On June 27, The Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) decided to remove Zionism Unsettled: A Congregational study guide (ZU) from its online store on the denomination's website.
Our network was given less than 24 hours notice. An alternative distribution for the study guide will be announced soon. We already have offers of sales outlets from our partners. A digital edition is also in the works.
The Israel Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) regrets this executive decision by denominational staff to remove Zionism Unsettled: A Congregational Study Guide (ZU) from the bookstore on the church's website, particularly as the 221st General Assembly issued a clear mandate for the Church’s online store to continue selling it.
We understand this staff decision to be in response to the ongoing attacks being leveled against PC(USA) for our principled stand in support of Palestinian human rights and justice, most notably the recent historic vote to divest from three US companies that profit from Israel's military occupation and colonization of Palestinian lands.
At the 221st GA, in commissioners' resolution that was overwhelmingly approved in the plenary as part of the consent agenda, the GA clarified that the publication “does not represent the views of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)” and directed “all Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) entities to express this statement in all future catalogs, print or online resources.” Language in the original version of the resolution that directed “the staff of the Presbyterian Mission Agency to no longer distribute Zionism Unsettled and have the document removed from the church web store immediately” was deleted in committee.
Some critics of the PC(USA) have attempted to use attacks against the booklet to distract attention away from the urgent issues of Israeli human rights abuses and violations of international law being discussed within the church, and to smear supporters of divesting from Israel's occupation as "anti-Israel" and worse.
IPMN thanks the General Assembly for its prophetic vote for divestment and for past votes endorsing a boycott of products made in illegal Israeli settlements. We are also grateful for all the other measures approved that are intended to alleviate the suffering of Palestinians and are intended to help bring a just and lasting peace to all the peoples of the Holy Land.
Our network will remain focused on our 2004 GA-mandate of educating Presbyterians and others about the plight of Palestinians and hopes that the booklet will no longer be used as a distraction by those who oppose the church's policies of divestment and boycott of settlement products.
We remain committed to non-violent resistance to human rights violations and reiterate our abhorrence to the use of violence by any party.