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Phony gestures of friendship do not advance dialogue

DECEMBER 7, 2017 – The jointly written letter of Rev. Dr. Wendy Von Courter and Rabbi David J. Meyer (Jewish Journal, Nov. 30, 2017) disarms the bitter confrontation embroiling the two faith communities and provides a period of relief.

However, for many of us, the basic charge that the reverend, and some of her congregants, (hereafter referred to as the Church), is engaging in behavior which is anti-Semitic, and is unaddressed in the letter, and unresolved.

The reverend is an open supporter of the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction movement (BDS) which despite denials, seeks to destroy the economy and legitimacy of the State of Israel.

Israel is a solid, vibrant, successful democracy, whose values include equality for all of its citizens, irrespective of gender, sexual orientation, or religious belief. Golda Meir was its prime minister not long ago. Women have served and do serve as chief justices of Israel’s Supreme Court. Women serve importantly in every aspect of the nation’s life, including the military, and women, Jewish and Muslim, serve as full members of Israel’s parliament. Israeli Jewish children are taught to respect and love their fellow human beings, and to revere life. Israel is the safe haven for the LGBTQ community in the Mideast.

On the other hand, Palestin­ian society is a harshly patriarchal society, in which women are an underclass, subject to “honor killings,” wide-spread genital mutilation, and male violence, all religiously sanctioned. The LGBTQ community is reviled, discriminated against, and gays are murdered with impunity. Palestinian children are inculcated with hate for Christians, Jews, and America from early childhood.

So, it can be fairly asked, why, does the Church, scorn and reject Israel, and fail to acknowledge its virtues, despite sharing its core values?

Paradoxically, hypocritically, and beyond belief, the Church, without a hint of criticism for its flawed values, contrary to those of the Church, chooses to embrace and support the Palestinians, who despise them.

Such an unnatural choice can only leave a fair observer to conclude that the Jewish people are out of favor with the Church, which consequently can be legitimately branded as anti-Semitic.

Another question that should be asked of the Church is its position on Replacement Theology, a theory that G-d has abandoned the Jewish people and rescinded His promises to them, in favor of the followers of Christ. This theory has been adopted by many mainline Protestant churches, and is the source of much covert anti-Semitism in the United States.

Despite the friendly, collegial tone of the letter, it is hard to believe that the warmth between the writers, and the institutions they represent, is more than a veneer; beneath which there is concealed animosity by the Church. If the Church is to be disabused of its anti-Semitism, it must abandon support of the BDS, and a Palestinian society that seeks Israel’s destruction, and its hostility to the State of Israel.

This is what future discussions between the parties should focus upon, rather than phony gestures of friendship.

Robert I. Lappin is the founder of the Lappin Foundation. 

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • carol denbo December 7, 2017, 11:07 am

    great piece Bob!
    Straight on!

    • Peter V. Kent December 9, 2017, 9:40 pm

      Bull feathers. Straight from the propaganda of the Israeli government.

  • tom gale December 9, 2017, 11:00 pm

    You sir are ignorant of the values espoused by my church and its denomination. You can not see the truth of what is happening in your so-called democratic country of Israel; it violates human rights everyday; I am tolerant of all religions; i grew up under what i now see as the propaganda of the Bible”s Old Testament; I believe in the UUA’s 1st Principle – the worth and dignity of every person.’ Which includes you. I support BDS and see that it”s focus in on Israel’s government because it says it is democratic, yet it occupies Palestinian Territory and violates their human, civil and basic rights everyday. I have practiced non-violence ever since i returned from the vietnam conflict, another travesty of justice which we still pay for.
    I saw this film ‘Occupation of the American Mind’ an excellent expose; I was saddened that the viewers there were not enraged by the injustices & crimes that were shown in the film – One woman even encouraged us to seek out the other view of Israel, missing the point that that is all we get in the US is Israel’s view even to the point that Israel has submitted to every state and our US Congress bills to curb our !st Amendment rights by making it a crime to support BDS!
    Even our Democrat Congress is supporting it because of money from Israeli PACs. Please sir, look into your conscience and not your fears. show respect for your fellow human beings, and possibly love; only then will there be peace and justice in the Promised Land!

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