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March 22, 2019

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PAGE 4A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MARCH 22, 2019 By Dexter Van Zile and theological grounding necessary to speak credible words of peace to both Israelis and (JNS)--On paper, the United Church of Palestinians. Israelis and Palestinians might Christ should be well-equipped to promote not like everything the church's peace activ- peace between Israel and the Palestinians. ists would have to say about the conflict, but The UCC, a liberal Protestant denomination if UCC leaders applied the proclamations in an with 800,000 members and a little less than honest and responsible manner, neither the 5,000 churches in the United States, has said Israelis nor the Palestinians would be able to all the right things about the Jewish people, dismiss the church's pronouncements about anti-Semitism and the type of things that need the conflict. Norwould either side be able to say to happen in warring countries for peace to that the denomination is in their hip pocket. take place. In 1987, the denomination's Gen- Butasitstands, veryfewIsraelisorAmerican eral Synod passed a resolution condemning Jews take much of anything the UCC says about anti-Semitism. And two years before that, the the conflict seriously while the Palestinian same body passed a resolution declaring the Christians falsely portray the denomination as UCC to be a "just peace" church, being part of the BDS movement, even though In this resolution, the General Synod made the church's money managers still own stock a number of faith proclamations that, if ap- in companies that were proscribed in a 2015 pliedtotheArab-Israeliconflict, would give its "divestment" resolution (which as it turns members and peace activists the intellectual out, wasn't really a divestment resolution, but Contemporary Hamans and their predecessors By Mel Pearlman peaceably lived in order to satisfy their own petty jealousies, gain political advantage, This past week we celebrated the holiday of blame the Jews for their own short-comings, Purim. It is a festive holiday because it corn- and play out their own fears, insecurities and memorates the victory of the Jewish citizens quest for power by seeking to alienate the Jews of Persia over their fellow citizens who were from the general population. given license by the king's decree to destroy Today, the Hamans come in all genders and the Jews in their midst, backgrounds disguised in more sophisticated How did it come about that the people costumes and roles. They masquerade as of the Persian Empire, who peacefully lived congressional representatives from Min- side-by-side with their Jewish neighbors for nesota, Michigan, and New York. They take many generations, suddenlyweremanipulated positions of leadership in organizations to to follow the king's decree to vanquish their fight oppression where they themselves be- fellow citizens of the Jewish faith? come the oppressors. They cloak themselves And a more poignant question is what led in pseudo-respectability and try to hide their the king, who was pre-occupied with his own hatred of Jews in euphemisms and metaphors, pleasures of the flesh and who reigned over which turn out to be the same old tropes of a peaceful and apparently contented Persian anti-Semitism. society, to issue such a decree that clearly Theyhidebehindtheshieldsofracial, ethnic would endanger the stability of his kingdom? and feminist victimhood to avoid criticism Theanswertoboththesequestionsissimple: of their own prejudices, racism and ethnic a man named Haman. Haman was a highly misogyny. They use American freedom and rankedandpower-hungrygovernmentofficial, democracy in an attempt to destroyAmerican who was the influential and trusted adviser to freedom and democracy. Social media has the king. From this high and trusted position magnified the menace they represent. and his quest for personal power, recognition These Hamans may have their day in the and honor at any cost, he was able to ma- media and in the halls of Congress, but the nipulate the king with false representations American people are too smart, too devoted to create suspicions in the king's mind that to the Constitution and to their heritage of the Jews within the kingdom were disloyal, a freedom and fair play to follow these Hamans. threattohisreign, andneededtobeeliminated. Just as the biblical Haman did not prevail Haman's plot to alienate and ultimately and was hanged from the same gallows he destroy the Jews was motivated, according to prepared for the Jews; and just as the subse- the biblical account in the Book of Esther, by quent Hamans of history were defeated, these his petty jealously of Mordechai who refused modern day Hamans of whatever gender and to bow down before him; and his subsequent background, and whatever manifestations of humiliation when the king ironically decided hate they embrace, will be consumed by their to have Haman lead the procession to publicly own evil intentions. honor Mordechai for foiling a plot to assas- In you wish to comment or respond you sinate the king. can reach me at melpearlman322@gmail. The intervention of Queen Esther on behalf com. Please do so in a rational, thoughtful, ofherpeople, whoexposedHaman'streachery, respectful and civil manner. persuaded the king to issue a second decree MelPearlman holdsB.S. &M.S. degrees in to permit the Jewish people to take up arms physics as well as a J.D. degree and initially to successfully defend themselves,came to Florida in 1966 to work on the Gemini In the history of the Jewish people there andApollo space programs. He has practiced have been many Hamans down through the law in Central Florida since 1972. He has ages who have sought to alienate the Jewish servedaspresidentoftheJewishFederationof people from the societies in which they have GreaterOrlando;wasacharterboardmember, resided peacefully with their non-Jewish fel- first Vice President and pro-bono legal coun- low citizens, sel of the Holocaust Memorial Resource and These Hamans have always disregarded Education Center of Central Florida, as well the Jewish contributions to the welfare of as holding many other community leadership the communities and nations in which they positions. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. ISSN 0199-0721 CENTRAL FLORIDA'S INDEPENDENT JEWISH VOICE Winner of 46 Press Awards Editor/Publisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor News Editor Gene Starn Kim Fischer Christine DeSouza HERITAGE Florida Jewish News (ISN 0199-0721) is published weekly for $37.95 per year to Florida ad- dresses ($46.95 for the rest of the U.S.) by HERITAGE Central Florida Jewish News, Inc 207 O'Brien Road, Suite 101, Fern Park, FL 32730. Periodicals postage paid at Fern Park and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes and other correspondence to: HERITAGE, P.O. Box 300742, Fern Park, FL 32730. Society Editor Office Manager Gloria Yousha Paulette Alfonso Account Executives Kim Fischer Marci Gaeser Contributing Columnists Jim Shipley Mel Pearlman David Bomstein Ed Ziegler MAILING ADDRESS PHONE NUMBER P.O. Box 300742 (407) 834-8787 Production Department Fern Park, FL 32730 FAX (407) 831-0507 David Lehman Gil Dombrosky email: Joyce Gore mere window dressing). The denomination's leaders, staffers and peace activists regularly invoke the 1985 "just peace" resolution in their pronouncements about the conflict, but the church simply does not abide by its demands. It weighs in on the side of the Palestinians against Israel every time it opens its mouth about the conflict. The 1985 "just peace" resolution declares that the church is"a real countervailing power to those forces that divide, that perpetuate hu- man enmity and injustice, and that destroy." It also calls on local churches to stand "against social structures comfortable with violence and injustice." But if you look through the resolutions passed by the denomination's General Synod since the late 1960s, the denomination has said next to nothing about anti-Jewish and anti-Israel incitement broadcast by Arab and Muslim leaders over the past few decades. In particular, the denomination's General Synod has not said a word about the anti- Semitic incitement broadcast by Imams in AI-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount. Such incitement, which takes place under the cus- todianship of the Jordanian government and the leadership of the Palestinian Authority, is a violation of the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, but the UCC's General Synod has said nothing about this violation of interna- tional law. The 1985 resolution condemns "all label- ing of others as enemies and the creation of institutions that perpetuate enemy relations" and affirms that nations should provide "public education that portrays other nations fairly, breaking down enemy stereotypes and images." If applied to the Israel-Palestine conflict, these passages would require a condemna- tion of the hate-filled textbooks, children's television shows and Facebook images that encourage school-age Palestinians to view Jews as their eternal enemies. To be fair, one resolution put on the agenda of the 2007 Gen- eral Synod did try to address this issue, but the UCC's board of directors effectively buried this resolution and the denomination's staffers by putting it on a consent calendar for approval. Church staffers do not even list this resolution with the other resolutions about the conflict Letter from Israel By Ira Sharkansky There are polls every day or two. You can see the latest at poll- ing for the 2019 Israeli legislative elec- tion They pretty much are showing a tie, or close to it between the center-left and the right. Bibi is a sharp campaigner, managing to label his opponents the leftists, with the help of media and the Arabs. According to him, they are manufacturing stories that would incriminate him. There's nothingwrong about accepting a few cigars or bottles of champagne from close friends. He's more articulate--in both Hebrew and English--than his opponents, and seems to have convinced asubstantial part of the popula- tion that his service is essential to the nation. We've heard interviews with people who say that Bibi could get as many cigars and bottles of champagne as he wants; that he's working 24/7 for Israel, and that's what's important. It's either Bibi or Tibi, according to one of his slogans. Tibi is the head of one of the Arab parties, also an MD, and probably important in any- thing that the Blue and White Party of Gantz, Lapid, Ya'alon, andAshkenazi could do to form a government. Assuming that materials gathered by the Legal Adviser to the Government will go to Bibi's lawyers a day after the election, and that they'll have 3-4 months to get ready for hearings; another 3-4 months for hearings; and another 3-4 for the Legal Adviser to the Government to decide finally on indictments; then a year for a trial and appeals. Fromwhatwe hear, Bibi is planning to serve as prime minister through all of that. So far, we're hearing from ministers in his government that they'll stay with him at least until there is a final decision on an on the church's website. In sum, the UCC has remained silent about Palestinian incitement. The "just peace" resolution also declares thatthe"state should be based on participatory consent and should be primarily responsible for developing justice and well-being, enforcing law, and minimizing violence in the process." This would seem to necessitate a critique of the PalestinianAuthority and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas, who has not held an election to affirm his legitimacy in more than a decade, but the UCC's General Synod has refrained from commenting on his corrupt, unaccountable and authoritarian rule. This is a big deal. Polling data indicates that many Palestinians support a negotiated settlementwith Israel, but because democratic institutions are non-existent in the West Bank and Gaza, rank-and-file Palestinians have no mechanism to make it happen. This is not a subject that peacemakers in the UCC or any other mainline denomination have addressed. When would-be peacemakers remain silent about Palestinian misdeeds while banging on about the things Israel does to protect its citizens, it promotes Jewish fears of isolation and fear. By doing what it has done over the past few decades, the UCC's General Synod has made things worse, not better. In his most recent book, "Catch-67: The Left, The Right, and the Legacy of the Six-Day War," Micah Goodman reports how Palestinian violence has activated an age-old "Jewish fear in the Israelis' subconscious." Sadly enough, this is exactly what the UCC-- a self-declared "just peace" church--has assisted in this process. By remaining silent about Palestinian misdeeds, it has provoked Jewish fear. And by placing all the blame for Palestinian suffering on Israel, it has affirmed Arab and Muslim feelings of humiliation even when the cause of such humiliation lies with Arab and Muslim leaders themselves. In do- ing these things, the UCC's General Synod has placed itself on the side of fear, anger and bloodshed. That's the wrong side of history to be on. Dexter Van Zile is Christian media analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA). His opinions are his own. indictment. And from some Likud ministers the need for Likud to lead the country. That doesn't necessarily mean Bibi, but who can be sure. Reports are that Bibi has support from reli- gious Jews, many of whom are settlers in the West Bank, as well as from die hard Likudniks. The latter include individuals convinced that they are on the outside of a cluster that includes left wing Ashkenazi intellectuals who control the media, the police, and the prosecutors. That Bibi and key ministers in his government are all--or nearly all--Ashkenazim doesn't seem to deter the thinking. We've heard from Likudniks who identify Bibi with King David, for his power and wisdom. There's an element of the mystic that belies what we know about the cement that usually links politicians with their supporters. Bibi's campaign reminds us of his American friend, Donald Trump. Truth seems to have no weight. Gantz et al deny allegations that they would withdraw Jews from the West Bank and divide Jerusalem with the Arabs. Ahmad Tibi will not be quick to join with Gantz. But Bibi's rhetoric continues, and is echoed in comments from supporters, that it's either Bibi or Tibi thatwill be at the center of Israel's government. I hear from a number of Americans about an increase in anti-Semitism. Some link it to Bibi and what's perceived as a right-wing government unfriendly to Palestinians. This is a shallow view, not taking account of Palestinian resistance to anything but all that they want. It also requires me to indicate, once again, that Palestinians are strongest outside this corner of the Middle East. No sane govern- ment can seem to function without support for a Palestinian State. But what would it be? It isn't Bibi who has stood fast, but the majority of the Is- raeli population. Polls are showing the Jewish Sharkansky on page 15A