better sex, oral sex, transgender sexuality, a drag show and a few ……..
Not to be outdone, scattered in between potentially useful info sessions on Women’s Health and Sexual Assault Prevention, this year’s Sex Week also includes Aphrodisiac Cooking Class. the LGBTQ Drag Show and a Condom Scavenger Hunt. Of course no college level program would complete without gratuitous learning about the “Middle East and Sexuality.”
Also in 2013, UTK’s newest anti-Israel student hate group, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) organization was established. For now, it appears that the UTK SJP is engaging in “soft” BDS. For example, their September 2013, “Occupation, Siege, and the Health Crisis in the Gaza Strip” by its very title, infers the classic anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian as victim bias.
The program announcement for Dr. Mahmoud Daher’s pre-framed the issues around “Israeli authorities have continued to impose a strict blockade on the Gaza Strip.” Did Dr. Daher also explain the reasons a blockade has been imposed since 2007? Did he tell them that in 2001, an Arab terrorist blew themselves up in a Sbarro pizza restaurant, killing15 civilians, including 7 children and a pregnant woman, wounding 130 others? Did he tell them that Hamas claimed credit for the attack?
Did Dr. Daher explain to the students that the 2007 blockade of Gaza was imposed when the militant terrorist group Hamas was voted in to take over the Gaza Strip? Did he detail the years of unprovoked but repeated Hamas missile attacks on civilians? How about Israel’s repeated offers to reach a peace agreement and the Arabs’ repeated refusals?
Doubtful since there is every reason to believe that the real path being laid by the SJP group and its faculty advisor, Brian Barber, will, just like every other SJP group, lead to more overt BDS initiatives on campus.
They may even get some help from Governor Haslam’s UT Board of Trustee appointee, Raja Jubran, an alum of UTK and a member of the anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian Ramallah Club of Knoxville. Senator Massey, also from Knoxville, has introduced Senate Resolution 78 that if passed by the Tennessee State Senate, will reconfirm Jubran’s appointment to the Board.
The American Federation of Ramallah, Palestine(AFRP), is the parent organization of the individual state clubs like the one in Knoxville. It describes itself as “the largest Palestinian Organization in the United States.” It even publishes a bimonthly magazine.
Jubran, although raised in Lebanon, identifies as a Palestinian because his father was born in Ramallah. He immigrated to the United States in 1977 to attend the University of Knoxville, and stayed. Despite leaving the MIddle East, he continued his family’s legacy and spent over a year in Washington, D.C. advocating for “Palestinian rights.”
Haslam appointee Samar Ali’s father, Subhi Ali, chair of the Jerusalem Fund in D.C., also immigrated to the U.S. from Ramallah. Subhi Ali’s organization aggressively advocates BDS as a vehicle to destroy the Jewish homeland.
The Tennessee state legislature took action on the UTK Sex Week resulting in a likely university policy requiring an “opt-in” by individual students so that student activity fees can be directed away from what someone might believe is objectionable programming.
Hopefully, the University will examine the policies of the SJP and the student hate group’s funding will go the way of Sex Week’s.