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Christian groups condemn 'anti-Semitic' Presbyterian church resolutions likening Israel to Nazis

Presbyterian Church USA also votes to mark Nakba

Illustrative - Leaders of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) at its 219th General Assembly.(Photo: Facebook/PCUSA)

Christians lined up to condemn the “anti-Semitic” vote of the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) which declared Israel an apartheid state at its annual general assembly in Louisville, Kentucky on Tuesday. 

The PCUSA unloaded a litany of criticisms against the Jewish state including the claim that one set of laws exists for Israelis and another set of laws for Arabs who live in “separate reserves and ghettos” with their freedom severely restricted.

The resolution said that “Israel's laws, policies and practices fulfill the international legal definition of apartheid.”

The Presbyterian Church further likened Israeli government behavior to that of the Nazis during the Holocaust.  

“After World War II when the horror of the Nazi Holocaust was revealed, Jews around the world said ‘never again.’ Christians too vowed that never again would they be silent if a government passed laws establishing and maintaining the domination by one ethnic group over another ethnic group through systematic separation, oppression and denial of basic human rights. Silence in the face of evil was wrong then, and it is wrong now,” the Presbyterian assembly opined.

Representatives of the Philos Action League, Pathways for Peace, Combat Antisemitism Movement and the Anti-Defamation League demonstrated outside the church’s headquarters. 

“Yesterday’s committee vote to designate Israel an apartheid state will leave an indelible stain on the PCUSA's legacy. Should PCUSA ultimately pass this resolution it would stand with the most vocal and vile anti-Semitic critics of Israel whose goal is to see the Jewish state destroyed,” said Luke Moon, deputy director of The Philos Project. “Now, more than ever, Christians must stand with our Jewish brethren against the evils of anti-Semitism at home and abroad. We urge the PCUSA General Assembly to reject this overture and to refute rather than embrace the kind of hate and anti-Semitic propaganda that has fueled an uptick in violence against Jews in the United States.”

In a tweet, Moon called the vote “Jew hatred.”

“Sadly, the International Committee of Presbyterian Church USA passed the motion to label Israel an apartheid state. They ignored our plea to reject anti-Semitism and sunk further in their Jew hatred. Lord, in your wrath, remember mercy,” he wrote. 

The Church resolution states that it hopes the comparison with South African apartheid will lead to “a peaceful reconciliation for the people of Israel and Palestine similar to that which occurred in South Africa when apartheid was internationally acknowledged.”

“Each year the ordeals and injustices suffered by the Palestinian people in the West Bank, Gaza, and Israel continue. Land is expropriated, homes are demolished, and freedom of movement is restricted,” the resolution claimed. “The combination of Israeli settlement colonies on Palestinian land, the bypass roads connecting these settlements, and the Separation Wall creates a network of barriers that confine Palestinians to live in separate reserves and ghettos. The rights to work, education, freedom from arbitrary arrest, peaceful assembly, and freedom of expression granted under international law are restricted or denied.”

The general assembly of the PCUSA also voted to designate May 15 as “Palestinian Nakba Remembrance Day.” Nakba, which means catastrophe in Arabic, “does not refer to the establishment of Israel itself, but rather the effect that the war had on the Palestinian people,” which the resolution described as the “expulsion by terrorism and force of 750,000 Palestinians, both Christian and Muslim.”

The assembly also passed a resolution calling for an end to the “siege of Gaza” and the “collective punishment of innocent Palestinian and Israeli citizens.”

Additionally, the resolution decried the Trump administration's move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, saying that it damaged peace prospects and “the doctrines of Christian Zionism that tend toward idolatry and heresy.”

Earlier this year, Clerk Rev. J. Herbert Nelson II claimed that Israel was engaging in “slavery” saying that the “continued occupation in Palestine/Israel is 21st-century slavery and should be abolished immediately.”

In February, the Presbyterian Church – along with other anti-Israeli groups such as Progressive Democrats of America, CAIR, JVP Action, IfNotNow and others – called the Abraham Accords, which normalized relations between Israel and a number of Muslim states, “dangerous” and urged Congress to reject them.   

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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