THE RELIGIOUS LEFT AND ANTI-ISRAEL / ANTI-SEMITIC PERSPECTIVES
The hostility of the religious left toward the United States is extended also to America's close ally, Israel. The 3.2 million-member Presbyterian Church USA, for instance, has called for divestment from firms that do business with the Jewish state. The 1.3 million-member United Church of Christ (UCC) has similarly endorsed “economic leverage” against Israel. And some officials of the 8.2 million-member United Methodist Church have also pondered divestment possibilities aimed at Israel.
When forced to choose between maintaining good relations with American Jewish groups and registering disaffection for Israel, officials of these church groups often choose the latter course. After Hamas had registered a major electoral victory in the Palestinian Authority (PA) elections of 2006, for instance, UCC leaders immediately implored the U.S. Congress not to adopt “punitive legislation” that would cut off direct American aid to the PA, even though the latter was now controlled by an organization permanently committed to the destruction of Israel and the mass murder of Jews. “The U.S. should honor its financial commitments made in recent years to alleviate Palestinian suffering and back up U.S. policy to seek a two-state solution,” declared UCC President John Thomas and UCC missions executive Peter Makari. Moreover, the UCC faulted the Israeli “occupation” and “U.S.-supported Israeli unilateralism” for virtually all Palestinian problems.
The National Council of Churches (NCC) has been similarly anti-Israel in its positions over the years, aiming a disproportionate share of its human rights complaints at the Jewish state. In February 2005, for example, NCC proclaimed that “[t]he crushing burden of Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory contributes to deep anger and violent resistance, which contributes to fear throughout Israeli society.”
Likewise, the World Council of Churches (WCC) has consistently denounced Israel and championed the Palestinian cause. At the 2001 United Nations World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, the WCC demanded an official denunciation of Israel for its “systematic perpetration of racist crimes including war crimes, acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing.” Echoing the Council’s long-held beliefs in a 2009 address, WCC General Secretary Samuel Kobia attacked Israel’s “occupation” of Palestinian lands as a “sin against God.” Echoing claims of Palestinian radicals, he went on to call Israel’s 1948 founding a “catastrophe” and a “form of ‘ethnic cleansing’ that [triggered] the largest forced migration [by Arabs] in modern history.”
In 2004, local chapters of Pax Christi USAsigned a letter exhorting members of the United States Senate to oppose Israel's construction of an anti-terrorism security barrier in the West Bank -- characterizing the structure as an illegal “apartheid wall” that stood in violation of the civil and human rights of Palestinians.