Florida Jews and Christians Outraged by Presbyterian Church (USA) vote to Divest Israel

On June 23, 2014 the Presbyterian Church (USA) voted to divest from three American companies because of their sales to Israel, by the very narrow margin of 310-303.

“This divestment decision is simply outrageous.  We at The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee are disappointed, hurt and saddened.  But we are not surprised, given the animus that a determined core group of Church officials has demonstrated against both the Jewish people and the State of Israel,” said Howard Tevlowitz, Executive Director of The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee. “This decision will undoubtedly have a devastating impact on the relations between mainstream Jewish groups and the national Presbyterian Church (USA).  We hold their leadership accountable for failing to isolate and repudiate the radical, prejudiced voices of their own denomination.”

“We will continue to show pride in Israel and be grateful for the many amazing products and technological advances that continue to originate in Israel.  And we will focus more and more of our efforts on supporting Israel, regardless of these misguided actions” added Rabbi Howard Simon and Pastor Joey Mimbs, Co-Chairs of the Federation’s Heller Israel Advocacy Initiative.

“The action by PC USA,” continues Rabbi Simon and Pastor Mimbs, “like the BDS movement as a whole, which claims to support a peaceful resolution of the complex conflict, in reality hurts the prospects for peace. It does not promote the goal of creating two states for two peoples that Israel has embraced. Instead, it places exclusive blame on Israel while ignoring the numerous times the Palestinians have refused to negotiate in good faith, oftentimes turning to violence and terror instead.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following statement on “Meet the Press” this past Sunday, “It should trouble all people of conscience and morality because it’s so disgraceful. You know, you look at what’s happening in the Middle East, and I think most Americans understand this: They see this enormous area riveted by religious hatred, by savagery of unimaginable proportions.  Then you come to Israel and you see the one democracy that upholds basic human rights, that guards the rights of all minorities, that protects Christians. Christians are persecuted throughout the Middle East. So most Americans understand that Israel is a beacon of civilization and moderation.  You know, I would suggest to those Presbyterian organizations to fly to the Middle East, come see Israel for the embattled democracy that it is, and then take a bus tour. Go to Libya, go to Syria, go to Iraq, and see the difference. And I would give them two pieces of advice: One is make sure it’s an armor-plated bus. And, second, don’t say that you’re Christians.”

Tevlowitz concludes, “nonetheless, we at JFSM are deeply disappointed that the national leadership of a prominent group has taken such counterproductive measures, but we remain committed to challenging these growing assaults on Israel’s legitimacy and its right to exist as a Jewish state.”

Presbyterian Church USA joins BDS movement
Presbyterian Church USA Defeats Motion to Care for Babies Born Alive After Abortion
Israeli Leader Criticizes Presbyterian Divestment Decision (AP)
It’s Time to Leave the Presbyterian Church (USA)
Read a lengthy explanation via Huffington Post
Former KKK Grand Wizard Congratulates Presbyterian Church USA on Israel Divestment Vote