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What Motivates the Methodist Church’s Attacks on Israel?

Sept. 22 2016

An exhibition currently at the Hinde Street Methodist Church in London is meant to replicate Israeli military checkpoints in the West Bank. Tom Wilson, who was raised a Methodist, wonders why the church chooses to focus its attention on the Jewish state:

There is something deeply disturbing about people who are more troubled by the security put in place to prevent terrorism than they are by the terrorism itself.

It’s all the more disturbing that Hinde Street Methodists appear to have singled out Israeli Jews as being uniquely undeserving of being protected from terrorism. The church’s website may feature a declaration about opposing discrimination, but where the welfare of Israelis is concerned, it seems the church does discriminate. There is no shortage of conflict zones around the world where barriers and checkpoints have been set up. . . . Might [any of these] not be a subject of interest if the Methodists of Hinde Street have genuine humanitarian concerns?

But what if this has nothing to do with humanitarian concerns at all? What if this is about something far uglier within the Methodist movement? . . .

In 2010 the Methodists singled out Israel for boycott action. . . . Reverend Nicola Jones, who proposed the motion, supported her call for boycotts by dabbling in a discussion about Jewish chosenness (never a good sign) before going on to promote the supersessionist idea of a “new covenant.” She then completed her speech by remarking that “God is not a racist God, with favorites.” The implication was clear. The Jews and their religion are racist, with belief in a racist God, and as such they should be punished with boycotts. It was the age-old basis for the worst form of Christian anti-Semitism being revisited.

There is no getting away from the fact that John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, was an outspoken anti-Semite. . . . During the German occupation of the Channel Islands, a local Methodist minister called John Leale collaborated enthusiastically with the Nazis by disclosing the names of the Islands’ Jewish residents. Given that history, you might have thought the Methodists would show a little more humility on the subject. Instead, one of the members of clergy speaking at the 2010 conference accused Jews of using the Holocaust as a “Zionist tool.”

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Anti-Semitism, Christianity, Israel & Zionism, West Bank, World War II

How Lebanon—and Hizballah—Conned and Humiliated Rex Tillerson

Feb. 21 2018

Last Thursday, the American secretary of state arrived in Beirut to express Washington’s continued support for the country’s government, which is now entirely aligned with Hizballah. His visit came shortly after Israel’s showdown with Hizballah’s Iranian protectors in Syria and amid repeated warnings from Jerusalem about the terrorist organization’s growing threat to Israeli security. To Tony Badran, Tillerson’s pronouncements regarding Lebanon have demonstrated the incoherence of the Trump administration’s policy:

[In Beirut], Tillerson was made to sit alone in a room with no American flag in sight and wait—as photographers took pictures and video—before Hizballah’s chief allies in Lebanon’s government, President Michel Aoun and his son-in-law the foreign minister, finally came out to greet him. Images of the U.S. secretary of state fidgeting in front of an empty chair were then broadcast across the Middle East to symbolize American impotence at a fateful moment for the region. . . .

Prior to heading to Beirut, Tillerson gave an interview to the American Arabic-language station al-Hurra, in which he emphasized that Hizballah was a terrorist organization, and that the United States expected cooperation from the “Lebanon government to deal very clearly and firmly with those activities undertaken by Lebanese Hizballah that are unacceptable to the rest of the world.” . . . But then, while in Jordan, Tillerson undermined any potential hints of firmness by reading from an entirely different script—one that encapsulates the confused nonsense that is U.S. Lebanon policy. Hizballah is “influenced by Iran,” Tillerson said. But, he added, “We also have to acknowledge the reality that they also are part of the political process in Lebanon”—which apparently makes being “influenced by Iran” and being a terrorist group OK. . . .

The reality on the ground in Lebanon, [however], is [that] Hizballah is not only a part of the Lebanese government, it controls it—along with all of the country’s illustrious “institutions,” including the Lebanese Armed Forces. . . .

[Meanwhile], Israel’s tactical Syria-focused approach to the growing threat on its borders has kept the peace so far, but it has come at a cost. For one thing, it does not address the broader strategic factor of Iran’s growing position in Syria, and it leaves Iran’s other regional headquarters in Lebanon untouched. Also, it sets a pace that is more suitable to Iran’s interests. The Iranians can absorb tactical strikes so long as they are able to consolidate their strategic position in Syria and Lebanon. Not only have the Iranians been able to fly a drone into Israel but also their allies and assets have made gains on the ground near the northern Golan and in Mount Hermon. As Iran’s position strengthens, and as Israel’s military and political hand weakens, the Israelis will soon be left with little choice other than to launch a devastating war.

To avoid that outcome, the United States needs to adjust its policy—and fast. Rather than leaving Israel to navigate around the Russians and go after Iran’s assets in Syria and Lebanon on its own, it should endorse Israel’s red lines regarding Iran in Syria, and amplify its campaign against Iranian assets. In addition, it should revise its Lebanon policy and end its investment in the Hizballah-controlled order there.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Israeli Security, Lebanon, Politics & Current Affairs, Rex Tillerson, U.S. Foreign policy