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The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. The One-Sided View of the United Methodist Church. The UMC consistently presents a one-sided view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in its print and online resources.

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the israeli palestinian conflict

The Israeli-PalestinianConflict

The One-Sided View of the

United Methodist Church

slide2
The UMC consistently presentsa one-sided view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflictin its print and online resources.
slide3

“New World Outlook is not attempting to provide balanced views about the conflict in this issue. New World Outlook is attempting to be the balance. Readers can find the Israeli viewpoint in the mainstream media, on the internet, and in many books on the issue.”

–New World Outlook Editor Christie House

the wall on the cover of umc s mission activities magazine
The “Wall” on the cover of UMC’smission-activitiesmagazine
slide5
“Israelis constantly inflict harsh measures on all Palestinians. They attack and kill Palestinian Muslims on a regular basis in the name of security. When Israelis strike at a neighborhood in the Gaza Strip and scores of Palestinian men, women, and children get killed, the cries of these oppressed hardly make it into the airwaves of our digital world.”

—“Unheard Voices”

New World Outlook

March–April 2007

umc s web resources tap into extremism
UMC’s Web ResourcesTap Into Extremism

As part of its Israeli-Palestinian Mission Study, the UMC promotes a bibliography heavily dependent upon Americans for Middle East Understanding, a group funded by various Saudi concerns such as the World Muslim League.

the long list of offerings are without exception one sided with titles including
The long list of offerings are without exception one-sided, with titles including:
  • Israel: An Apartheid State
  • Original Sins: Reflections on the History of Zionism and Israel
does this belong on any mission study resource list

Does this belong on any mission study resource list?

One entry in the bibliography, The Mythic Past: Biblical Archaeology and the Myth of Israel, makes a fiction of the Israel of the Old Testament.

some entries in the bibliography go beyond a one sided examination of the conflict
Some entries in the bibliographygo beyond a one-sided examinationof the conflict.

A few are staples of anti-Jewish and neo-nazi websites:

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The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering
  • “Remember the Liberty”
  • Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years
umc s bias is contrary to the balance the 2004 general conference specified
UMC’s bias is contrary to the balance the 2004 General Conference specified:

“We urge all United Methodists in the U.S. to encourage members of each congregation … to study the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

from all perspectives

by inviting speakers to church events, reading books, using audio visual resources in educational forums, and getting information from websites.”

slide17
UMC’s May 2004 statement, “Opposition to Israeli Settlements in Palestinian Land,” preceded the Presbyterian Church USA’s divestment resolution.
  • That one-sided measure dwells on “the separation wall,” “intensified closures, curfews, dehumanizing checkpoints, home demolitions” with scant attention given to the terror war waged against Israeli civilians.
slide18
UMC has been instrumental in the formation of and ongoing leadership of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanction) movement through its involvement in the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. This organization actively seeks to delegitimize the Jewish State:
slide19
Global Ministries Executive Secretary David Wildman and missionary Ashley Wilkinson-Meyer sit on the Steering Committee of the U.S. Campaign.
  • Global Ministries’Women’s Division urged one million members of United Methodist Women to participate in the U.S. Campaign’s June 2007 demon-stration called “The World Says No to Israeli Occupation.”
umc consistently presents a one sided view on its fact finding visits to the region
UMC consistently presents a one-sided view on its fact-finding visits to the region.
from a 2007 trip briefing
From a 2007 trip briefing:

“Emphasis was on hearing the Palestinian side of the story… because most Americans are already familiar with the Israeli side of the issue.”

— David Wildman

Executive Secretary, Human Rights and Racial Justice,

General Board of Global Ministries

slide22

Global Mission's study book on the Middle East has drawn intense criticism from Christian and Jewish groups:

  • Christians for Fair Witness: “…replete with factual errors, misrepresentations, material omissions and distortions…. A somewhat blatant attempt to portray Jews and Israelis in as damning a light as possible.”
  • Jewish Council for Public Affairs: “…the most egregious thing that has crossed my desk that was not put out by an overt hate group.”
slide23

The study book portrays Jews, both in ancient and modern times, as a contentious people, unlike Muslims who are presented as paragons of tolerance.

Nineteenth- and twentieth-century Jewish immigrants to Palestine are depicted as European usurpers and a people too psychologically damaged by a history of anti-semitism to be able to live in peace with their neighbors.

slide24

“The viewpoint of the early [Jewish] settlers was that of Western European colonialists. Today we would surely judge that outlook as basically racist, and it still is.”

—Israel-Palestine:

A Mission Study

for 2007-2008, p. 32

slide25

“[The Israelis] have seldom taken responsibility, at least publicly, for their belligerence and their intentional undermining of attempts at resolutions to the conflict.”

—Israel-Palestine:

A Mission Study

for 2007-2008, p. 71

slide26

These handouts make the case against a Jewish presence in the land of Israel.

For its day-long “Israel-Palestine Mission Study” seminars, Global Ministries provides handouts designed to inform Methodists of the region’s history.

slide27
Only alleged Jewish aggression is chronicled, with Arab attacks either justified or simply omitted. Consequently:
  • the outbreak of the Arab Revolt of 1936, orchestrated by Arab leaders and leading to the killing of 85 Jews, is attributed to “legitimate grievances”;
  • no mention is made of the invasion by six Arab nations after Israel’s May 1948 declaration of independence;
slide28
Israel’s 1967 occupation of Gaza and West Bank is presented without context. Recipients of the UMC’s handouts are not informed of the events leading up to the Six-Day War when a combined threat from Egypt and Syria saw 80,000 troops massed at Israel’s borders with a simultaneous naval blockade;
  • no mention is made of Egypt and Syria’s surprise attack of Israel in 1973 on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar;
slide29
no reference is made to Hamas’ anti-semitic charter calling for the obliteration of Israel;
  • Hezbollah, which rained rockets on Israel’s north, is not mentioned;
  • the handouts ignore a sustained Palestinian campaign to glorify martyrdom to children and to viciously depict all Jews as enemies who ought to be killed.
slide30

The net result is that Methodists who receive their lessons in Middle East history from the UMC come away misinformed, with no sense of the real complexities involved in addressing the conflict.

what can methodists do
Become aware of the extent that UMC resources show bias in the depiction of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Eugene Korn’s The Jewish Connection to Israel, the Promised Land: A Brief Introduction for Christians.

Paul Johnson’s A History of the Jews;

What can Methodists do?
  • Read from a broad array of sources. Two books that provide a larger context are:
  • Please share this presentation with concerned friends.
slide32

Insist on balance in all UMC resources and church events in keeping with the 2004 General Conference mandate:

“We urge all United Methodists in the U.S. to encourage members of each congregation … to study the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

from all perspectives….”