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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 26, 2008 / 23 Sivan 5768

Real Friends and Real Enemies

By Jonathan Tobin



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Presbyterian USA bashing of Israel shows how Jews can be clueless


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Two years ago, American Jewish community relations groups were busy patting themselves on the back for achieving a signal victory in turning back the attempt by anti-Israel radicals to hijack the Presbyterian Church USA.


After the Presbyterians became the first Protestant church to embrace divestment from companies doing business in Israel in 2004, Jewish groups worked hard to overturn the decision. When the church voted to back away from this stand in 2006, it was rightly seen as a triumph not just for friends of Israel, but for the tactic of outreach itself as years of tenacious diplomacy paid off.


The celebrations seem to have been premature.


The release of a document by the church last month titled "Vigilance Against Anti-Jewish Bias in the Pursuit of Israeli-Palestinian Peace" was supposed to help its members guard against anti-Semitic rhetoric when discussing the Middle East.

Church's Betrayal
Instead, it is a compendium of charges aimed at deligimitizing the Jewish State. The church release avoids discussing Arab support for terrorism and, rather than serve as a warning against bias, it serves as a justification for anti-Israel invective since it places the sole blame for the conflict on Israel, rather than on those attempting to destroy it. If anything, it should serve to reinvigorate those who have been pushing for divestment, which is nothing less than a declaration of economic war on Israel and the Jewish people.


In itself, this should justify the outrage and the feelings of betrayal that have been voiced by a wide spectrum of centrist and liberal Jewish denominations and organizations that worked to reverse the previous Presbyterian stand on Israel.


But also buried in the document is a strand of thought that is relevant not only to this battle for the soul of a powerful mainline liberal Protestant church, but to the mindset of American Jews themselves.


Amid a laundry list of anti-Israel measures in the Presbyterian statement — including opposition to the security fence that effectively ended the Palestinian suicide bombing campaign — was the assertion that "Christian faithfulness, as well as the policies of our church, demands that we maintain our commitments to criticize forms of Christian Zionism."


That meant that in the same document in which they urged its members to avoid couching their attacks on Israel in ways that could be labeled anti-Semitic, the Presbyterians specifically attack fellow Christians who have lent their support to the idea that the Jewish people have a right to sovereignty over their historic homeland.


In particular, they singled out Evangelicals such as Pastor John Hagee, who was flogged out of the camp of Republican presidential candidate John McCain for saying the Holocaust was caused by the Jewish sin of failing to make aliyah.


To support the contention that Christian Zionists are wrongheaded, the Presbyterian document cited Rabbi Eric Yoffie, the leader of the Union for Reform Judaism, who in a December 2007 speech warned Jews to avoid alliances with the pro-Israel Christian right.


Yoffie, whose Reform movement joined the coalition of Jewish groups that condemned the Presbyterian reversal, is not happy about this. He told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that he is "infuriated" about the Presbyterians "embedding" his words in a "doctrine that is so hostile to Israel."


While some of Yoffie's criticisms of Hagee are not completely off-target — particularly his reaction to Hagee's foolish talk about the Holocaust, for which the pastor has since apologized — the Reform leader is right to be embarrassed.


But rather than merely being annoyed by the church's chutzpah, he ought to be rethinking his own bashing of right-wing Christian Zionists.


Indeed, the Presbyterians' renewed flirtation with anti-Zionism should serve as a wake-up call for the vast number of American Jews who have clung to their prejudices about Evangelicals, despite the sea change in the Protestant world that has occurred in the last generation.


In the past, Jews instinctively looked to mainline liberal Protestant churches, like the Presbyterians, the Methodists, Lutherans and Anglicans, who have all been debating divestment measures against Israel in recent years, as allies. At the same time, Jews generally assumed that Evangelicals, who generally lived outside the coastal urban enclaves where Jewish life has thrived in America, were liable to be anti-Semitic.


But in the America of 2008, it is precisely the Evangelicals of the Christian right who are instinctively supportive of Israel, while our traditional allies on the Christian left are flirting with a theology that demonizes Israel and the Jews.


Though the gap between the Christian right and most Jews on domestic issues is still vast, when it comes to the life-and-death questions of Israeli survival and opposition to terror, it is the people who look to the Hagees of the world for leadership, rather than to the Presbyterians, who stand with Israel.


Unfortunately, that isn't good enough for many Jews who never tire of making unsupported and utterly false accusations that the Evangelicals actually hate Jews and want to destroy us. It is little surprise that this has only encouraged the Presbyterians to use this issue to bolster their own attempt to isolate Israel.


The point here is not to claim that the Christian right has become Israel's only American friends, though they are among the most active and effective.


The fact is, most of the rank-and-file members of the mainline churches who are dabbling in anti-Zionist rhetoric and considering divestment don't support the campaign against Israel. Indeed, it is doubtful even after all of the controversy of the past few years, that most are even aware of the fact that their spiritual home is being hijacked by radical left-wing elements.

OUTREACH MUST CONTINUE
As frustrated as many Jews are with the Presbyterian betrayal, the outreach campaign carried out by Jewish community relations councils across the country must continue.


Most American Protestants rightly see Israel as sharing common democratic values with the United States and want nothing to do with the sort of anti-Zionism that has won a foothold among mainline church activists. They need to understand that their silence will be taken as complicity with the actions of these radicals. They must understand that their churches cannot pretend to be friends with their Jewish neighbors while supporting an economic war on the Jewish state. And they must be prodded to take action to rescind such measures enacted in their names.


But, at the same time, American Jews must cease living in the past when it comes to understanding the contemporary religious and political landscape of America. At a time when Hamas, Hezbollah and their Iranian sponsors are plotting a new Holocaust for Israel and its six million Jews, treating those Protestants who actually love Israel as hateful pariahs is a strategy devoid of truth or sense.

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JWR contributor Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. Let him know what you think by clicking here.

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