Skip to main content

Methodist Church divestment group forcefully rejects American Jewish Committee attack

Methodist Church divestment group forcefully rejects American Jewish Committee attack

Members of United Methodist Church have responded forcefully to an attack from Rabbi A. James Rudin, the “senior interreligious adviser” of the American Jewish Committee, just as the Church’s upcoming national conference is to vote on a major initiative to divest from companies profiting from Israeli occupation and human rights abuses against Palestinians.

Writing in The Washington Post, Rudin belittled the divestment initiatives in the Methodist and other Protestant churches as “pointless,” and deployed the now standard tactic of trying to divert attention away from Israel by berating church members for a “biased double standard that judges Israel much more harshly than its neighboring nations and terrorist organizations including Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah.”

Not taking the bait

United Methodist Kairos Response (UMKR), a group organizing in favor of the divestment initiative rejected Rudin’s criticism in a statement sent out by email:

“It’s unfortunate that Rabbi Rudin chose to avoid addressing the substantive issues around divestment, like Israel’s brutal occupation of Palestinian land and denial of Palestinian freedom, instead focusing on canards like the size of church membership,” said UMKR member Connie Baker. “If Rabbi Rudin is truly interested in inter-religious dialogue as he claims, we invite him to meet with us to discuss what we are doing and why we are doing it, instead of publishing op-eds attacking us.”

UMKR also refused to take the bait, implied in Rudin’s article, that church divestment initiatives were motivated by anti-Jewish sentiment:

UMKR members have always been, and remain, dedicated to inter-religious dialogue and cooperation with Jewish and other religious groups. In fact, the United Methodist divestment proposal has support from many Jewish groups around the world. UMKR has worked with Jewish and Israeli partners from the beginning of our efforts on divestment. The struggle to end Israel’s occupation, like all civil rights struggles before it is an interfaith effort. Deep and lasting interfaith friendships are being formed as we stand together for equality and human rights.

According to its website, UMKR is “a grass roots effort to respond to the ’Kairos Palestine Document.’ This document is an urgent plea from Christians in the Holy Land for decisive action in support of a just peace.  It is a powerful call to churches around the world to stop talking about peace and take real steps to make peace happen.”

Assadwashing

Rudin’s editorial attempted to use what Jamil Sbitan has dubbed “Assadwashing” to distract attention from Israel:

Why are some Protestant church leaders so intent to single out Israel for financial punishment and public condemnation while Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is slaughtering his own citizens? While Egypt’s once promising quest for democracy is threatened by the extremist Muslim Brotherhood? While Hezbollah effectively controls the fragile Lebanese government?

Of course the obvious answer is that whatever anyone thinks of those countries or movements, the United States government imposes varying degrees of unilateral and international sanctions on them.

Israel, meanwhile, receives billions of dollars per year from the US government and enjoys complete diplomatic, political and legal impunity and even encouragement as it commits crimes. It is that unique impunity – the singling out of Israel for special treatment by the United States government – that has compelled Methodists to act.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

TomDispatch

TomDispatch: "Okay, it's another lemon, the second you've bought from the same used-car lot -- and for $1,000 more than the first. The transmission is a mess; the muffler's clunking; smoke's seeping out of the dashboard; and you've only had it a week. You took it, grudgingly, as a replacement for that beat-up old Camry that only lasted two months, but the salesman assured you it was a winner. No wonder you're driving onto the lot right now. Before you can even complain, the same salesman's there. He's firm. It's not his fault. You must have done something. Nonetheless, he's ready to offer you a great deal. For an extra 2,000 bucks, you can have the rusted-out Honda Prelude right behind him, the one that, as a matter of fact, has just burst into flames -- and, he assures you, it's a dandy. It may not look so great today, what with the smoking hood and all, but it's a vehicle for the ages.
Would you buy a used car from this man? (Hint…

US Military “Commemorates” Its Iraq Massacre. “Tell Them It’s the Sound of Freedom.”

US Military “Commemorates” Its Iraq Massacre. “Tell Them It’s the Sound of Freedom.”

April 23, 2014 "ICH"
-
“We gather tonight knowing that this generation of
heroes has made the United States safer and more
respected round the world.” 

(President Barack Obama, State of the Union address,
24th January 2012.)


As Easter was
celebrated in the US and UK with, for believers, the
message of hope, Fallujah, the region and much of
the country is again under siege, not this time by
US mass murderers, but by the US proxy government’s
militias armed with US delivered weapons. In 2003, a
month into the invasion, Easter Day fell on the same
day as this year, 20th April, as Iraqis of all
denominations and none, died were incarcerated,
tortured, found with their heads drilled, or no
heads, thrown on garbage piles. Easter Day
the following year, 2004 fell on Sund…