Presbyterian Church USA blasts ‘apartheid’ Israel at its General Assembly
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Presbyterian Church USA blasts ‘apartheid’ Israel at its General Assembly

Gathering passes 7 resolutions against Jewish state, including opposing anti-BDS legislation, calling Israel an apartheid state and slamming actions in Gaza

Illustrative image of people attending the 220th General Assembly (2012) of the Presbyterian Church (USA) at the David Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh listen to a session on Thursday, July 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Illustrative image of people attending the 220th General Assembly (2012) of the Presbyterian Church (USA) at the David Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh listen to a session on Thursday, July 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

The Presbyterian Church USA passed several resolutions critical of Israel at its biennial General Assembly.

Among the 11 resolutions on Israel that the assembly dealt with late on Friday was one opposing anti-BDS legislation at the state and federal level, and another referring to Israel as an apartheid state. The assembly also voted against resolutions that it said were not sufficiently critical of Israel because they also mentioned Palestinian transgressions, particularly the terrorist group Hamas.

The assembly also passed two resolutions from its Middle East Committee that were not Israel-related, one dealing with the crisis in Syria and one on disengagement from Iran.

A resolution on the recent violence between Gazan Palestinians and Israeli troops on the border with the coastal strip was stripped of references to the terrorist organization Hamas, which has fomented violence on the border. The amended resolution completely removing Hamas, about which some members of the Middle East Committee expressed misgivings, passed by a vote of 438-34, according to the Presbyterian Outlet news service.

The assembly approved by a vote of 442-18 a measure urging Presbyterians to “reach out in open, truthful dialogue with Jewish colleagues,” to discuss the issue of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

A resolution that calls on RE/MAX LLC to stop handling property sales in Israeli settlements passed by a vote of 393-55.

The assembly also voted against a resolution that would have ended the church’s classification of Israel as a “colonial project.” It also voted down a resolution “For the Protection of the Children of Israel and Palestine,” saying it conflates the treatment of Palestinian children under the rule of the Palestinian Authority and of Hamas in Gaza and does not focus enough on Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinian children.

The American Jewish Committee condemned the assembly for the resolutions. “The Church remains obsessively critical of Israel in its national utterances,” AJC’s director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations, Rabbi Noam Marans, said in a statement. “For many years and in myriad ways, the PCUSA has gone beyond legitimate criticism of Israel and embraced demonization of the Jewish state.”

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