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Presbyterian Mission Network Responds to Simon Wiesenthal Center Attack

NEW YORK, December 4—The Israel Palestine Mission Network, a key player in assuring the passage of the Presbyterian Church’s Middle East Study Committee Report at the denomination’s national assembly in July, has responded to the recent attack on the church which appeared in an Op-Ed piece written by Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in the Wall Street Journal on December 3rd.

“The Simon Wiesenthal Center is up to its old tricks,” said Rev. Jeffrey DeYoe, Advocacy Chairperson for the Network.  “This is not the first time they have wrongly accused Christian traditions that are committed to overcoming injustice in the Holy Land of demonizing the Jewish people.”

Early in 2010 the Wiesenthal Center attacked the Presbyterian Middle East Study Committee report even before it had been made available for public review.   When the report was finally approved by an overwhelming majority at the Presbyterian General Assembly in Minneapolis in July, various Jewish observers expressed differing views both in support and opposition.

“In a world where an occupying nation with the most powerful standing army in the Middle East can claim victimhood, even while it effectively inflicts apartheid on an entire indigenous people, Rabbis Hier and Cooper have much to try to defend…or spin,” DeYoe reflected, “to say nothing of their Center’s entanglement in the controversial ‘Museum of Tolerance’ project in Jerusalem – a museum being built on the site of an ancient Muslim cemetery.”

In its attack on the Presbyterian Church (USA) the Rabbis mistakenly claimed that Presbyterians called for divestment from Israel in 2004.   What the church did was call for its Mission Responsibility Through Investment Committee to examine where its funds are invested, and to withdraw them if such investments contribute to injustice and human rights abuses.  The Presbyterian Church has never called for divestment from, or boycott of Israel.  The primary targets of the proposed divestment action were U.S. corporations profiting from military occupation.   The church has a longstanding record of not investing in any corporations that engage in such behavior anywhere in the world.

DeYoe went on to point out:   “Whether Rabbis Hier and Cooper like it or not, the real facts on the ground in Israel and Palestine are human and plain to see: the land is made up of Israelis and Palestinians who are Jewish, Christian and Muslim on both sides of the Green Line.  The vast majority of all these peoples are peaceful and law-abiding.  It is the conviction of our network, and our church, to work for the security, peace and human rights of all God’s people in the Holy Land.”

Contact: The Rev. Dr. Jeffrey DeYoe, Advocacy Chair

www.theIPMN.org

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Letter to the Editor, Wall Street Journal

To the Editor:
Once again, Rabbi Marvin Hier and Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center are charging the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the World Council of Churches with “anti-Israel politics.” This is yet another recent example of the Wiesenthal Center confusing the Christian pursuit of human rights with the demonization of the Jewish people.
To set the record straight: The Presbyterian Church (USA), received the Kairos Palestine document for study; it did not “endorse” it. Neither did it call for divestment from Israel in 2004. The church did call for its Mission Responsibility Through Investment Committee (MRTI) to examine where its funds are invested, and withdraw them if such investments contribute to injustice and human rights abuses or profit from military occupation. The Presbyterian Church (USA) has a longstanding record of not investing in any corporations that engage in such behavior anywhere in the world.
Carol Hylkema, Moderator
The Israel Palestine Mission Network of The Presbyterian Church (USA)

The above letter was NOT published by the Wall Street Journal. In fact, the paper published NONE of the many letters that were sent.

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