Doing the Right Thing

The PC-USA has made a call for divesture in Israel and some of it's leaders have met with the terrorist group Hizbollah. In Birmingham AL during the week of June 15-22, 2006, the PC-USA will hold it's 217th General Assembly. There are some members of the PC-USA who object to the calls for divesture and other measures. I am proud to state the Presbytery of Mississippi is one who is calling for the these measures to be overturned. A rabbi from The Simon Wiesenthal Center was recently on the Coast in part because of the stance of the Presbytery of Mississippi. I went to the PC-USA site to find more information on the upcoming assembly. The Mississippi members of the PC-USA are doing the right thing and I applaud them for their efforts and hope their common sense attitude will prevail. For the calls for divesture in Israel are one-sided and blatantly wrong. Below is a excerpt from the Presbytery of Mississippi:

As a matter of conscience, the congregations comprising the Presbytery of Mississippi cannot support divestment as an economic sanction against American companies legally doing business in Israel and/or Palestine. The underlying purpose of divestment is to inflict economic hardship and harm on companies doing business in Israel or Palestine. In clear cases—like genocide or apartheid—such action can be justified. In the present situation, however, where there is justice and injustice on both sides, it is unjustified and inappropriate.

The price of phased selective divestment falls disproportionately on one party to this conflict, namely Israel. Such remedies do not make for peace. The use of economic sanctions as a weapon in peacemaking puts the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in the position of a judge passing judgment and imposing a sentence rather than a partner for peace. To rank and file members of the church, it appears arrogant, condescending, and punitive. Such actions, however well intentioned, do not make for peace.

Blanket condemnation of the security wall does not further the peacemaking process. The wall may be, for now, a necessary evil to deter attacks and counterattacks. To criticize the encroachment of the wall into Palestinian territory is legitimate. To tell a nation that it cannot protect its borders or defend its people from mortar or suicide bombers is naïve, arrogant, and hypocritical. The United States has protected borders to prevent illegal immigration. To tell Israel that it does not have the right to protect itself against enemy attack is simply wrong.

More of the PC-USA's congregants need to do the same thing. Divesture does not serve the interests of peace and Israel has the sovereign right and duty to protect her citizens. Each person has the moral obligation to speak out against injustices. The PC-USA's stance is clearly an injustice to Israel. Let's hope reason and justice will prevail in the upcoming General Assembly.


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