Jerusalem — A new report by an official committee of the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) promotes the discriminatory BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions) against Israel and downplays Palestinian terror, NGO Monitor analysis shows. The report, titled “Israel-Palestine: For Human Values in the Absence of a Just Peace,” was released by the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP) of the Presbyterian Church on 25 February 2016.
“This report, based on selective claims, myths and distortions from anti-peace NGOs promotes boycotts under the guise of religious responsibility,” Professor Gerald Steinberg said. “For years some factions of the Presbyterian Church have echoed calls by radical anti-peace NGOs promoting discriminatory attacks against Israel, while ignoring murderous Palestinian terror. Last year, these groups convinced the PCUSA to vote to join the BDS attack. Now, the ACSWP is again promoting this agenda, including the promotion of antisemitic theological themes. In order to advance peace between Israelis and Palestinians, PCUSA’s 2016 General Assembly must reject the blatant bias, distortions and immorality of the ACSWP report.”
Throughout the document, ACSWP appears to excuse and downplay the deadly attacks carried out by Palestinians against Israeli civilians. For instance, the report claims Israel “labels any resistance as terrorism,” while arguing the Palestinians have “the right to armed struggle.” It later states that “While there have been occasional internal spikes of violence (such as knife attacks in late 2015) and indiscriminate rocket attacks, most Israelis lead relatively secure lives.”
When mentioning the anti-peace BDS movement, the document “affirms the traditional freedom of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and other religious, civic, and private organizations in the United States to determine their own practices of investment or divestment, boycott or selective purchasing.” It then promotes the Kairos Palestine document and Christ at the Checkpoint, which use theological language to oppose Jewish self-determination and call for anti-Israel BDS.
The document, which adopts a BDS agenda of calling on the US to reevaluate its support of Israel, will be presented at the 2016 PCUSA General Assembly, and suggests an escalation of discriminatory attacks singling out Israel. The report contradicts other voices within the Presbyterian Church that are challenging BDS and the anti-Israel narrative.