According to the most recent polling available, 74% of Presbyterians believe that our peacemaking strategy in the Middle East should include the U.S. “maintaining the close diplomatic and military relationship with Israel;” 51% oppose further expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank or East Jerusalem; a strong 65% support a two state solution; only 35% oppose the construction of the barrier between Israel and Palestine with 46% having no opinion on or neither support or oppose the barrier.
This polling data reflects the position of Presbyterians for Middle East Peace that the PCUSA is most effective as a peacemaker in the
In support of such a role, in 2008, the General Assembly adopted an overture calling for the PCUSA to “Be a voice for the victims of violence in both
The General Assembly in 2010 continued to seek out an authentic mediating role for the PCUSA. A controversial report from The Middle East Study Committee was altered in significant ways to make it less partisan. As important, folks from all sides of the
The 2010 GA also authorized the creation of a study guide for the Kairos Palestinian Christian statement. There are many things that can be said about Kairos. In this post, I would like to focus on one.
It seems to me that Kairos’ call for economic boycott, divestment and sanctions (
The history of economic boycotts against Jews led by Christians is shameful. A few examples are in order. In 1555, Pope Paul IV issued a bull, cum nimis absurdum, instituting religious and economic restrictions against Jews in the extensive papal lands in
The point here is not to accuse the Palestinian Christians or their supporters of being blatant anti-Semites. The salient point is that, for centuries, the tool of economic boycott has been used repeatedly by Christians against Jews. As a result,
The tragic history of Christian economic boycotts against Jews is why I opposed the decision by the 2004 General Assembly to pursue the possibility of selective, phased divestment from several companies related to
While the 2010 General Assembly endorsed “the (Kairos) document’s emphases on hope for liberation, nonviolence, love of enemy, and reconciliation,” it is hard to see how Christians endorsing economic boycotts, divestment and sancations against Jews works toward those ends. They don’t. The idea of
There is more to say, in future posts, about Kairos. It is dangerously misleading to assert that the conflict between
Co-Moderator, Presbyterians for