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Presbyterian actions on Israel
Archive # 3
2005

This page contains reports and links from 2005.
Reports and commentary from 2006 >>
For archives from September through December, 2004 >>

Items from July and August, 2004 >>

Jewish Voice for Peace comments on Steven Spielberg’s "Munich"
[12-29-05]

Steven Spielberg’s Munich has already generated considerable controversy. Conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks said that Spielberg presents a "perpetual motion machine" of violence and that he ignores the "evil" involved — presumably meaning the Palestinians. The right-wing organization, CAMERA, is aghast that Spielberg and screenwriter Tony Kushner depict Palestinians as people rather than as mindless killers.   

At Jewish Voice for Peace, we work for a lasting and just peace that respects the rights of Israelis and Palestinians equally. We do that by working to change American policy in the region and by raising a Jewish call for policies that treat Israelis and Palestinians equally within the framework of international law. Read our view of the film and the relevant history >>

Best,

Mitchell Plitnick
Jewish Voice for Peace

A "wonderful movie" from Israel: Ushpizin
[12-29-05]

John Van Nuys, a Witherspoon member, has sent some friends this warm recommendation (slightly edited) of another film portrayal of Israel:

Dear Assorted Saints,

I had to take a minute to let you all know about an absolutely wonderful film Ushpizin. It is a very cool, very theological movie from Israel. It is getting rave reviews from American critics, and it has won several Israeli film awards.

The 90 minute film centers on an ultra Orthodox couple during the festival of Sukkot and their not-so-holy guests who befall them / with whom God blesses them. The spiritual themes of Ushpizin (Aramaic for Guests) revolve around hospitality, keeping faith during barren times, and the struggle to pursue a way of holiness in a very secular world.

I have rarely seen a film that is as explicitly theological and as humane. While everyone flocks to Narnia, you gotta check out this under-the-radar-screen film, which undoubtedly won't be in theaters for long, that really deserves to be seen. God really blessed me by viewing it. I heartily recommend it to you. With Christmas blessings, John

P.S. You can check out the American critics' reviews at: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/ushpizin/

Hebron: On hatred

Maureen Jack, member of a Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron, in the Israeli occupied West Bank of Palestine, reports on one little instance of the hostility faced by Palestinians in the West Bank from some of their Jewish neighbors.  We know this is not the whole picture, but it's an important part of the reality of the West Bank.  [11-25-05]

Stated Clerk denounces Iranian’s anti-Israel remarks   [11-4-05]

Mr. Eric Geller has been corresponding with us over the past few months, offering his thoughtful reflections as an American Jew on the debate about Presbyterian actions regarding Israel/Palestine and divestment.  And yesterday he sent this note:

Doug,

You may have read the recent horrific remarks by the President of Iran. The Presbyterian Church issued the following terrific statement following these remarks. Click here >>

Just thought you might want to see this. I think what the Iranian President said has sent some shock waves of reality throughout the world. The Presbyterian comment was great.

Regards,

Eric

Santa Fe Presbytery endorses GA exploration of divestment -- with a carefully balanced statement

[10-28-05]

Aurelia Fule reports that a resolution was recently passed by Santa Fe Presbytery, endorsing the action of the 216th General Assembly, which called for exploration of "phased selective divestment" of church funds from companies whose business in Israel is found to be directly or indirectly causing harm or suffering to innocent people, Palestinian or Israeli.

The text:

RESOLVED
that the Presbytery of Santa Fe, meeting on October 2 1-23, 2005
at Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, NM:

(1) reaffirms our belief and the teaching of our tradition that

(A) God’s faithfulness to the covenant is without end,
(B) that we Christians are thus fellow heirs in God’s covenant with the Jewish people,
(C) that in the family of God the Jews are our elder brothers and sisters with whom we share holy Scriptures,
(D) and that Jews and Christians therefore have special responsibility to point to errors in each other's actions;

(2) expresses deep concern over terrorism by the Palestinians and the expansion of settlements on the West Bank, continued home demolitions and the use of great military force by the Israelis;

(3) and therefore endorses the action of the 216th General Assembly meeting in Richmond, Virginia, which authorized the exploration of "phased selective divestment" of church funds from those companies whose business in Israel is found to be directly or indirectly causing harm or suffering to innocent people, Palestinian or Israeli.

MRTI staffer Bill Somplatsky-Jarman to be featured at Canadian conference on responsible investing   [10-28-05]

The Rev. Bill Somplatsky-Jarman, the PC(USA)'s associate for Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI) and Environmental Justice, will represent the church at an ecumenical conference of church-related organizations interested in using economic pressure to end the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and to achieve a "just peace" for both Israel and Palestine.

A conference titled "A Call for Morally Responsible Investment: A Nonviolent Response to the Israeli Occupation" started Wednesday in Toronto, Canada, and runs through Saturday. The host for the event is Canadian Friends of Sabeel, a group that supports the work of Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem through education, advocacy and financial support.

Somplatsky-Jarman is guiding MRTI as it responds to an order from the 216th General Assembly to begin a process of phased selective divestment from multinational corporations with business practices believed to contribute to violence in Israel and Palestine.

More >>

More on Israel/Palestine and divestment
 [10-13-05]

Mr. Eric Geller wrote to us earlier with his reflections as an American Jew on the debate about Presbyterian actions regarding Israel/Palestine and divestment.

He has written again to point out to us a recent trip to Israel which included both Jews and Christians. He expresses appreciation for a recent statement by the Episcopal Church favoring "investment, not divestment."

His note:

Dear Doug,

I am attaching a press release put out yesterday by the American Jewish Committee commending the National Episcopalian Church for coming out clearly for "investment, not divestment."

[You can read the Episcopal press release.]

A group of prominent Jewish and mainline Protestant groups recently completed a trip to the Holy Land/Israel, and by all reports it was very positive. I know prominent Presbyterians went on the trip.

I have no idea whether or not the Presbyterians are going to reconsider its position in the future or not. In my view, it is my hope, that the Episcopalian model will prove far more fruitful for achieving peace than the path thus far taken by the Presbyterians. I

I believe that over time we will all come to see the divestment topic as a sideshow for the really important work that needs to be done, and I believe that more and more mainline Churches will come to see it that way. In short, divestment accomplishes nothing, and the Episcopalians have come to understand that.

Anyway, here is the link to the site.

I am a member of the Boston chapter of the American Jewish Committee.

As always, comments and feedback are appreciated.

Best regards,

Eric Geller


Mr. Geller is serious.
He really would like to hear some comments!
So please send a note if you’re willing,
simply to be forwarded to him if you prefer,
or (we hope!) to be shared here.
(Just let us know which it is.)

Foundation moves to tighten controls on PC(USA) shareholder actions

Committee formed to review requests for proxy votes, other activities
[9-28-05]

In a move that would seem to weaken efforts of the Presbyterian Church to be socially responsible in the management of its investments, the Presbyterian Foundation is claiming that it is the owner of the church’s invested money, and not the church itself. Thus it claims the right to manage those investments, and carry on shareholder actions or divestment under the guidance of its own committee, without having to follow direction from the General Assembly Council, and its Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI) committee.

Read the report from Presbyterian News Service >>

A thoughtful and informed Jew praises Presbyterian commitment to dialogue, and laments present policies of divestment.

Eric Geller refers to the PC(USA) study paper approved in 1987, called, "A Theological Understanding of the Relationship Between Christians and Jews."  He is apparently responding to the latest Presbyterian steps toward divestment. 

Read his letter >>     [8-19-05]

Presbyterians continue to pursue possible divestment from companies supporting Israeli occupation of Palestine   [8-12-05]

The Presbyterian Church’s Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI) committee , meeting last week in Seattle, chose five multinational corporations Caterpillar, Citigroup, ITT Industries, Motorola and United Technologies for "progressive engagement" about business practices believed to contribute to violence in Israel and Palestine.

After several hours of discussion on Aug. 5, the MRTI committee unanimously selected the five companies and agreed to begin discussions with them about their involvement in the conflict.

See the Presbyterian News Service report >>

Also, about 20 members of the PCUSA went to Seattle to express support for the General Assembly’s decision to start a process of "phased selective divestment."   The article >>

And officials of firms on ‘engagement’ list defended their business practices in Israel-Palestine, with some expressing puzzlement, others sticking to earlier statements.   The story >>

Critical responses have come, too

Laurie Goodstein, writing in the New York Times, gives a rather negative view of the MRTI action, including this comment:

"This is a brilliantly organized political campaign to hurt Israel, and it's not going to help a single Palestinian," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish watchdog group based in Los Angeles. "When you look at the list of companies, this is basically a recipe for Israel to disarm."

She also cites Stated Clerk Clifton Kirkpatrick’s continuing effort to help people understand what’s really going on:

The Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick, stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., said in an interview: "It's not a campaign to divest from the state of Israel. We're fully committed to the state of Israel. But it is a campaign to divest from particular activities that are doing damage and creating injustice and violence, whether that's the building of the separation barrier, construction related to the occupation, or weapons and materials that lead to suicide bombings."

Read this in the NY Times (registration required) or on IndyBay

Another negative comment:

"Churches gang up on Israel"

In a remarkably similar, but more overtly slanted article, columnist Tom Teepen says the Presbyterian Church is leading other churches in "get-tough policies toward Israel ostensibly designed to force peace with the Palestinians, but [that are] are more likely to sabotage peace than to advance it."

Read this in the Minneapolis Star Tribune >>


A frequent reader comments on the New York Times column:

Doug,

The Times piece on MRTI's announcement is only slightly better than what I would expect from the Layman. It gives lots of attention to what other people are saying and studiously diminishes both the content of MRTI's statement and the expertise behind it. Like so much of what we have seen, it manages to imply that selecting targets and topics for engagement is tantamount to proceeding with taking our money out of Israel sometime this week. The Times needs to be called on the carpet for buying in to an hysterical side show so fully that it appears to be unwilling to present either the case MRTI has made or the reality of the process our church has undertaken. On Saturday the piece was one of the top five articles that people had looked at on-line.

The assumption that these big serious companies will not engage our silly little church is both ill-informed and debilitating. The news that our church might influence its targets with holdings so small as $60 million total in companies whose market capitalization amounts to tens or even a couple of hundred of Billions is a serious enough matter to excite all that blather makes it real clear that a lot of folks who are real good at getting access to the news media do not agree with the assumption.

Perhaps someone should explain to some folks that the PCUSA's holdings in these companies stocks are the PCUSA's property, and the church has property rights to make decisions about its holdings based on its own perception of its interests and responsibilities.

Jonathan Justice


NOTE:  The Witherspoon Society board has been and continues to be supportive of the action of the General Assembly and the continuing efforts of MRTI to seek effective ways of resisting the violence in Israel/Palestine.  The possible divestment of certain stock holdings is a way of opening dialogue with corporations about their actions that appear to perpetuate the violence.  Will it solve all the problems of the Middle East?  Not likely.  But it does offer one small step toward peace, and away from violence.  Can we do less?

UCC OKs possible divestment in Middle East  [7-8-05]

The United Church of Christ voted Tuesday to use "economic leverage" to promote peace between Israel and Palestinians and to call for the dismantling of the Jewish state's security fence.

Anglican council urges member churches to consider disinvestment from companies supporting Israeli occupation of Palestine   [6-25-05]

Anglicans yesterday voted to urge their member churches to consider disinvesting from companies involved in Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands.

The Anglican consultative council, Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, voted unanimously for the measure.

The vote was prompted by the Anglican Justice and Peace Network, and is being seen as largely symbolic. The resolution, while weaker than the one originally proposed, still calls on the church to pressure firms involved in Israel's activities in the occupied territories. Any company would first be talked to, but ultimately churches could sell their shares in them.

More >>

Petition seeks withdrawal of GA action for Israel divestment
[6-1-05]

The Rev. David Oliver-Holder, of Hartland, WI, calls our attention to a petition which has come to his church’s e-mail address. The subject line read: "Help Rescind the PCUSA General Assembly Divestment Resolution."

The text follows:

I ask you to join more than 2,000 Presbyterians who have already signed a petition calling on the 216th General Assembly to return in special session to debate fully last summer's Israel Divestment Resolution. You can do this by adding your name to the petition at www.PcusaPetition.org.

Please inform your leaders and congregation about this opportunity to sign the petition! A PCUSA survey found 61% of our membership unaware the General Assembly had voted to initiate a divestment from corporations doing business in Israel.

The strongest proponents for these anti-Israeli policies proclaimed their actions "prophetic." This is their way of justifying why they adopted these policies without the fair and balanced debate traditionally a part of our Church's historic sense of decency and orderliness. Please support a fair debate by adding your name to the petition and asking others to do the same.

Thank you,
Larry Rued
Petition Manager and an elder at
First Presbyterian Church
Bradenton, FL

Have you received a similar petition?
If you know anything more about it, or have been involved in discussions of it,
we’d like to hear from you.
Just send a note,
to be shared here for the enlightenment of others.

From the Moderator:

Dialogue about the divestment issue can happen
[5-9-05]

Moderator Rick Ufford-Chase has shared on his moderatorial blog a good experience meeting with Presbyterians in Las Vegas who gathered to share concerns about the General Assembly’s action last year to explore the possibility of divestment of stock in companies that support Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories.

Another attack on Palestinian Christians and the Presbyterian action on Israel/Palestine and divestment    [4-11-05]

A group calling itself the Judeo-Christian Alliance has recently issued a statement condemning a number of Christian pastors in the West Bank and Gaza who are criticizing the Israeli occupation of Palestine. They are compared to Christians in Nazi Germany who cooperated with Hitler’s regime, and it is charged that “some of these pastors have introduced Islamic concepts of jihad and violent martyrdom into their teachings.”

The David Project, which is the founder of the Judeo-Christian Alliance, has also issued a lengthy paper condemning the PCUSA action, under the title, Blind Prophecy.

The David Project states its mission as promoting “a fair and honest understanding of the conflict. We believe that the values of tolerance, pluralism, and civil society are prerequisites for achieving genuine peace for all people in the Middle East . We do not endorse a political agenda beyond Israel ’s right to exist securely and peacefully among its Arab neighbors.”

But they define the nature of the conflict as “the struggle for Jewish political sovereignty and self-determination in the Middle East. The conflict is rooted in Arab leaders’ rejection of political equality for religious and ethnic minorities.”

The Presbyterian Layman web site has recently linked to the Judeo-Christian Alliance condemnation of Palestinian Christians, without comment of its own.

Towards a Just and Durable Peace: Presbyterian Bruce Gillette speaks to the United Nations on Israelis and Palestinians     [3-23-05]

On March 9, 2005, the Rev. Bruce Gillette, moderator for the Assembly Committee on Peacemaking of the 216th General Assembly (2004), spoke to a special meeting of the United Nations in Geneva about the creative actions for peace and justice for all in the Middle East that were taken by the assembly. One week after the assembly met, the International Court of Justice (the principal judicial organ of the United Nations since 1946) issued an advisory opinion that "the construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, and its associated régime, are contrary to international law." The UN held a special meeting on the question of Palestine on March 8-9, 2005 in its Geneva offices for the purpose of exploring the implications of the ICJ opinion and peacemaking efforts in the Middle East by various groups in society through the support of international law. The Presbyterian Church (USA) was the only religious organization to be invited to make a presentation at this meeting.

bullet

Read the full text of Gillette’s statement, which offers a careful tracing of the background of the PC(USA) action at the 216th General Assembly, the process and criteria by which divestment decisions are shaped and weighed, and much more.

A former Israeli soldier calls for divestment as a way to peace   [3-21-05]

Witherspooners Darrell and Sue Yeaney have shared with us an article published in The Nation. Calling it "a powerful witness to the truth by an former member of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), [and] a witness that few Americans see, hear or know," they encourage people to share it with friends and acquaintances.

After recounting his experiences in the Israeli army (including the torture of Palestinian detainees), he says:

After years of failed political efforts by the Israeli and international human rights community aimed at ending the occupation, it is clear that new approaches must be implemented. It is time for American civic institutions to support a multi-tiered campaign of strategic, selective sanctions against Israel until the occupation ends. Since the Israeli government is flagrantly disobeying the ICJ decision, international law mandates the use of sanctions to force Israel to comply with UN resolutions and human rights treaties.

The first step for American institutions is to engage in selective divestment--withdrawal of their investments from companies that are, directly or indirectly, funding the occupation.

PCUSA and divestment from Israel supported by Jewish organization

A representative of Jewish Voice for Peace tells Chicago Presbyterians why her group appreciates and supports the PC(USA)’s considering possibilities for selective divestment from companies that are providing equipment and other support for Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory.

Thanks to PresbyWeb for this connection.   [3-18-05]

Another Jewish group supports selective divestment

This note has just come to us from Kathleen Eschen-Pipes, a Presbyterian Minister in Santa Cruz, CA.   [2-28-05]

Yet another Israeli group comes out in support of selective divestment. Best known for its work to support conscientious objectors, New Profile seeks to civil-ize Israeli society.

Peace, Salaam, Shalom,
Kathleen

Money, morals & Israel: The Presbyterian case for divesting from Israel    [2-26-05]

Vernon Broyles, associate for corporate witness for the General Assembly Council of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), recently provided a clear articulation of the background of the PC(USA) action to consider divesting from corporations providing material support for the destructive aspects of Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories. Writing in Christian Century, he concludes: "It is time for us to join forces----Christian, Jewish, Muslim----to demand of our leaders a secure and lasting peace in the region. The people of Israel/Palestine must have it; peace in the region and the world requires it; and our God commands it. If we could manage that, the discussion of divestment would be irrelevant. Thank God for those who already have shown the courage to begin."


You can also read two critical responses to Broyles:

bullet from Barbara Wheeler, president of Auburn Theological Seminary in New York City, who argues that divestment will in this case be both ineffective and unwise.
 
bullet from Ira Youdovin, who is executive vice president of the Chicago Board of Rabbis and president of the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago.

Broyles responds to their criticisms.

Jewish leaders continue to reject PC(USA)'s explanation for divestment
ADL accuses church of siding with Palestinians     [2-17-05]

Presbyterian News Service reports on a recent meeting of a representative of the PC(USA) with leaders of the Anti-Defamation League in West Palm Beach, Florida, in yet another effort to reach some understanding of the 216th General Assembly's action to consider divestment from corporations that profit by supporting Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories.

The ADL leaders apparently continued to reject the Presbyterian Church action, with Abraham Foxman, ADL national director, labeling it as "moral hypocrisy."

Read the full story.

MRTI still in research phase of divestment process related to Israel, Palestine

Ecumenical partners' actions creating 'movement,' says Bill S-J

The Committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI) is continuing to research which corporations the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) should target for a General Assembly-mandated "process of selective, phased divestment" because of their involvement in the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

The group expects to identify which companies to engage in dialogue -- the first step in the process -- at its next meeting, scheduled for Aug. 4-6 in the Seattle area, said Bill Somplatsky-Jarman, the lead researcher for MRTI.    [2-15-05]

Letting your voice be heard ... on staff dismissals and on divestment

Many Presbyterians have been concerned about the abrupt dismissal of two national staff people in November, 2004, and about threats to the PC(USA)'s long-standing program for responsible investment.  We've gathered some suggestions for people whom you might contact to let your thoughts be made known to those most directly involved.   [2-15-05]

Poll: Most PC(USA) members unaware of GA divestment action

Presbyterian ministers, members divided over divestment

A recent survey by the PC(USA) Research Services office indicates that most Presbyterian laity are not aware of the 216th General Assembly's decision to "begin a process of phased, selective divestment" of companies profiting from the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. More laity -- 42 percent of members and 46 percent of elders -- oppose selective phased divestment than favor it (28 percent of members, 30 percent of elders). But pastors favor the Assembly's action by a 48 - 43 percent margin and specialized clergy favor the divestment decision by a margin of 64 -24 percent.   [2-11-05]

Read the rest of the story.

Israeli group endorses PCUSA actions
[1-31-05]

The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions - ICAHD - has endorsed the action of the 2004 General Assembly, calling for selective divestment from companies profiting from Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory.

There's a brief report on the ICAHD statement on their website, as well as the full text.

[The reference to the Presbyterian action is near the bottom of a fairly long page.]

Thanks to Kathleen Eschen-Pipes

Commemorating Auschwitz   [1-26-05]

January 27 marks the 60th anniversary of the liberation by Soviet troops of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp which, with its gas ovens and crematoria, came to epitomize more than any other the horrors and efficiency of the Nazi death machine. 

Kofi Annan honors the victims, the survivors, and those who tried to help - and reminds the nations that massive horrors against humanity continue

Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations, addressed a Special Session of the General Assembly on Jan. 24, remembering the terrible deeds of the Holocaust, honoring the victims and those few who tried to help them. He also recalled that other groups were subjected to similar treatment by the Nazis, and that the world, to its shame, still allows similar things to happen - in Cambodia, in Rwanda, in the former Yugoslavia, and now in Darfur, Sudan.

Also ...

Survivor Elie Wiesel looks back at the Auschwitz death factory 60 years later.

'This Cannot Be True' ... but It Was

Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace laureate and a Holocaust survivor and author of 40 books, writes a Commentary essay in the Los Angeles Times. He notes that today "the world has grown used to seeing pictures and hearing stories of huge, frightening, nature-made or man-made catastrophes from places like Bosnia, Rwanda and South Asia. But Auschwitz remains a case apart. It is unique."

His closing lines:

One cannot conceive of Auschwitz with God or without God. Ever since, all certainties need to be reexamined, all theories reevaluated.

All we know is that Auschwitz did not descend ready-made from heaven. Human beings imagined it, built it, served it, used it against other human beings. When all is said and done, it represents a grave theological challenge to Christianity, an immoral abdication on the part of humankind.

Were the torturers still human beings? Was it human then to be inhuman?

Today, when I think of the guilty, I sense despair. But when I think of the survivors, I strangely discover a compelling promise of hope.

Open Letter to Bush says Israeli-Palestinian conflict threatens U.S.

Church leaders, including Kirkpatrick, urge peace initiative   [1-21-05]

In a full -page ad in today's national edition of The New York Times, leaders of Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Protestant and Evangelical churches and institutions urge President Bush to have the courage to seize the opportunity and bring his leadership to ending the Israeli -Palestinian conflict.

Israel and Palestine: a Witherspoon comment   

The Witherspoon Society Executive Committee supports the statements of the 216th General Assembly on Israel and Palestine, and applauds the efforts of our national staff and Moderator to maintain communication with the Jewish faith community and others about the very difficult issues involved.

We dare to offer a few suggestions for the dialogue which will surely continue, and a quick survey of some of the background behind the current debates.     [10-22-04]

We are happy to post also a letter sent by Stated Clerk Clifton Kirkpatrick to all stated clerks and executives of synods and presbyteries, reporting on the recent meeting between a few leaders of the PS(USA) and leaders of the Jewish faith community.

A Jewish professor argues with "Israel's culture of martyrdom."   [1-3-05]

In The Nation (Jan. 10/17--they date things way ahead!) there's a long review by Baruch Kimmerling, professor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, with the title "Israel's Culture of Martyrdom." It's very long and detailed, but some points of interest are toward the end.

He notes that Hannah Arendt, after writing about the Eichmann trial, was attacked by the Anti-Defamation League and other organizations. He goes on to comment on the mood following 1967 and the question of the future of the Occupied Territories. He says, "The frequency and casualness with which Israeli Jews accuse one another of Nazi-like or anti-Semitic behavior today is a disturbing measure of the coarsening of the country's political culture." Any concession to the Arabs is labeled the destruction of Israel, the end of Zionism, and the end of the Jewish people. He goes on to say that Ariel Sharon is prime minister today because of a campaign of vilification against a negotiated peace. He and his allies in 1995 attended a rally that called for the deaths of the "Oslo criminals." Yitzhak Rabin was depicted in an SS uniform; the accords were viewed as a betrayal of Greater Israel; and Rabin was shot a month later by Yigal Amir, a seminary student.

This page contains reports and links from 2005.
Reports and commentary from 2006 >>
For archives from September through December, 2004 >>

Items from July and August, 2004 >>

 

GA actions ratified (or not) by  the presbyteries   

A number of the most important actions of the 219th General Assembly have now been acted upon by the presbyteries, confirming most of them as amendments to the PC(USA) Book of Order.

We provided resources to help inform the reflection and debate, along with updates on the voting.

Our three areas of primary interest have been:

bullet Amendment 10-A, which  removes the current ban on lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender persons being considered as possible candidates for ordination as elder or ministers.  Approved!

bullet Amendment 10-2, which would add the Belhar Confession to our Book of Confessions.  Disapproved, because as an amendment to the Book of Confessions it needed a 2/3 vote, and did not receive that.

bullet Amendment 10-1, which  adopts the new Form of Government that was approved by the Assembly.   Approved.
 

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Some blogs worth visiting

PVJ's Facebook page

Mitch Trigger, PVJ's Secretary/Communicator, has created a Facebook page where Witherspoon members and others can gather to exchange news and views. Mitch and a few others have posted bits of news, both personal and organizational. But there’s room for more!

You can post your own news and views, or initiate a conversation about a topic of interest to you.

 

Voices of Sophia blog

Heather Reichgott, who has created this new blog for Voices of Sophia, introduces it:

After fifteen years of scholarship and activism, Voices of Sophia presents a blog. Here, we present the voices of feminist theologians of all stripes: scholars, clergy, students, exiles, missionaries, workers, thinkers, artists, lovers and devotees, from many parts of the world, all children of the God in whose image women are made. .... This blog seeks to glorify God through prayer, work, art, and intellectual reflection. Through articles and ensuing discussion we hope to become an active and thoughtful community.

 

John Harris’ Summit to Shore blogspot

Theological and philosophical reflections on everything between summit to shore, including kayaking, climbing, religion, spirituality, philosophy, theology, politics, culture, travel, The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), New York City and the Queens neighborhood of Ridgewood by a progressive New York City Presbyterian Pastor. John is a former member of the Witherspoon board, and is designated pastor of North Presbyterian Church in Flushing, NY.

 

John Shuck’s Shuck and Jive

A Presbyterian minister, currently serving as pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton, Tenn., blogs about spirituality, culture, religion (both organized and disorganized), life, evolution, literature, Jesus, and lightening up.

 

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