Written by PJTN Advisory Board Member, Dr. Shmuel Katz
In 2004, the Presbyterian Church (USA) approved a resolution calling for "phased selective divestment in multinational corporations doing business with Israel," such as Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola Solutions. And now, the Presbyterian Church is considering approving another, harsher resolution at its biennial General Assembly scheduled to take place in Pittsburgh at the end of June.
Such a divestment policy, besides unfairly demonizing Israel, would harm relations between Jews and Christians that has been nurtured for decades.
What is behind this divestment movement? From some peculiar reason, anti-Israeli positions often cannot be explained objectively. It is amazing how persistent distortions of the truth may induce certain reaction by misinformed and uninformed good people. Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi Propaganda Minister, taught the world that the more blatant and outrageous a claim, the more uninformed people may fall for it.
So let's clarify some facts as they relate to Israel and the Middle East:
Anyone who reads the Bible and other reliable history books will know that the Jews had - and still have - a presence and a deep connection to the land of Israel and to their capital Jerusalem. There were periods in history when the majority of the Jews had been expelled from their homeland, but despite this, there were always pockets of Jewish communities living in the Holy land.
Currently, a large number of the Jews who live in Israel are Jewish refugees from Arab lands, who were welcomed by their brothers in Israel and became productive citizens.
Following the Roman conquest of Israel and the destruction of the Second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago, the Romans re-named the land of Israel "Palestine," after the extinct enemies of the Jews, the Philistines. The Romans also named the city of Jerusalem "Ilea Capitoline." This dual renaming was intended to disconnect the Jews from their homeland.
Thus the original "Palestinians" were the Jews. Indeed, throughout history, since the destruction of the Second Jewish Temple of Jerusalem till very recently, the Jews were always the ones associated with Palestine.
For about 400 years, before the reestablishment of the modern State of Israel, a vast area of the Middle East was controlled by the Ottoman Empire.
Following the defeat of the Ottomans by the British, the French and their allies, during World War I, this huge territory was divided into smaller nations.
In 1917, Great Britain and other nations recognized again the connection of the Jewish people to their ancestral homeland, and the Balfour Declaration endorsed designating a tiny piece of land of the crumbling Ottoman Empire for the Jews. The rest of the vast land was allocated to create Arab countries including Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and others.
The British created the new state of Trans Jordan (later Jordan), over about 80% of the designated land for the Jews, violating the terms of their post-WWI mandate. They aimed to solve a conflict between the Hashemite Family and the Ibn Saud Family in Saudi Arabia - and the Jews paid a heavy price, losing a large part of their homeland.
Throughout this entire period there was no mention of Arab Palestinian people as an independent entity. They never had an independent state by the name of Palestinian, they never controlled the city of Jerusalem during any period of world history, and they never claimed to be a separate nation from their Arab brothers.
The Old City of Jerusalem had a Jewish majority since 1850. The only period in recent history when Jews were not living in Jerusalem was between 1948-1967; following the Arab war of aggression against Israel, Jordanians expelled all the Jews that survived the war, and destroyed their infrastructure, including their houses of worship. In violation of the Armistice Agreement, the Jews were not allowed to visit the holy Western Wall.
As for the remaining 20% of the designated land for the Jews, in 1936 the League of Nations suggested a partition of, between the Jews and their Arab neighbors. The Jews were ready to accept the idea, but the Arabs rejected it, and it did not materialize.
A State is Born
Again in 1948, when the UN voted to create a Jewish state and an Arab state in that remaining 20% of the land, the Jews accepted it but the Arabs rejected it.
This was not just a diplomatic rejection. On the same day of the declaration of the State of Israel, seven Arab nations invaded the tiny reborn State of Israel, with clear annihilationist intent.
Following the 1948 war, Jordan controlled the "West Bank" of the Jordan River, and Egypt controlled the Gaza Strip. There was no demand and no attempt made to create a new Palestinian State in those territories.
In 1967 Egypt, Syria and Jordan launched another attempt to liquidate the State of Israel. They began by blocking Israel's waterways to their southern city of Eilat, increasing terror activity against Israel, chasing away the UN observers from the Israeli border with Egypt, and deploying an invasion army on Israel's borders. Israel pleaded with the international community to stop this madness, but nothing was done to repeal the Arab aggression. Against all odds, Israel managed to overcome these armies in six days.
The 1967 borders were never regarded as "internationally recognized borders," But rather difficult-to-defend "armistice borders." Therefore the wording of the armistice agreement was that the final borders would be negotiated at a later date, taking into account Israel's security needs.
Israel offered to negotiate peace in 1967 but got a triple-refusal from the Arab summit in Khartoum: "No peace, no negotiation, and no recognition of the Jewish State."
Despite winning the 1967 war, Israel offered to accept almost all the Arab demands. Following the 1993 Oslo accords, a generous offer of statehood was again made to the Arab Palestinian People in the year 2000 - only to be rebuffed by Arafat and his cronies, as confirmed by President Clinton and his envoy Dennis Ross.
So far, many Arabs refuse to negotiate peace with Israel, continuing instead with incitement, disinformation and terrorism, without relinquishing their hope to liquidate Israel in stages.
One tactic used to delegitimize Israel is to show a map of a "shrinking Arab Palestinian state." Yet such a state never existed in the history of nations and therefore it cannot shrink! Israel offered to create a new Arab Palestinian State on a part of the Jewish ancestral homeland, despite the fact that Israel became much smaller since the Balfour Declaration. This offer was made in the hope of achieving a peaceful resolution and a better future for all people of good will in the region. Unfortunately, Israel has no serious partner for peace on the Palestinian side. (Note that Jordan and Egypt did not make such a generous offer when they controlled this same land from 1948-1967.)
What are the legalities of the territories? The land of the West Bank, historically called Judea and Samaria, is an unallocated remnant of the Ottoman Empire and the British Mandate, which legally obligates the State of Israel to manage it. There has never been any legal limitation on people living there in settlements, whether Jewish, Christian or Muslim.
Conditions of the local Arab population in these territories have improved tremendously under Israeli control, in comparison to pre-1967 Jordanian control. The local Arabs have better healthcare, more freedom to educate their children the way they choose, greater economical growth, and more individual freedom compared to many of the other Arab countries in the region.
While some decry the separation fence, it would have never been built if not for the terrible phenomenon of suicide bombing of innocent Israelis. Following honest and productive negotiations, the final borders can be determined independently from the location of this security fence, which hopefully will not be needed.
The State of Israel is obligated to protect all its citizens - Jews, Christians and Muslims alike. The government is forced to take defensive actions from time to time. Israel undertakes serious efforts to prevent unintended casualties, and the results are far superior to similar situations in other countries in the world. But for some reason, skilled shameless propagandists blow any Israeli action out of proportion.
Certainly, the human rights record of the State of Israel is far and beyond better than the surrounding Arab States. Unfortunately, this too has been maliciously manipulated.
An analytical review of facts indicates that this conflict is not about land, because Israel has a miniscule piece of land in comparison to its neighbors, but it seems that the conflict is related to the global war of religions that is targeting their opponents in a systematic manner. Israel is being only one small piece of the puzzle. The hope of the extremists is that once Israel is liquidated they will continue their mission in Europe and the USA ("the Great Satan") and elsewhere, in order to establish a world wide Caliphate which will be dominated by Sharia Law. Some members of other religions will be allowed to survive under the Caliphate rule as Dhimies, as second-class citizens, serving the believers in Allah.
The scenario is even more complex, given the vicious ongoing war within the Muslim world between the Moderates and the Radicals, and among the various fractions of the Shiah and the Sunni groups, and among others. See the conflict in Syria, the conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the conflict within Iraq, the conflict between the Turks and the Kurds, etc.
Much of the demonization rhetoric against Israel focuses on a so-called humanitarian crisis in Gaza. In fact, Israel provides extensive humanitarian support to the people of Gaza. This includes food, healthcare and even infrastructure (as long as it is not providing the terrorists with tools to rain rockets on innocent Israeli women and children). Just to mention two examples, even the brother-in-law of the leader of Hamas traveled to Israel to receive medical treatment, and the Arab Palestinian veterinarians were given vaccines for their cows by the Israeli health authorities.
To describe how much Israel does to benefit their neighbors and the entire world would take thousands of pages. But for some reason, the media exercises very selective reporting and does not carry this news. We should cherish the good and criticize the bad under the same criteria that we use to judge every other country in the world, and we should not single out the responsible and altruistic State of Israel for harsh condemnation.
Once we judge the State of Israel on its own merits, we can clearly see a nation that is doing tremendous good in research and development, in humanitarian aid, in innovation and originality, in helping citizens from all religions, and in assisting people from around the world. When there were natural disasters, Israel sent aid all the way to Turkey, Haiti, Japan and many other nations.
Israel should be commended, not condemned, for their efforts.
I urge you to consider the objective facts, independent of longstanding political and diplomatic grudges. I refer you to a set of maps showing the evolution of the Middle East; to 25 short answers to tough questions about Israel, and to a primer of information called "Israel 101."
PJTN is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. PJTN was established to educate Christians about their Biblical responsibility to stand with their Jewish brethren and Israel, utilizing powerful film and video presentations, a variety of grassroots rallies, events and speaking engagements to facilitate dialogue between the Christian and Jewish communities in support of the State of Israel.
Proclaiming Justice to the Nations, Inc., P.O. Box 682711, Franklin, TN 37068
Notice I said "about to see." We're seeing the rapid rise of perversion even now but I believe this is just the beginning. We'll see the rise of false prophets who deceive many because, Jesus said, of the increase of wickedness (see Matt. 24:12). The mystery of lawlessness was working in Paul's day (see 2 Thess. 2:7) and that mystery is revealing the depth of its wicked plot in our day.
When I shared the prophetic word below with my intercessors, it troubled them. I understand why. It troubled me also. I decided to hold it back and pray it through but the Holy Spirit recently reminded me of these words again. These words should not breed fear but should open our eyes to what's coming, and what, in fact, is already beginning to manifest right before our eyes. Here is the word:
Calling Evil Good and Good Evil
"A tsunami of perversion and all manner of wicked sin is headed toward this nation. You've only yet seen the rumblings of what the enemy has planned. For many in your nation have called good evil and called evil good. Many in this nation have not believed you will reap what you sow.
"You have sown iniquity—for decades—and you have taken the hand of perversion. You have walked in step with abominations rather than resisting the temptations to deny my Word and my Son. The perversion in this land will increase and increase and increase.
"There will come a day when morality is no longer merely relative but is persecuted. There will come a day when evil is considered good and good is considered evil. When that day comes, those who are hidden in the shadow of My wings will be insulated from the abominations around them.
"I will raise up the likes of Abraham and Moses to deliver the righteous out of the hand of the wicked in that day. I will shield those who run into my Name. But no longer look and no longer think that you will turn the tide by your prayers alone. These things must be so. I warn you now to fear not, but to ready your hearts. Buy your oil. Be ready for My coming."
It's Not Just Sexual Perversion
Yes, we've seen the rumblings of this rising perversion but I believe it's going to grow darker still. When you think of perversion you probably immediately think of sexual perversion—and I believe that's part of it. The Bible has plenty to say about sexual perversion in Romans 1:21-28 alone and we're seeing that passage playing out right now.
After praying over this and letting it sit for some months, it became clear to me that the root of this tsunami of perversion is actually the perversion of God's Word itself. You've seen a trickle of this, but it's about to break out like a flood. Again, we're seeing prominent pastors and entire denominations perverting God's Word, twisting it to defend and justify perversion itself and suggesting the rest of us are legalistic or unenlightened about the truth. It may have started with the gay marriage doctrine but it won't end there.
We need to redeem the time, because the days are evil (see Eph. 5:16). We need to make an appeal to heaven for spiritual awakening. I believe the people who walk in darkness can see a great light (see Is. 9:2) if we refuse to stop contending for revival.
Our Only Hope Is a Great Awakening
Back in 2007, the Lord told me things in this nation would grow darker before His light shined brightly again. I believe things are on a course to grow very dark very rapidly. But I also believe in the power of prayer and faith-inspired action. I also believe in the power of preaching the gospel. I also believe God wants to bring transforming revival—a Third Great Awakening—to this nation.
It's up to us to stand in the gap. It's up to us to make up the hedge. It's up to us to weep between the porch and the altar. It's up to us to pray without ceasing. It's up to us to decree and declare God's will on the earth. It's up to us to speak the truth in love. It's up to us to take the gospel to our city. Yes, I believe it will grow darker and the perversion will rise, but I believe the glory of the Lord will rise and shine upon us again if we are faithful to obey His commands:
"Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For the darkness shall cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but the Lord shall rise upon you, and His glory shall be seen upon you. The nations shall come to your light and kings to the brightness of your rising" (Is. 60:1-3). Amen.
Want to know more about the next great move of God? Click here to see Jennifer LeClaire's new book, featuring Dutch Sheets, Reinhard Bonnke, Jonathan Cahn, Billy Graham and others.
The Hebrew word for camel is גמל “gamal” which also means “to be independent”: “And the boy grew up, and was weaned ויגמל (vayigamal)” (Genesis 21:8). The connection to the trait of independence refers to the camel's ability to survive without water for many months. Isn't it fun to see the intrinsic meaning of Hebrew words, unlike any other language in the world!
This tote bag made from sturdy cloth is adorned with an image of a caravan traveling through the desert, with the word “Israel.” Spacious and a pleasure to carry with large carrying handles attached to the top.
Camels have been an important part of the Holy Land’s landscape from Biblical times as described in today's verse. Can you guess where this photo of a camel byBoruch Len was taken? Send me an email or post your answer on Facebook!
Thank you Rabbi Weisz. I really enjoy all your postings about Israel, I sure wish I was living there...the Jews are special to the Almighty God, and He will always protect them no matter what. God bless Israel and I wish that I could help in any way at all. V.J.
I love the pics on your sight and I stand for Israel. F.J.
It was no accident that Yeshua warned His followers [and us], over and over, "Do not be deceived..." (Matt. 24:5, 11, & 24; Mark 13:6 & 22; Luke 21:8)
The world is in the midst of a battle, folks -- not a battle with "flesh and blood", but a spiritual battle against "principalities and powers, and rulers of darkness..." (Ephesians 6:12) Now, more than ever before, we Believers need to be like the Believers in the ancient city of Berea, who "searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so." (Acts 17:10-11)
The US government and universities have been infiltrated and influenced by Islamists. Why should we believe mainstream Christian churches in America are exempt? What is surprising is the disturbing depth of deception being proliferated by the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America (PCUSA) via their published study guide “Zionism Unsettled.” Some Jewish groups have called its distorted facts and a historical narrative so extreme that they label it “hate” speech. Think on this: hate speech coming out of a Christian church in America–the Presbyterian Church.
American “Zionism” dates back to 1890 and in general is a national movement for returning Jews to their homeland and a resumption of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel. After the State of Israel was formed in 1948, Zionism grew to include development of the Jewish state and its protection by supporting Israel’s Defense Forces. Instead of standing with the 70% of Americans polling in support of Jews and Israel, Presbyterians are attacking Zionism, which in turn attacks Israel and puts us all at risk at the hands of Islamic extremists.
Palestinian terrorists fired thousands of rockets towards Israeli homes, schools and businesses over the last decade. The Presbyterian study guide blatantly ignores this fact. The PCUSA vilifies Israel and Zionism, calls for the annihilation of the Jewish State and turns a blind eye away from the culpability of Arab leaders’ responsibility for the adverse plight of their own people.
The guide calls for a rethinking of the Holocaust with the mindset of including the plight of the Palestinians and the idea that Zionism equals racism. According to the Presbyterians, Zionism is to Palestinians as centuries of Christian anti-Semitism were to the Jews. These ideas place Presbyterians sitting in pews every Sunday in the camp with radical positions on serious issues that could bring about disastrous outcomes.
With skewed facts, Presbyterians, via the chapter on “Evangelicals and Christian Zionism,” portray Christians who support Israel as dangerous and a threat to Middle East peace. Dr. Gary Burge, an evangelical Presbyterian and Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College is the author from whom much of this chapter’s content was gleaned. Burge, admitting to believe in a form of “Replacement Theology,” ignores that it was a root cause of centuries of Christian anti-Semitism.
Did God abandon the Jewish people? Has he broken His promises to them? Did he choose a new people, Christians, to take their place? The very implication that Jews have been rejected, discarded and replaced because of their sin and failures poses a dire danger. It provides an excuse for fanning flames of anti-Semitism that is already spreading across the US and abroad. Do Christians, inspired by Burge, and the Presbyterian Church, desire to be a part of that all over again?
I could go into and debate or refute the arguments that Burge and PCUSA present, such as Replacement Theology, dispensationalism and dual covenant, but the real message is that the Abrahamic Covenant is an everlasting covenant. In effect, because it was a watershed moment in God’s intent to save the world from sin, that everlasting covenant has greatly influenced the course of human history. (Galatians 3:8)
The Presbyterian church may wish they were mainstream by favoring Islam over Judaism; they may wish Christians in support of Israel and the Jewish people were a fringe group, but with 70% of us for Israel the Presbyterian church is now aligned with the most extreme of the radical groups. Sabeel, founded by Naim Ateek, propagates Palestinian Liberation Theology.
Sabeel’s theology disregards any portion of scripture that disagrees with his anti-Semitic views. Liberation theology started in South America because the Communists knew they couldn’t infiltrate the Roman Catholic Church. So, they branded Liberation Theology to do the trick. Maybe the Presbyterian’s would be wise to research before they publish, because their study guide calls for churches to stop using hymns and liturgy that use the Biblical terms: exodus, covenant, return, blossoming of the desert, Zion and Israel.
Who is walking away from whom? It is the people in the pews of mainstream churches, such as the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in American (ELCA) whose members are walking away. Maybe you should do some soul searching and some investigating as to the background of your hierarchal leaders. Most Americans recognize a rat when they see one, hear one, or feel one. They certainly recognize “hate speech” when they see it.
Holding radical and anti-Semitic positions as in black and white in this disturbing Presbyterian study guide will guarantee more losses. Or, perhaps the infiltration of radicals from Islam and Progressives is so complete, that losses of the faithful and a watered down Bible and belief system is the goal.
Senior members of the Presbyterian Church (USA) last week pushed back against a study guide recently published by one of its subsidiaries that attacks Zionism (both Christian and Jewish) as the source of the Israeli-Arab conflict.
Last month, the Israel Palestine Mission Network, an affiliated non-profit that falls under the PC(USA)'s umbrella, published the study guide "Zionism Unsettled," along with a companion DVD documentary.
The guide attacks Zionism as a supremacist interpretation of the Bible, and accuses mainstream Jewish groups of a conspiracy to silence criticism of Israel. It also chastises Christians for supporting a theology that it says is akin to the Christian beliefs that "contributed to the Nazi Holocaust, the genocide of Native Americans, and countless other instances of tragic brutality."
Needless to say, the publication of "Zionism Unsettled" was deeply concerning for the many Jews who had begun to see Christians as genuine and natural allies, following centuries of overt Christian anti-Semitism.
In a statement released to the media, the leadership of the PC(USA) sought to put those concerns to rest by distancing itself from "Zionism Unsettled," if not from the authors.
"The Israel Palestine Mission Network booklet was neither paid for nor published by the Presbyterian Church (USA)," the statement read.
For some Jewish leaders, that wasn't good enough, since the Israel Palestine Mission Network falls fully under the administrative umbrella of the PC(USA).
But other Presbyterian leaders stepped in to clarify that "Zionism Unsettled" not only doesn't reflect the views of the Church's mainstream membership, it is strongly rejected by those who truly love the Jewish people.
"My first response to my friends in the Jewish community with whom I associate on a monthly basis in a Jewish-Presbyterian dialogue group is to assure them that this does not represent even close to a majority opinion," Rev. Mike Cole, a Houston-area Presbyterian leader, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
Rev. Katharine Rhodes Henderson, president of New York's Auburn Theological Seminary, added that "this document purports to be about love, but it actually expresses demonization, distortion and imbalance."
In related news, a delegation of 14 Presbyterian leaders from America were in Israel last week to get to know the Jewish state so as to better relate to the arguments and propaganda surrounding her.
Of note, the Presbyterian delegation visited the SodaStream factory in the Jewish settlement of Maaleh Adumim that was the focus of so much media attention prior to the Super Bowl.
When SodaStream contracted Hollywood super star Scarlett Johansson as its new spokesperson, anti-Israel groups looking to boycott the Jewish state threw a fit, prompting Johansson to stop her work with one such group in particular - Oxfam.
According to Israel National News, the Presbyterian leaders couldn't see what all the fuss was about, and agreed with Johansson that SodaStream's location in the so-called "West Bank" as an Israeli business providing jobs to hundreds of Palestinians is actually good for peace.
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