With Declining Ranks, Does a Presbyterian Boycott of Israel Even Matter?
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Leaders of Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) are set to decide on whether or not to support an anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) resolution at their upcoming biennial general assembly in Detroit from June 14-20. But as one of America’s smallest Christian denominations, and with a sharply declining membership base, do their efforts even matter?
“Over the last decade, numerous divestment and boycott resolutions uniquely and solely aimed at Israel have been brought by a small minority of anti-Israel activists in the Presbyterian Church. They in turn are partnered with the global BDS campaign to demonize and delegitimize Israel,” Yitzhak Santis, chief programs officer and “BDS in the Pews” project director at the watchdog group NGO Monitor, told JNS.org.
The IPMN’s efforts inside the church culminated in its January release of a virulently anti-Israel document, “Zionism Unsettled: A Congregational Study Guide.” Pro-Israel groups blasted the guide, with the American Jewish Committee calling it “a devastating distortion of Jewish and Israeli history, aimed at nothing less than eradicating the state of Israel.”
Santis said pro-BDS groups specifically target churches, seeking to twist their Christian morality to fit their own anti-Israel agenda.
“BDS leaders have specifically targeted the churches for co-optation they hope to capture the churches’ moral voice to act as a stalking horse for their cause, which is to dismantle the state of Israel,” he said.