An Egyptian protester holds a poster depicting Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi (center, holding his two sons) that reads, “with no comment,” during a march marking the anniversary of 26 Coptic Christians killed during an anti-government demonstration.
Updated: November 24, 2012 6:12AM
Tens of thousands of Syrians killed by their government. Persecution of Christians in Muslim nations so widespread that the faithful are literally running for their lives. The genocidal fanatics in Iran working overtime to make a nuclear bomb. With such turmoil in the Middle East and such peril to their fellow Christians, to what end are the mainline Christian churches in America devoting their energies?
Getting Congress to cut U.S. aid to Israel.
That was the message of a letter sent to Capitol Hill recently by 15 leaders of organizations including the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the United Methodist Church, the National Council of Churches and others. Their letter cited “human rights violations” by Israel against the Palestinians — minimizing the long record of Palestinian hostility of peace and terrorism against Israeli civilians.
In sending the letter, the churches blind-sided U.S. Jewish groups — Reform and Conservative Jews, the American Jewish Committee and B’nai B’rith International — who the New York Times described as having had for eight years taken part in a dialogue over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Jewish leaders were understandably outraged that they had no warning of the letter.
The Christian letter-signers included the mainline Protestant churches that have toyed with the wrong-headed notion of ending investments in companies doing business with the state of Israel. (Evangelical Christians are staunch supporters of Israel.) The letter included boilerplate about the suffering of both Palestinians and Israelis but was directed at punishing only Israel because it gets so much aid from the United States.
The letter dwelled on the usual left-wing complaints about Israel: Settlement building in the West Bank, deaths of Palestinian civilians in Israeli military operations and restrictions on Palestinian movement.
What those complaints ignore is that the West Bank is made up of the disputed territories of Samaria and Judea heavy in Jewish history and subject to a final settlement that every reasonable observer acknowledges will include the major settlements in Israel. Focusing on settlements disregards claims made by the so-called moderate Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas not just to the West Bank but to all of Israel.
The civilian deaths — as much regretted by the Israeli government as our government regrets civilian deaths in drone attacks against our enemies in Afghanistan and Pakistan — came in reprisals against Palestinian terrorism. So far in this year alone, 800 rockets and mortars have been fired into southern Israel from the Gaza Strip, where the terrorist organization Hamas rules.
The restrictions on Palestinian movement — greatly reduced in recent months as Israel has taken down West Bank checkpoints to encourage the Palestinian economy and in hopes of bringing peace talks — came after a wretched terrorist campaign of suicide bombings and other attacks that killed and wounded thousands of Israelis.
The letter forgets Palestinian rejection of generous peace terms in 2000 and 2008 that would have established a Palestinian state. The letter turns a blind eye to a persistent Palestinian propaganda campaign to deny Jewish history in the Holy Land, to glorify vile terrorist murderers and promote venomous anti-Semitism.
It’s no wonder that American Jewish leaders see “vicious anti-Zionism” in the letter.