The Presbyterian Church blows it

So now we’ve got the Presbyterians to worry about.

The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA passed a resolution this summer to divest itself of companies doing business with Israel. Now we hear the Episcopal Church is exploring a similar move.

Despite high-level meetings with concerned Jewish leaders, Presbyterian officials have refused to budge. The church will go ahead and strike a mighty blow — a blow for historical myopia and breathtaking unfairness.

Israel has long sought to woo world opinion, with limited success. The Palestinians, on the other hand, may not have anything resembling democratic institutions, but they do have great publicists. They have convinced the world they are the true underdogs and that Israel’s relationship to the Arabs in the territories is akin to that of apartheid-era Afrikaners and South African blacks.

As Mark Twain said, there are lies and there are damned lies.

The Presbyterian Church, a mainstream Protestant church that continues to fund “messianic” congregations that target Jews for proselytizing, has bought into the lie that Israel harbors permanent colonial designs on the territories. In fact, the vast majority of Israelis want a negotiated peace and withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza. That’s always been true.

But the Palestinians’ refusal to negotiate in good faith, their willingness to use terror as a tactic and their continued demonizing of Jews is at the root of Israel’s continued presence in the territories.

Still, the naive Presbyterian leaders believe that if only heavier burdens are brought to bear, then somehow Israel will miraculously pack up and leave the disputed territories.

The Presbyterian Church, like many other institutions and governments, applies an appalling double standard when it comes to Israel. How many nations commit horrendous crimes against their own people or their neighbors — every single Arab country leaps to mind — yet are never mentioned when it comes to compiling a divestment hit list?

Only Israel is singled out for such condemnation and punishment. And all the while, Israel remains under constant threat of low-grade or extinction-level terrorism. The church’s sanctimonious posture would be comical if it weren’t so potentially tragic.

Now is the time for friends of freedom and democracy to stand with Israel, not to cut and run. Now is the time for moral stewards like the Presbyterian Church to prove that they’re made of sterner stuff. It’s not too much to ask. It’s not so much to expect.