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What the Presbyterians got wrong on Israel

What the Presbyterians got wrong on Israel

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, writes in detail on Jewish and Christian relations alongside considering Israel. An excerpt from his Religion News Service commentary:

Let me be clear: Israel is not immune from criticism. On the contrary, we hold it to a godly standard of justice. We also firmly hold that our own people’s liberation, exemplified in Israel, should not come at the expense of the Palestinian people who deserve to live in freedom and dignity, in an independent state where they can thrive and escape the decades of war and animosity. We believe in a Palestinian state next to Israel, the nation state of the Jewish people and its citizens.

Unfortunately, the recent document, “Zionism Unsettled,” produced by the Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA), takes us farther from this goal. In “Unsettled,“ released in January, the IPMN makes its case clearly: Zionism is at the heart of the problem, destroying both native Palestinian lives and thriving Jewish communities around the world in a supremacist misinterpretation of God’s Word, on par with “Christian exceptionalist beliefs (that) contributed to the Nazi Holocaust, the genocide of Native Americans, and countless other instances of tragic brutality.” The document is profoundly disturbing for its distortion of history and theology.

After reading Rabbi Jacobs entire response, what are your thoughts with the issues he raises?


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William Gilders

JC Fisher, I can only pray that your theories about “dialogue that brings genuine reconciliation” are correct, because the current “Mainline” trajectory will certainly make Jews walk out. And I’ll walk out with them. Because the “Truths” of “Mainline” anti-Zionism are lies.

Now, I must ask, does your approach to dialogue apply to President Museveni and his wife and the Archbishop of Uganda and their “Truths” about homosexuality?


“I must emphasize that […..] is a guaranteed way to terminate dialogue”

In my studies of dialogue (both political and religious: I have degrees in international relations and ecumenism), I find that the dialogue that brings genuine reconciliation begins only AFTER one or BOTH sides have walked out.

Until then, you’re just talking shallow surfaces.

I know that, where the Middle East is concerned, we all get into “How long, Lord?” impatience. But you just cannot rush basic issues. NEITHER side can avoid speaking their Truths because “if you do, they’ll walk out”.

Prayers for Shalom/Salaam/Peace—

JC Fisher

William Gilders

That should be “borders” of course!

William Gilders

Paul Woodrum: There are huge differences between the situation in the Holy Land and the situation between Russia and Ukraine over Crimea. Not least is the fact that Israel’s occupation of the West Bank (and, formerly, Gaza) represented Israel’s response to attempts by Jordan and Egypt to destroy the Jewish State. And “Palestine” didn’t exist in 1967, when Israel took the West Bank and Gaza. It had ceased to exist in 1948, when most of its territory was annexed by Jordan and Egypt, who could have established an independent Palestine in the West Bank and Gaza, but chose not to. Israel-proper, in contrast, exists within boarders that broadly conform to those defined by the UN Partition Plan of 1947, which Israel accepted and which the Arab world rejected. I sincerely hope you are not defining the very existence of Israel as “occupation” of Palestine. If so, this simply illustrates the point I have made about the growing problem of “Mainline” anti-Zionism, which is guaranteed cyanide for relations between “Mainline” Christians and most Jews. I urge Christians who embrace or are thinking of embracing anti-Zionism to sit down with a Zionist Jew (and most Jews are Zionists), shut up for a few minutes, and listen (really listen!) to their reasons for being a Zionist.

Paul Woodrum

What is the difference between Russia’s occupation of Crimea and Israel’s constant incursions into Palestine and expansion of occupied territories other than the US condemns one and overlooks the other?

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