Thursday, June 23, 2005

Anti-Divestment Petition


To the members and friends of the Episcopal-Jewish
Alliance for Israel:
The Alliance is now working with the Judeo-Christian
Alliance (JCA) and the David Project to combat the
divestment fever sweeping the mainline Protestant
churches. The Presbyterians have voted to divest;
there are two divestment proposals before the United
Church of Christ meeting in Atlanta next week; and the
Anglican Peace and Justice Network has proposed
divestment for the Anglican communion as well.

The JCA yesterday issued the following press release;
the web address of the petition can be found at the
end of the press release. I urge you to sign, and to
pass this message around as widely as you can.

Contact: Dexter Van Zile of the Judeo-Christian
Alliance, 617-428-0012 or

BOSTON, June 21 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Two prominent
Episcopalian bishops are warning their church not to
support the anti-Israel divestment campaign that is
splitting Protestant churches in the U.S. Divestment,
they warn, places exclusive blame for the Arab/Israeli
conflict on Israel, promoting an understanding that
"is entirely inconsistent with the actual history of
this long and tragic conflict."

Their warning comes in the form of an anti-divestment
petition released in conjunction with the
Judeo-Christian Alliance, an initiative of the David
Project, a Boston-based group that promotes a fair and
honest discussion of conflict in the Middle East.

The two bishops, Rev. Geralyn Wolfe of Rhode Island
and Rev. Edward S. Little of Northern Indiana warn
fellow Episcopalians that divestment "seems to justify
the tactics of terrorists. This would only encourage
the violence the church hopes to end, and the
continued suffering of Arabs and Israelis for years to

JCA President Dennis Hale, Ph.D., an Episcopalian
himself, says the willingness of the bishops to oppose
divestment publicly indicates just how divisive the
campaign has been for churches.

"For a long time, Protestant leaders have been forging
close ties with those who are pledged to the
destruction of Israel, falsely claiming to be pursuing
'peace and justice'," Hale says. "They are in fact
prolonging this terrible conflict. Divestment is just
another way of saying that Israel has no right to
defend itself and therefore no right to exist."

The bishops' announcement comes days before the United
Church of Christ's General Synod addresses two
divestment proposals and another calling on Israel to
dismantle the separation barrier that has saved
hundreds of Arab and Israeli lives since 2003.

Dexter Van Zile, a member of the UCC and director of
the JCA says the resolutions are a consequence of the
propaganda spread by the denomination's leadership.

"UCC leaders have shamelessly fronted for Sabeel, an
anti-Israel group that has dusted off the deicide
charge against Jews and has directed its energy
against the Israel," he says. In the next few days,
Van Zile will release a report about Sabeel's
teachings of contempt.

James Hutchins founder of, a Web
site that confronts the political activism of the
denomination's leadership, expressed concern about the
UCC's connection to Sabeel.

"Sabeel's political rhetoric doesn't build bridges, it
builds animosity and contempt," Hutchins says.

The petition can be seen at:

Dennis Hale
Director, Episcopal-Jewish Alliance for Israel


BTW, for a handy resource debunking all of the anti-Zionist propaganda that has captured the political left, the religious left, the elite media, the Muslim media, and academia, cf.


  1. And to think that I could support Israel and yet (as I understand it) not be allowed to publicly proclaim the Gospel. To support or not support Israel? And to what end?


  2. I believe that evangelism is legal in Israel, although certain restrictions apply. See the following:

    Since, of course, Israel receives foreign aid from the US, we should lobby for the elimination of all such restrictions.

  3. I really don't understand why the support for Israel in a religious context from Christians. In other words, why make it a religious (read: Christian) move rather than a political one?


  4. Hi John. I guess I don't follow your question.

    i) The context of the original post was not religious support for Israel, but religious opposition to Israel by liberal denominations. It is the religious left which is framing the divestment debate in religious terms by taking an official denominational stand.

    ii) Certainly one can support Israel for political rather than religious reasons. One can support Israel on the grounds that Israel is a better ally than the Arab world or Muslim world. Israel is basically friendly to the US, whereas the rest of the Mideast is basically hostile.

    iii) Mind you, this has a religious dimension as well. It goes to Muslim hatred of Christians and Jews.

    iv) One could also support Israel on the grounds that a people-group has a right not to be liquidated en mass (the final solution).

    v) At the same time, one can support Israel for religious reasons without being a dispensationalist.

    For example, there are Messianic Jews living in Israel. We should have a brotherly concern for their survival.

    vi) Moreover, there is an elect remnant among the Jewish people who will come to faith in Christ. That is another reason to support Israel.

    Such support is not unconditional, any more than support for our own gov't is unconditional.

    vii) Furthermore, Israelis, unlike Muslims, allow us to do Biblical archeology.

  5. Sorry, I wasn't necessarily replying directly to the context of the original article. Just what seemed to be a related topic that is of Christians supporting Israel in a religious sense.

    Muslims do hate Christians and Jews, however, Muslims and Jews hate Christ which is or should be the issue for Christians. So I am saying that Christians supporting Israel on religious grounds are doing more of a disservice by putting the Gospel second if at all. There are Christians who celebrate feast days with non-Christian Jews which again is not productive to the Gospel.

    We had a similar discussion like this not too long ago on the Puritanboard. Do you have an opinion of

    I am sure there are elect all over the Middle East. In some respects it comes down to, "Biblically, who is Israel?" and "Who is Israel that we see today?"

    I understand the political aspect of supporting Israel to a point. I am really trying to get a better grasp of much of this and I still don't fully understand why the US supports Israel the way it does. I guess I get images of John Hagee standing there and making everything in the Bible point to modern day Israel.

    Thanks for your comments, Steve. Maybe I am just too dispensationally sensitive.


  6. i) There's a sense in which both groups hate Christ, although that's a circular proposition: they hate what they don't know, and they don't bother to know due to their hatred.

    There is, however, a material difference between hating and killing. Miltant Muslims are killing, and trying to kill, everyone whom they associate, rightly or wrongly, with the Christian faith, viz., Americans and Arabs who collaborate with Americans.

    ii) I'd add that there's an asymmetry between the two groups. Secular Jews, like their secular cobelligerents generally, pose a legal threat to Christian expression whereas non-secular Muslims pose a physical threat to Christian expression.

    iii) Why it is US policy to support Israel is a question which may admit different answers depending on the period of history. It was originally bound up with the UN and WWII and the Holocaust, as well as the Jewish input in the Democrat Party. To some extent that's still the case.

    But when fundamentalists (e.g., Falwell) reentered the political fray, along with other like-minded Christians (e.g., Robertson), that infused the cause with a dispensational angle.

    I, however, have given reasons which are separable from that.

    iv) Yes, there are also Arab Christians, but Islam is a threat to Arab Christians as well. Just look at Lebanon, or Bethlehem.

    v) As to the open letter, I'll post a separate statement on that.