Divestment from Israel Dr. Michael L. Ford 11 August 2005 Since early in 2004 I have been watching a growing movement toward divestment from investment in Israel. It is happening among some of the more liberal elements of some denominations who have so compromised themselves that little they have to say has meaning among faithful Christian organizations. In fact, each of these groups are experiencing decline in membership. Their incomes from the tithing of the faithful are in decline. The enormous wealth at their disposal originates in the legacies of past believers, invested or received from trusts that were set up to support them long term. Nearly a year ago Eugene Kontorovich asked the question “What do the Presbyterian Church and the Syrian Baathist dictatorship have in common?” The answer was of course that both had pledged themselves to cutting off ties with American firms doing business in Israel. Syria began its economic warfare against Israel in 1948. Last year, just a month after Syria added Caterpillar, the American construction equipment company to its list, the 216th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted to divest. Caterpillar was noted as a particular focus of Presbyterian ire. In addition to Caterpillar; Motorola, ITT Industries and United Technologies - were selected this year from a list of several dozen possibilities by a church investment committee. The Presbyterians accused these companies of selling helicopters, cellphones, night vision equipment and other items Israel uses to enforce its occupation. What occupation? They are in territory they were basically forced to go into and win in the course of war. It is not occupied territory it is land that should be annexed to Israel as the spoils of war. Knowing that they are hypocrites and in an effort to appear evenhanded in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the church committee included Citigroup on its list of targets, alleging it had a connection to a bank accused of having a role in funneling money from Islamic charities to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. The church said it included Citigroup because it was mentioned in an article in The Wall Street Journal. The Episcopal Church U.S.A., the United Church of Christ, two regions of the United Methodist Church, as well as international groups such as the apostate World Council of Churches and the Anglican Consultative Council have urged consideration of divestment or economic pressure on Israel. The Disciples of Christ passed a resolution in July 2005 calling on Israel to tear down the barrier it has built to wall off the occupied territories, and other churches are considering similar resolutions. Amongst all the divestment rhetoric has been a continual calling for Israel to tear down the wall it has been building to separate areas ceded to the Palestinians. The churchmen ignore that the wall has helped decrease terrorism and consequently has saved lives. Since the creation of Israel, a change has taken place that affects Christianity. That is, Christians can worship there unmolested and without fear. Contrary to the attitudes of the Palestinians, Israel shares American values of religious freedom. The choosing to weigh in on the side of Palestinians is to side with people who have slaughtered Christians and defiled their holy places. Yasser Arafat, the former head of the PLO was responsible for the massacre of Christian civilians in Lebanon when his Fatah movement was based there. There is more that could be told about recent anti-Christian activities if space permitted. When you listen to the rhetoric coming from some of these people there are two things apparent. Many of the leaders in this movement are plainly anti-Semitic and there is a theological issue of Replacement Theology involved as well. That is the false belief held by some people that Israel is no longer the true Israel, but that the promises of God made to Israel has been passed over to the church. One other thing we might observe is that the leaders in this movement do not appear to represent the rank and file within the denominations. But they have grabbed control of the denominations and are bent on ramming it down the throats of the membership. For the Presbyterians alone we are talking about a 60 million dollar divestment. It is shortsighted and will cost them in the long run, a consequence that will gain no sympathy from this observer. One passing note was the divesters had the audacity to be critical of those in Israel who have protested their attitude. To me that was the height of insolence. If a person tries to damage your Nation, have you no right to protest? Apparently not if you are a Jew. Divestment is plainly anti- Israel and anti-Jewish and just plain stupid.
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