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July 11, 2014

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PAGE 4A , HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JULY 11, 2014 By Gary Bretton-Granatoor NEW YORK (JTA) -- The Jewish world has been shaken by the decisionofthe Presbyterian Church (USA) to divest from three companies that it claims "further the Israeli occupation of Palestine." The denomination has placed itself squarely on the side of the divestment movement that seeks to hold Israel solely to blame for the plight of the Palestinian people. It did so, furthermore, over the opposition of many Presbyterian pastors and lay leaders. Despite protests to the contrary by the denomination's leaders, the church's embrace of divestment is an affront to the Jewish com- munity. The insult is made worse by the release earlier this year by the church's Israel/Pales- tine Mission Network of a vehemently anti- Zionist congregational study guide, "Zionism Unsettled." This ahistorical and wildly biased broadside impugned .the Jewish connection to the Land of Israel and the very legitimacy of this core element of Jewish identity. The church's recent General Assembly did pass a resolution stating that "Zionism Unsettled" does not represent the denomination's views, and it has now been removed from the Pres- byterians' publishing website. But the church still has not repudiated this egregious tome, and anyone who wants it can still buy it from the denomination's Israel/Palestine Mission Network. Regrettably, the Church--which often has been a partner of the Jewish community on critical social justice issues-- has been on a 10 - year road to this moment. At the Presbyterians' 2004 General Assembly, the church's Mission Responsihility Through Investment commit- tee called for a "phased, selective divestment in multinational corporations operating in Israel." Since then, within the church, Israel has often been compared to South Africa's nefarious apartheid regime. Even worse, these ostensibly political ac- By Moshe Phillips and doesn't seem like the bureau's Palestinian Benyamin Korn operation is doing much law enforcement. For despite all the American aid they receive, the One of the most important, but least: Palestiniansecurityforcesdon'toperateinthe reported stories connected to the recent refugee camps, which are known as hotbeds kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers by Pales- of terrorist activity. They don't operate in PA- tinian terrorists is the discovery of numerous controlled Hebron, where numerous civilian terrorist tunnels and weapons depots in areas homes, it turns out, are used for [error tunnels ruled by the "peaceful" Palestinian Authority. and weapons storage. Where, then, do they The conventional wisdom is that Palestinian operate, exactly? Only in areas where foreign Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas is a television crews are stationed, so they can put "moderate"who opposes terrorism and wants on a good show for audiences abroad? The to make peace with Israel. PA spokesmen have heart and soul of the Oslo accords that Israel assured Western reporters that they oppose signed with the Palestinian leadership in 1993 the Hamas terrorists and were "cooperating" was the Palestinians' pledge to fight against with Israel in the search for the abducted terrorists.ThePalestinianleaderspromisedto teens. But what Israeli soldiers have found give up terrorism and to combat the extrem- in their search missions tells a very different ist diehards in their midst. That's why Prime story. Astheyhavegonehousetoho~useinthe Minister Yitzhak Rabin withdrew, in 1995, PA-controlled Hebron region, Israelii soldiers from the nine cities in Judea-Samariawhere 98 have discovered "dozens of suspeched terror percent of the PalestinianArabs reside because tunnels," according to a June 22 report by the Palestinian Authority promised to live in, the Internet news site of the peace with Israel and combat the terrorists. Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot. "Some of That'swhy Rabin agreed to let them establish a the tunnels were found by soldiers inside the large, heavily-armedsecurityforce--because homes of Palestinians, under large pieces thePApromisedtousethoseforcesagainstthe of furniture and laundry machines," Yediot terrorists. The reality on the ground today reported. The Israelis also found nqmerous makes a mockery of Prime Minister Rabin's "caches of weapons and explosives" in private generosity. Instead of keeping their promise homes -- and "close to 20 laboratories for to Rabin to stamp out the terrorists, the PA manufacturing improvised explosives devices." is permitting the terrorists to flourish. In "We would arrive at a suspicious home and fact, it's an understatement to say they are find a family living on the first floor and a flourishing. The involvement of ordinary laboratory with explosives on the third floor," Palestinians in terror activity has become so said a senior officer in the special Israeli Army widespread that Israeli troops, searchingArab engineering unit, called Yahalom, which is home satrandomforcluesaboutthekidnapped carrying out the search. Every once in a teenagers, areagainandagainfindingtunnels while, one can find a little hint in the Ameri- and stockpiles of weapons. If this is what the can press about the failure of the Palestinian Israelis are finding at random, one can only Authority security forces to combat terrorism, imagine how many more Palestinian homes For example, on March 23 of this year, a New are doubling as terror centers. Forget about York Times report mentioned, in passing, that the debate over settlement construction. Israeli troops entered the Jenin refugee camp Forget about whether or not the Palestinians inpursuitofterroristsbecausealthoughJenin should recognize Israel as a "Jewish state." is under the "full control" of the Palestinian Forget about where future borders should be Authority, "the Palestinian [security forces] drawn. It's time to face the most basic problem: did not generally operate in refugee camps." the decision by the Palestinian Authority to Since 2005, the Palestiniansecurity forces allow widespread terrorist activity under its have been trained, financed, and equipped by very nose shows Israel's "peace partner" to a State Department division called the Office be quietly preparing an armed insurrection of the United States Security Coordinator. It's against the Jewish State. a part of the Bureau for International Narcot- The authors of members of the board of the ics and Law Enforcement Affairs. But it sure Religious Zionists of America. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. ISSN 0199-0721 I CENTRAL FLORIDA'S INDEPENDENT JEWISH VOICE ~ ~ Winner of 43 Press Awards Editor/Publisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor Assistant Editor E W I S H N E W S Gene Stare Kim Fischer Chris 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. MAILING ADDRESS PHONE NUMBER P.O. Box 300742 (407) 834-8787 Fern Park, FL 32730 FAX (407) 831-0507 emaih news@orlandoheritage.corn Society Editor Bookkeeping Gloria Yousha Paulette Alfonso Account Executives Lori Apple MarciGaeSer Contributing Columnists Jim Shipley Ira Sharkansky David Bomstein Ed Ziegler Production DePartment David Lehman * Gil Dombrosky Joyce Gore tions are part of a warped theological frame- work that delegitimizes any Jewish attachment to the land of Israel. This theological structure represents awholesale denial of Jewish history, Jewish experience and Jewish religious striv- ings to live in covenant with God. Irrespective of repeated statements by the denomination's leaders that the Church loves its Jewish friends, the real problem is what the Church thinks about Judaism. The truth Church in 1996. These other mainline Prot- estant denominations have wrestled with their theological relationship to JudaiSm. They have developed a language of understanding and respect upon which to respectfully engage with Jews on political questions. The Presbyterians have not done this. True, a white paper on these questions has been circulating around the Presbyterian Church since the mid-1980s, but it was never is that the denomination is theologically un- acted upon. The Presbyterian Church has not reconciled with the Jewish community, resolved the question ofsupersessionism. It has Whereas many other Christian denomi- not resolved how it teaches about the Jewish nations have grappled seriously with anti- ~:ovenantalrelationshipwithGodandthebibli- Jewish theological traditions,the Presbyterian cal roots of the Jewish people's attachment to Church (U.S.A.) has failed to do so. the land of our heritage. And by denying our In the late 1950's, Pope John XXIII contem- essential identity, the Presbyterians have now plated how the Catholic Church might have ceasedtounderstandusasweknowourselves. contributed to an atmosphere that produced All of fhis became very clear wl~en the the Holocaust. He reevaluated the history of Presbyterians' 2014 General Assembly de- church-based anti-Judaism: the historical batedwhetherthechurchshouldemendthose Christian belief that the Jewish covenant prayers and hymns that refer to Israel, or at with God had been broken 5y perfidy, and that least to footnote that the Israel of the hymn God had chosen a new covenantal partner, does not refer to the modern land of Israel the church, and that Zion only refers to the "City of God," The process initiated by John XXIII led to not a physical place.-True, this resolution was the SecondVatican Council's 1965 declaration rejected, but an atmosphere of anti-Judaism Nostra Aetate, which made four remarkable created the opportunity for it to be debated claims: 1) that Jews are not now -- and never seriously. were -- collectively responsible for the death The Presbyterian Church's actions have not of Jesus, 2) that God's covenant with the Jews only called into question its relationship with is eternally valid, (3) that Jews should never Jews. They have highlighted a glaring issue: be treated as if God had abandoned or cursed the church's relationship to Judaism. Until them, and (4) that anti-Sen~itism has no place the official church body is willing to wrestle whatsoever in Christianity. with this theological question, we can only Today, Jews and Catholics continue towork expect expanded efforts within the church at deepening understanding and cooperation, targeting Israel and a further tearing asunder Even when Jews have hadpolitical differences of a Jewish-Presbyterian relationship that was with the church, these were discussed with built upon a shared vision for a just society, an attitude of respect for the fundamentals Much work lies ahead if the Presbyterians of Jewish identity -- a level playing field for wishtorepairthisbreach.Jewsareaneternally. dialogue, hopeful people, and we stand ready to work Many Protestant denominations took up the with them. But to mend ties, the church must same process of theological soul-searching, affirm our identity as a people still in covenant The Episcopal Church dealt with the issue with God and with a legitimate attachment to of with the issue of supersessionism and the both our history and our ancestral homeland. validity of the Jewish covenant in a resolution Rabbi Gary M. Bretton-Granatoor is a vice in 1988; the Evangelical Lutheran Church president of the World Union for Progressive of America in 1994; the United Methodist Judaism. Letter from Israel Escalation full speed ahead By Ira Sharkansky shelter the basement. Over the normal course of events, those Things have escalated in the south to the shelters become store rooms for old furniture, point where the IDF is now pursuing an andnowlsoneofthehmeswhenclwldefense "operation." The Hebrew word touches more officials are calling on us to clean out the junk buttons than the official English translation, and equip them with fresh drinking water. "Protective edge."Alternative translations that This will also lessen the media attention might touch different buttons, are "Strong devoted to what had been in the headlines. rock" "Impregnable rock," or "Impregnable Police and judicial authorities are moving fortress." through their routines against the Jewish In IDF parlance, a named ol~eration is less barbarians who kidnapped, beat, and burned than a war, but more than a limited response an Arab youth who was in the wrong place ~t to a limited attack, the wrong time. Yesterday saw more than 80 missiles fired Peopleshouldtakeanotherlookatthevideo toward Israel. As usual, the vast majority thatwent viral, seeming to show ayoung man landed on empty land. IDF responses--more beaten to near death by personnel of Israel's than 50 and still counting--are better targeted Border Police. A day and a half later the same and more destructive, young man, a Palestinian American visiting One attack on a building that included both for the summer, appeared on TVwalking nor- Hamas facilities and family housing came only mally and with some bruises on his face. He after a telephone call from an Israeli officer, claimed innocence. He was only watching a urging an immediate departure from the site. demonstration until attacked by police. Thatsayssomethingabout IDFintelligence, The police story is that he had wrapped his accessing the cell phone of innocent civilians face and head in a kaffiyeh like accomplished living alongside a military target, stone throwers and fire bombers, and was Let's see how much credit the humanists mixing it up with the others. of the world bestow on Israel. He may have been roughed up when taken Predictions are that this will continue for into custody, but nothing like what was por- a while. Hamas is threatening "destruction trayed in the video. Most likely that was lab- throughout Israel. The IDFhas issuedalimited ricated by Palestinians seeing another way to call up of reserves, and the unit responsible make Israel look bad by dressing up as Border for civil defense has cancelled all large gather- Policemen and pretending to beat savagely a ings and kids' summer camps within 40 km friend portrayed as their victim. of Gaza. It has opened civil defense shelters, Remember the earlier video showing two and urged people close to Gaza not to venture Palestiniansbeingshotto death, butmanaging more than a 15 second run from protection, to fall to the ground with their arms extended Ben Gurion University in Beer Shevaand Sapir in a way to assure that they wouldn't be hurt College in Sderot have canceled classes and ex- while on camera. ams scheduled for the next few days. Hospitals Also pushed into the background is the story are moving patients to more secure locations, of the Netanyahu family furniture. Beginning Israeli homes built since the first Gulf War togetscandalheadlineswasBibiorSaraorder- have "strong rooms" in each apartment, with ingof new furniture for the official residence, protective walls and ceilings, fortified doors at public expense, having it delivered to their and steel shutters that can be lowered in front private residence on the coast, and moving of the window. Most buildings built between the 1960's and the 1990s have a comm6n Sharkansky on page 15A