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September  16

Bucking the Boycott

From an anonymous tipster...

Central Presbyterian Church in Montclair, located at Park and Claremont, recently made history. Its session (or governing body) passed a unanimous resolution to criticize the Church's General Assembly in Louisville, KY. The resolution was in response to the national church passing a resolution which calls for the disinvestment with all corps that do business with Israel. Those involved forced the local vote, the first Presbyterian Church in the Newark Presbytery to voice its opposition to the boycott.

Boycott Watch details the boycott.

September 16, 2005 in Controversy | Permalink


I say "bully" for the Central Presbies. I hope they go even farther and call the policy of their church's General Assembly (which owes so much to the Church of Scotland, walleroo, those kilt-sporting folk who so scare you) what it is, a discreet form of anti-Semitism directed against the very survival of a democratic nation.

Posted by: cathar | Sep 16, 2005 2:01:42 PM

Oh my. I wonder how companies like Lockheed Martin feel about this. They do lots of business with Israel. And since they are in the business of defense, I'd say they are on the side of the red states and flag-waving freedom fighters all over these united states.

Posted by: textwoman | Sep 16, 2005 2:09:44 PM

I'm not exactly sure what "made history". A presby church passed a resolution criticizing a resolution made by the larger church body?

Posted by: unclear presby | Sep 16, 2005 2:46:25 PM

Are your members aware of the petition at www.pcusapetition.org ?

Nearly, 2,200 Presbyterians have signed the petition calling for a repeal of the divestment resolution.

Posted by: Larry | Sep 16, 2005 3:05:12 PM

It always disappoints me that criticism of the government of Israel is almost always met with cries of Anti-Semitism. The policies and behavior of the Sharon hard liners are bad for the country. In my mind speaking out against them shows true support for the citizens of Israel.

It reminds me of our country in the last few years. Criticism of Bush, and especially the war, is viewed by some as unpatriotic, where I believe it is exactly the opposite.

Posted by: State Street Pete | Sep 16, 2005 3:17:32 PM

Why are so many people oppsed to Israel wanting statehood? The only countries that consistently stand behind Israel in the UN are the U.S. and the Republic of Palau.

Posted by: Miss Martta | Sep 16, 2005 3:31:49 PM

I agree, Pete. When criticism or dissent is considered unpatriotic, it's downright scary. Patriotism is often reduced to blindly waving the flag.

Posted by: the summer of noise | Sep 16, 2005 3:36:24 PM

Pete - I think you are right, as usual, and especially in the Greater New York area where there is a knee-jerk reaction to anything that could be considered the slightest criticism of anything remotely connected to Israel. Your recent criticism of the Bush Regime, however, has been duly noted and Carl Rove has been dispatched to find you and whack you upside the head.

Posted by: Conan the Grammarian | Sep 16, 2005 3:36:32 PM

Aiming the dagger of divestment at the economic heart of Israel, State Street, is not meant "just" to show dissatisfaction with the policies of the hard liners there. It is, rather, meant to help drive all the "Zionists" (such a convenient word) into the sea. To so cripple a democratic nation, to so set it up for the accession of the much more hard-line butchers of the other side, represents de facto anti-Semitism. And church groups in particular should know better, if only because the "other side," unlike the state of Israel, doesn't have the slightest interest in the long run in a religiously pluralistic state.

Posted by: cathar | Sep 16, 2005 3:40:38 PM

I agree State Street, to say someone is an anti-semite or unpatriotic because they question things is like the Salem Witch trials, or McCarthyism all over again.

I am a nice Jewish girl whose daddy would flip out if I ever touched a gun, yet he supports Israel - a country where all of his children would have been in the military as soldiers.

I am also the grandchild of 2 people who escaped Germany as children. We grew up knowing exactly what happened in WWII. It amazes me that so many Jewish people today can dismiss the ethnic cleansing that is happening right now. People in my own family don’t even see that removing Palestinians from their homes and thus Israel is ethnic cleansing.

Even my parents go thru phases where it suddenly becomes a great tourist spot to send their kids – a few weeks go by – something blows up, someone in power dies, some other horrid thing goes down – and they go back to thinking it’s a dangerous place to send their fully Americanized teens. When I was a kid my trip was canceled when a bus of American kids were blown up, this past winter my sister’s trip got canceled when Yasser Arafat died.

Posted by: hrhppg | Sep 16, 2005 4:07:38 PM

Thanks Summer, Conan!

Are you saying, Conan, that I may get, ahem, Bush whacked? That would explain the black sedan waiting outside my house.

Cathar, I disagree. Do you think the boycott of South Africa was racially motivated against the country's black citizens? No, it was meant to help them, even though it caused them the most pain in the short term.

Really it doesn't matter what the motivation of the other side might be. It matters how the government of Israel conducts itself and if their actions are morally right or wrong. In my mind the way the government has treated the Palestinians is especially horrible in light of the treatment that Israel and Jews in general have suffered throughout history. If any people know how it feels to be persecuted and trodden upon it is the Jewish people.

Again the parallels to the USA today are scary. We have, in the name of trying to protect ourselves from terrorists, given up many of the rights and freedoms that took so many years and quite a bit of blood to gain. We have started a war unprovoked, which is what we have for so long fought against. And we are even torturing people!

They will never defeat us with guns and bombs. We will only defeat ourselves by allowing them to change who we are.

Posted by: State Street Pete | Sep 16, 2005 4:22:25 PM

Disagreeing with Isreal is not the same as waging economic war against it.

Ethnic Cleansing? Have you never heard the expression "drive Isreal into the sea"? Only Egypt (who got its land back) was finally willing to recognize its right to exist.

I am not defending Isreal's actions or its treatment of the Palistinians, but they are riding the tiger over there.

Posted by: Bitpusher | Sep 16, 2005 4:34:42 PM

Your Highness, it's a dicotomy that I just can't reconcile. It's like a blind spot. You can probably see things more clearly because you are generation removed.

How do we break the cycle? It seemed for a while things were on the right track and that both sides could see that no one was "winning". But now there seems to be no motivation to stop the cycle. Is it just that those in power on both sides think that the status quo benefits them?

I always find myself saying it will have to stop sometime, but it never does.

I hope there are more people like you, the next generation, who can see things for what they are.

Posted by: State Street Pete | Sep 16, 2005 4:38:42 PM

Whether the boycott of South Africa helped or hindered that nation may take years to properly assess. Perhaps after the long-promised "re-assigning" of farmlands there? And after the seeming diaspora of many of its white citizens (though many of course will just say "good riddance"). Nelson Mandela holds so much in in other people, things his firebrand wife, by contrast, would have encouraged.

In any case, it isn't at all analogous to economic actions against Israel. Which in turn have nothing to do with "criticism" of Israeli policies, which is fine, anytime I scan the Israeli press there's loads of dissent there.

Divestment is meant to bring the country to its knees in the mistaken belief that this will somehow bring "justice" to the dispute somehow. But the Palestinians demonstrate time and again they have no interest in that concept, merely in interminable squalling about "Zionism." (And don't get them started on the topic of gay marriage, either.) They don't even have any real interest in their own state unless it's Jew-free and tailored totally to their own political, racial and religious notions. Perhaps some posters don't get that, but the Presbies (and the NCC and...) should.

Nor, should you research it, have Israelis treated Palestinians all that outrageously. The equation of Israel with Nazi-style treatment of Arabs has been one of the most shameful affectations of the left I've ever seen.

Posted by: cathar | Sep 16, 2005 4:49:30 PM

Bit, you're right, it's very easy to speak high-mindedly (is that a word?) over here but being there is different I realize. But how else do good people, well intentioned people, effect change without getting tagged as anti-Semitic? We can’t vote out Sharon. Money talks and since we support Israel monetarily we need to say hey, we want to defend you and help keep you safe, but we can’t abide your actions.

Hey, I hate it when we go about telling the countries of the world “Stop that!”, especially when we are doing the same thing (like it’s okay for us to have nukes but we’ll bomb the hell out of the next guy who wants to try it). But I don’t see that it’s unreasonable to say that we’re not going to economically support a country who does what I think are bad things. Same way I don’t think we should support the Palestinians, or the Uzbeks, or anyone else if they actively do harm to others or their own people, directly or indirectly.

Posted by: State Street Pete | Sep 16, 2005 5:00:08 PM

State Street, if you're not going to economically support, even in some teensy way, countries that do what you term "bad things," you are going to be one lonesome coyote-like fellow.

Which is fine, I might venture, but would also make for a really small UN, and a 2 or three nation Security Council there.

Good people who speak out are not being tagged as anti-Semites. People on the extreme left who for some twistedly vile reason want to see Israel cease to exist, along with their naive sudden crop of divestment-minded allies in places like the Presbyterian Church, are. There is a real difference.

Posted by: cathar | Sep 16, 2005 5:14:37 PM

"Nor, should you research it, have Israelis treated Palestinians all that outrageously."

Cathar, I'm not sure what to say to that. Their treatment of the Palestinians hasn't been what I would hope and expect from a civilized people.

And I won't equate anyone with Nazis (are you listening Mr. Durban, Mr. Santorum) unless they are systematically killing millions of people.

I just don't support my money, either directly or indirectly, going to countries who's policies create so much human misery, either with tanks or bombs and I don't see how that's unreasonable.

I will shut up now and go home. Thank you all for the open exchange.

Posted by: State Street Pete | Sep 16, 2005 5:20:59 PM

This is my church you are talking about. We have discussed this issue, our session has taken a vote. Folks in Baristaville ought to understand that we are are an inclusive community that is open and inclusive. Please feel fee to join our services Sunday at 10:30

Posted by: jmo | Sep 16, 2005 5:48:52 PM

jmo, I have no doubt that you are all good folks and are following your conscience. And I imagine that no one in your group, nor most of the Presbyterian Church, whether for or against divestment, wants to see Israel cease to exist.

And thank you for your kind invitation.

Posted by: State Street Pete | Sep 16, 2005 11:11:47 PM

State Street,
You wrote in an earlier post:
"Again the parallels to the USA today are scary. We have, in the name of trying to protect ourselves from terrorists, given up many of the rights and freedoms that took so many years and quite a bit of blood to gain."

I hear the liberals continue to say that we have lost rights and freedoms...please enumerate how your rights have been impacted.

Posted by: John L | Sep 17, 2005 12:58:48 PM

>> But the Palestinians demonstrate time and again they have no interest in that concept, merely in interminable squalling about "Zionism." (And don't get them started on the topic of gay marriage, either.) They don't even have any real interest in their own state unless it's Jew-free and tailored totally to their own political, racial and religious notions. <<

I have a hard time believing that the Palestinians are that monolithic, just as the Israelis aren't monolithic. (Nor, for that matter, are we Americans. Yes, I know I'm mixing nations and ethnicities here.) The problem is that there are enough of them who hold these vicious views and are able to pass their ideology from generation to generation.

Generalizations about a people seem to create more problems than they solve.

Posted by: crank | Sep 17, 2005 2:25:46 PM

John L, I was going to be snarky and simply post a link to the Patriot Act but I will refrain.

The Patriot Act allows agents of the government to seize, among other things, books, personal letters, diaries, library records, medical and psychiatric records, financial information, membership lists (including religious institutions), and genetic information, not by asking a judge for a warrant, but by simply drafting a letter that states they think the information being sought is relevant to a national security investigation. Not sure about you but I don't trust the FBI to police itself.

The FBI has already been caught using the act to sneak and peek not for intelligence gathering but simply for criminal prosecution (which normally requires a warrant). It has also been used to help prosecute American citizens for things that have absolutely nothing to do with terrorism.

The worst part is that, because these sneak and peek searches are secret no one really knows how much abuse might be occuring.

You will also note that American citizens can now be held indefinitely without being charged with a crime.

To me this all sounds a lot like loosing your rights.

Posted by: State Street Pete | Sep 22, 2005 11:56:43 AM

Sorry, "losing", not "loosing".

Posted by: State Street Pete | Sep 22, 2005 11:58:07 AM

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