Presbyterian Pride and Prejudice

The Presbyterians would have flown safely to Richmond, Virginia, undoubtedly blissfully unaware that US officials now look to Israel for advice on how to handle airborne security threats.

Angela Bertz

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On June 26, 2004, planes packed with Presbyterians from 113 congregations, two new-church developments, two fellowship groups, 10 African-American congregations, two Korean congregations, and not forgetting the ominous presence of one Arabic-language fellowship, flew into Richmond, Virginia.

They had arrived to attend the 216th (2004) Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly.

Mr. Rick Ufford-Chase, moderator of the said event, recently expressed his concerns that some members of the Church were confused over their decision to divest from companies that support Israel.

That's hardly surprising; so let me help him out.

The Presbyterians would have flown safely to Richmond, Virginia, undoubtedly blissfully unaware that US officials now look to Israel for advice on how to handle airborne security threats.

Some of the Presbyterians may have felt all the worse for wear after a long flight and a tasteless in-flight meal. In fact, one of the delegates would probably have been talking excitedly of his last visit to hospital with a digestive order. He would have been aghast that doctors were able to explore his small intestine, simply by asking him to swallow a little pill containing an ingestible video camera. He would have been so relieved that it enabled his doctor to eliminate cancer that no one bothered to tell him that this innovative little idea was discovered in Israel.

The kindly Presbyterians would have attended their assembly probably giving very little thought to a terrorist attack. Luckily for them, Jerusalem's Shaarei Zedek Hospital in Israel, forced by four years of relentless Palestinian terrorism, have become experts in emergency medicine and are now exporting this expertise to hospitals though out the United States. Had the poor Presbyterians, G-d forbid, been a target of terrorism, the local hospital would probably have been prepared in dealing with mass casualties.

I am sure that a huge percentage of the 113 congregations of the Presbyterian Church would have used their mobile phones to call home. It's doubtful whether many of them would have given a thought that this wonderful piece of technology had been developed by Motorola's largest development center, in Israel. Let's not forget voice-mail technology also developed in Israel.

Some of the Presbyterians probably bemoaned the fact that little Johnny, Jenny, Suzy or Mary were too busy on the computer sending instant messages to their friends to have considered that the technology for the AOL instant messenger, ICQ, was developed in Israel. They surely would never have known that the very first anti-virus software was developed in Israel as early as 1978, long before little Jenny monopolized the computer in the den.

The Presbyterians would have shown even more surprise had someone bothered to tell them that not only does Motorola consider Israel an ideal environment to develop their products, but that global giants such as Microsoft and Cisco have built their only R&D facilities outside the US in Israel. The Presbyterians probably returned to their congregations after the assembly and used a Windows networking system to spread the word. Maybe its time someone told them that most of it was developed by Microsoft Israel.

By the way, maybe this would be a good time to tell the Presbyterians that the Pentium MMX chip technology was designed in Israel, at Intel.

Mr. Rick Ufford-Chance expressed his pride in being a Presbyterian.

Let me take this opportunity to tell the Presbyterians why I am proud of Israel. In 56 years, we have built a country from almost nothing that can today take pride in its achievements, many of which benefit Presbyterians and far outweigh those of all its neighbors put together.

We are a tiny country occupying 0.1% of the land mass of this region. We are surrounded by hundreds of millions of hostile neighbors. These neighbors have no interest in benefiting from Israel's superiority in technology and medicine, but have openly declared their only agenda is the annihilation of the tiny Jewish state.

The Presbyterian news release #04424 states, "Part razor?wire fence and part 25 foot concrete wall, the barrier cuts deep into land that has not yet been formally negotiated."

No wonder the Presbyterians are confused.

Let me take this opportunity to set the record straight. In July 2000, at Camp David, Yasser Arafat was offered the best deal the Palestinians are ever likely to get ? 97% of their demands were met, including the unthinkable of Jerusalem as their capital. In fact, the negotiations came close to fulfilling UN Security Council Resolution 242, which had been the core of the Palestinians' demands. Arafat refused to even accept it as a basis for negotiation and walked out of the room.

Several weeks later, in September of that year, Arafat turned from negotiations to terrorism. For four years, the Palestinians have savagely attacked Israel with homicide bombers on our buses and in our restaurants (over 100 to date); they have lynched our soldiers, deliberately gunned down little children still strapped in their car seats, fired thousand of rockets - all in the name of armed resistance.

The Presbyterian Church chooses to overlook these facts and is simply another pathetic example of terrorism apologists. How else can you explain that so-called moral and caring Christians are prepared to meet with leaders of known terrorist organizations like Hizbullah?

The Presbyterian Church completely ignores historical facts and is seemingly unable to see any moral difference between unprovoked acts of barbaric terrorism and a country that has been forced to take defensive steps to prevent them. The Presbyterians' policy of divesting from a country that has been forced to defend itself against a Palestinian society that revels in death, demonizes its children and dances in the streets every time Israelis are blown to pieces, doesn't sound like much to be proud of.

Still, maybe the Presbyterian Church will now find life without the benefits of Israel's advanced technology more in keeping with the ideas of their 16th century founders.