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be asked of the Church is its position on Replacement Theology, a theory that G-d has abandoned the Jewish people and rescinded His promises to them, in favor of the followers of Christ.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.