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Divest from the World Council of Churches
By Dexter Van Zile

[This article could be viewed originally at the following link. The writer is a member of the Judeo-Christian Alliance, an initiative of the David Project that promotes a fair and honest discussion of the Middle East conflict in Protestant churches.]

Feb. 27, 2005

Jews in the United States have every reason to express shock over the World Council of Churches' decision to encourage members to follow the lead of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in divesting from Israel.

The dominoes are falling against Israel. First, US colleges embraced the cause of divestment, next the Anglican Church announced that it was studying the issue, then the Presbyterian Church (USA) adopted the policy—and last week the World Council of Churches encouraged denominations to do the same.

It looks bad; but Jews need to understand that lay members of Christian churches remain firm in their support for the Jewish state. Jews need to reach out to Protestants in the pews of the churches that fund the WCC, telling them that the council isn't worthy of their support and that it's time to start a divestment campaign of their own—against the WCC.

Jews might be surprised at the response they get. US Christians stopped listening to the WCC long ago. Many still have not forgiven it for giving $85,000 to the Patriotic Front of Zimbabwe in 1978, months after the group shot down an airliner, killing 38 of the 56 passengers on board. Terrorists killed 10 survivors.

American Christians know the WCC has a history of supporting violent "liberation" movements in Central America, Africa and East Asia.

They know the WCC ignored the plight of dissidents behind the Iron Curtain and "built bridges" with killers and tyrants, just as leaders from the Presbyterian Church (USA) recently extended offers of friendship to Hizbullah, a group that killed 241 US Marines in 1983.

The reaction of Presbyterian lay members was so strong that two church employees were fired for meeting with Hizbullah, demonstrating where the denomination's true power and conscience rest—in the pews, not in the minds of the movement's theologians.

American protestants know the WCC turns a blind eye to the violence perpetrated by the Muslim regime in Sudan, instead focusing its criticism on Israel. They know this without having to read the study by the Institute on Religion and Democracy, which reports that between 2000 and 2003 the WCC issued 36 human-rights complaints against Israel and two about Sudan, where close to two million black Africans, many of them Christian, were killed and tens of thousands enslaved in a self-declared jihad waged by the Islamist regime in Khartoum.

They know the WCC is foolish to praise the leaders of the Presbyterian Church (USA) for embracing divestment, even after the denomination released a survey showing that 42 percent of the church's members oppose the decision and only 28 percent support it. Knowing all this, lay Protestants in the United States have long regarded the WCC as irrelevant.

But it's a mixed blessing. Because they have grown used to ignoring WCC pronouncements, Protestants do not understand the lethality of the organization's one-sided condemnations of Israel. They do not understand that the WCC's soft-pedaling of terrorism against Israel only encourages more terrorism against Jews.

Because US Christians spend more time listening to the pastors in their pulpits than to their denominational leaders, they don't know that some of their theologians harbor ill will toward Israel and an obsession with the Jewish state's alleged misdeeds that borders on the pathological.

Because US Christians have always enjoyed religious freedom in America they do not understand the oppression suffered by Christians in the Middle East and the threat faced by Jews in Israel.

Once US Christians understand these things—and groups like ours are making a full-court press to educate them—they will know which organizations are the true, legitimate targets of divestment.

They just have to be told. Their own leaders will not tell them, so their Jewish friends and neighbors—and their Christian allies—will have to step into the breach for the sake of Israel, the United States and all of our children.

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