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196http://www.beth-israel.org/blog/2014/06/RabbiLyonsBlog-06_27_2014-
Rabbi Lyon's Blog - 06_27_2014
06/26/2014 12:00 PM Posted by:

From the Desk of Rabbi David Lyon
June 27, 2014

 

This past week, the Jewish news has been filled with reactions to the result of the Presbyterian Church’s vote to divest from three American companies that do business in Israel. You might say that only three companies don’t amount to much, but you’d be wrong. The message was a stinging indictment against Israel backed by some of the most notorious anti-Semites including David Duke. To reach their conclusion, the convention relied on gross exaggerations of Israel’s conduct in peace efforts and in their handling of the “administered territories” otherwise known as the West Bank.

                Jewish commentators blasted the decision and condemned the church for their skewed vision of Israel and their contribution to rising trends in anti-Semitism especially in Europe. Fomenting anti-Israel sentiments against the backdrop of unceasing attacks by Palestinians and terror groups from the administered territories and Gaza into Israel is incomprehensible and irresponsible. Among the many commentators whose articles I read, and there were many good ones, I was especially drawn to and moved by Benjamin Netanyahu’s response, in which he said:

 

It should trouble all people of conscience and morality because it's so disgraceful. You know, you look at what's happening in the Middle East, and I think most Americans understand this: They see this enormous area riveted by religious hatred, by savagery of unimaginable proportions.

 

Then you come to Israel and you see the one democracy that upholds basic human rights, that guards the rights of all minorities, that protects Christians. Christians are persecuted throughout the Middle East. So, most Americans understand that Israel is a beacon of civilization and moderation.

 

You know, I would suggest to those Presbyterian organizations to fly to the Middle East, come 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. And I would give them two pieces of advice: One is make sure it's an armor-plated bus. And, second, don't say that you're Christians.

 

Having just returned from Israel, I identify with Netanyahu’s comments and urge all Christians, and especially Presbyterians, to do as he said. Anti-Christian sentiments run high among rabid terrorists who see no way forward in Israel except to destroy the country and its inhabitants, Jew and Christian, alike. As another Jewish commentator urged, every Presbyterian minister should reach out to a Jewish friend or rabbi, apologize for this gross interpretation of the facts and commit to a world of peace that begins with truth.

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