Lurking not too far in the background of last week’s disappointing vote by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) to divest from US companies doing business with Israel in the West Bank, is the ongoing campaign by elements within PCUSA to delegitimize Israel by using blatantly anti-Jewish ideas and themes. A driving force of this campaign is the PCUSA-affiliated activist group Israel-Palestine Mission Network (IPMN), an anti-Israel organization working with organizations committed to delegitimizing Israel, including the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and Jewish Voice for Peace.
IPMN is most infamously responsible for publishing the so-called study guide “Zionism Unsettled,” which propagates egregious anti-Israel themes long-peddled by Israel’s enemies, and is, at its core, an anti-Semitic document. Despite the obvious offensive nature of this publication, as well as the General Assembly’s approval of an overture stating that Zionism Unsettled does not “represent the views of PCUSA,” it remains available for purchase on the PUCSA website where it is absurdly marketed as a helpful guide on how to “promote more truthful relationships among followers of the three Abrahamic religions.”
Equally troubling is the anti-Semitism which permeates IPMN’s Facebook pages, as highlighted in a new report by the Israel-based watchdog organization NGO-Monitor. According to the report, the IPMN Facebook page (which was shut down in January 2012 after criticism over the posting of extremist materials and then reopened in July 2012 as a “closed but not secret” page) contains numerous postings and comments expressing age-old anti-Semitic themes, as well as links to anti-Semitic articles and websites. Examples include:
- Youtube video titled: “Zionist controlled America’s desperate lust for Iran War”
- Article in “Ugly Truth”, a blog run by the anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist Mark Glenn
- Poster mocking “The genetic ancestry of Jews” and their historic connection to the land of Israel
- Cartoon depicting a stereotypical “ultra-Orthodox” Jew ruthlessly killing an innocent Palestinian
While IPMN’s Facebook page only has about 300 members, the content is consistent with and amplifies some of the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic themes contained in Zionism Unsettled.
It is greatly troubling that despite IPMN’s evident hostility towards Jews and anti-Israel animus, PCUSA has not only failed to repudiate their egregious views but still remains affiliated with IPMN. There is no doubt that falsehoods promoted by IPMN in Zionism Unsettled have negatively influenced the attitudes of some PCUSA members towards Israel, and perhaps even Jews, and provided an offensive backdrop to the General Assembly’s passage of the Israel divestment resolution.
It is time for PCUSA to denounce IPMN for their abhorrent views and fully disassociate itself from the organization.