Newsletter #116 – The Red-Green Alliance and the BDS Campaign Against Israel (part 2 of 5)Posted: April 1, 2014
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.