As part of the Israel advocacy agency, StandWithUs, I had the misfortune of observing a large assembly of people - most of whom have never been to the Middle East and have never met a Palestinian (let alone an Israeli) - partake in an unrelenting barrage of propaganda against the Jewish State. The outcome of this Presbyterian General Assembly was a narrow victory that passed a resolution to divest from some American companies that do business with Israel. Such companies also supply equipment that saves Israeli lives.
It would be disingenuous of me to suggest that I was not distressed at the Presbyterian silence to the death of Kristine Luken Z’L - an innocent American Christian, hacked to death by Palestinian terrorists because they mistakenly thought she was Jewish.
I was grieved, but I was not shocked.
I was also not startled at the calls for partisan justice, the hijacking of the agenda, the skewing of the debate or the silencing of alternative views; Israelis are well used to that when it comes to making a case for our right to exist.
I was not even amazed at their wilful ignoring of the atrocities in Iraq, Iran and Syria. Even the spurning of Christian Palestinian victims of Palestinian Islamist terrorism came as no surprise. It was not their hatred that astonished me; it was their blistering, objectionable hypocrisy.
As each Presbyterian stood on the platform, he or she preached from the New Testament - an undeniable, albeit contentious, Second Temple Jewish text. Words such as ‘synagogues’ and ‘Temple’ flowed from their lips as each endeavoured to inspire. The utterances of terms such as ‘rabbis’ and ‘Law,’ fell on deaf ears. Chillingly reminiscent of our own tradition, the Presbyterian assembly then stood to pray and further recited Psalms written by an Israelite King.
Then they condemned the Jewish State.
I thank G-d for the sort of antisemitism that cannot conceal its loathing of Jews. Berating and venom are both easier to identify and far more aboveboard than the nauseating, patronising Presbyterian voice of ostensible ‘love-and-concern-for-our-brothers-and-sisters-the-Jewish-people.’
The manner in which some of those in favour of the divestment vehemently attempted to convince that they were unblemished by medieval antisemitism, was nothing short of odious.
Their inquisition incredulously and hypocritically concluded with a prayer for the safety of our three hijacked teenagers. I hope StandWithUs will forgive me for logging out at that point. I had nothing left within me to stomach listening to the final hymn that echoed the passion and depth found in Kum Ba Ya.
The dynamics of this meeting were in someways a rerun of the iniquitous events of that day in the forest; a day where I witnessed evil firsthand and saw my friend stabbed to death. The Presbyterians also bound and gagged while sinisterly reassuring, ‘we are good, we don’t kill.’
With chilling indifference they took Israel hostage by binding us up with divestment. We tweeted, we appealed, we contested and we reasoned. It is indeed degrading to plead for one’s life. It is humiliating to whimper, it is to mortifying to beg. It is however an understandable response when you believe that your fate lies within the clutches of evil.
In a stupefying miscarriage of perverse bigoted justice, the assembly ignored our pleas and proceeded to butcher the Jewish State for fighting terrorism.
However, Israel, like me, is no longer gagged.
We have the freedom of speech to thank G-d for the Presbyterians in the assembly who fought so bravely against the tirade of hate. With no muzzle on our mouth we will always express appreciation for our strong Christian friends. With the unique morality required of the Jewish people, we shall refuse to use our voice to rejoice over the loss of lives of any Palestinian, innocent or enemy. Likewise, we shall resist the temptation to gloat over the instant decline in church membership, due to those righteous Presbyterians who after the vote immediately disassociated themselves in disgust from their church.
Israel, like me, is also no longer bound.
With our untied hands we shall go on building our country and investing in our future; there is still much desert that is yet to make bloom. We shall use our resources and initiative to escape the clutches of those who seek to destroy us.
We will do it because we will never be held hostage to terror, whether it be to the violence of Islamist fanaticism or to the insidious terror of perjurious ‘Christian’ concern.