Presbyterian endorsement of terrorism

Recently, an official delegation from the Presbyterian Church (USA) met with leaders of Hizbollah. They praised Hizbollah for their work. (they have claimed responsiblity for many terrorist attacks in Israel.)

I support interfaith discussions, dialogue and disagreement. While I understood the Presbyterian church’s statement this summer for divestiture from Israel, it saddened me for it did not include a statement against terrorism. Well now I think we are beginning to see the true stripes of the PC USA leadership – support of Palestinians and terror.

The leaders of Israel and the leaders of the Palestinians must work for peace, mutual acknowledgement and the ability to live side-by-side without killing each other. However, for PC USA to take such a blatently pro-Palestinian step as praising Hizbollah without even mentioning their terrorism is wrong.

I pray that things can change and that the leadership of the PC USA will acknowledge the pain this move is causing those who support Israel.

The PC USA church issued a statement which somewhat deliniates the full Church position as opposed to those in Lebanon engaging in the meetings, but it doesn’t seem to go far enough.

The leadership of the Reform movement has issued a statement in response. The statement includes a letter sent by Rabbi Yoffie and Rabbi Menitoff to the leadership of PC USA. The letter includes,

We are especially offended by Elder Stone’s remarks that meeting with Hezbollah “is a lot easier than dealings and dialogue with Jewish leaders.” To suggest that dialogue with terrorists is preferable to conversations with the American Jewish community is appalling and has overtones of anti-Semitism.

Based on our recent dialogue, we had hoped that you would swiftly and strongly denounce these meetings and statements by individuals who speak in the name of the Presbyterian Church (USA).  Yet your statement does no more than repeat an earlier blanket condemnation of terrorism with no attention to the meetings of and statements from this delegation.

As we said when we met, there can be no religious justification whatsoever for words that serve to encourage terror and justify terrorism.  Surely all people of decency, especially those whose tradition calls on us to “choose life” and “seek peace,” can see that Hezbollah is not praiseworthy.  We hope and pray that you will exercise the moral leadership required at this moment and repudiate these deplorable words spoken in the name of your church. “

May G-d bring wisdom, courage, understanding and peace to us all.

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