Shalom Life | June 28, 2014

Jewish Groups, Netanyahu Condemn US Presbyterian Church for Boycotting Israel

Simon Weisenthal, ADL, and others slam the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) after voting to divest from American companies who do business with Israel

By: Daniel Koren

Published: June 25th, 2014 in News » Israel

On Friday, a group representing the USA branch of the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) voted 310-303 to divest from American companies who do business in Israel, joining the growing BDS movement against the country.

By doing so, the 1.8 million-member church became the largest and most recognized religious group in America to join the movement against Israel by rejecting its so-called "occupation" of Palestinian territories.

Pulling investments specifically from Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions - reportedly a total of $21 million - PCUSA released statements explaining their actions, saying Caterpillar allows the "destruction of Palestinian homes," HP “provides electronic systems at checkpoints, logistics and communications systems to support the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip, and has business relationships with illegal settlements in the West Bank,” and Motorola “provides military communications and surveillance systems in the illegal Israeli settlements.”

The decision comes at a time where Israel continues to invest all its efforts into finding the three abducted Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped almost two weeks ago.

Since their announcement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Simon Wiesenthal Center Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper and ADL Director Abraham H. Foxman have called the PCUSA for their actions.

“It’s so disgraceful,” said Netanyahu during an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press. “Most Americans understand that Israel is a beacon of civilization and moderation.”

The Israeli PM added that much of the Middle East is “riveted by religious hatred, by savagery of unimaginable proportions” (see what's taking place in Iraq and/or Syria) though Israel is “the one democracy that upholds basic human rights, that guards the rights of all minorities, that protects Christians.”

He also advised that members of the PCUSA “fly to the Middle East, come and see Israel for the embattled democracy that it is, and then take a bus tour, go to Libya, go to Syria, go to Iraq, and see the difference.”

“I would give them two pieces of advice," he continued," "one is make sure it’s an armor-plated bus, and second, don’t say that you’re Christian.”

It's actually very sound advice.

Speaking on the PCUSA decision, Rabbi Abraham Cooper said, "We are witness today to an ugly spectacle of righteous hypocrisy, as an American church punishes the sole Middle East democracy for the sin of safeguarding its security while some of its Palestinian neighbors pass out sweets to celebrate the abduction of Israeli teenagers."

“We are shocked beyond words," he continued. "With the crimes against humanity occurring in Syria and Iraq, with the Middle East in chaos, with African Christians regularly selected by terrorists for murder because of their faith, PCUSA chooses to flex its moral muscles by aiding and abetting those pledged to do away with the Jewish State."

National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham H. Foxman, commented on the matter as well, saying that it "sends a painful message to American Jews and threatens the long-standing relationship between the Jewish community and the national Presbyterian Church with whom we have worked closely on many issues of mutual concern."

Sadly, the PCUSA decision represents a growing bias around the world against Israel, where boycotting and divesting against companies aligned with the Jewish state have become commonplace, while sanctions against other Middle Eastern countries are rarely initiated.

While two wrongs surely don't make a right, it's definitely worth noting that Israel is often held up to a double-standard.

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