The Israel-Boycott Charade of the United Church of Christ

In 2015, the general synod of the United Church of Christ (UCC)—one of America’s major mainline Protestant denominations—voted overwhelmingly in favor of divestment of church funds from corporations doing business with Israel, deeming the Jewish state the sole nation whose violations of human rights justified such a measure. Dexter Van Zile notes that this resolution was purely an exercise in moral posturing:

The vote generated a lot of publicity for the denomination, but it didn’t have the impact its supporters said it was going to have. The denomination’s $3.2-billion retirement fund is still invested in three of the companies named by the resolution—Caterpillar ($1.7 million), Hewlett-Packard ($437,000), and Motorola ($342,000). The numbers aren’t huge, but the fact is UCC’s pension boards own stock that the denomination’s general synod explicitly blacklisted for profiting from Israel’s purported misdeeds in the West Bank.

If we are to believe the propaganda broadcast at the general synod in 2015, UCC retirees are profiting from human suffering in the Holy Land. The [synod] told the denomination’s local churches, parishioners, and, by way of implication, the rest of American society that they shouldn’t profit from companies that do business with Israel. But the denomination’s retirement fund does just that.

It was all a farce — a hypocritical, dishonest farce. . . . And that was how it was going to be from the very beginning, [since] UCC pension boards are not bound by the general synod’s resolutions. In other words, the UCC pension fund was free to do whatever it needed to do to achieve the 4-percent return on investment that it has promised to retirees. . .

It just goes to confirm what most people have concluded all along: anti-Israel divestment resolutions are just a charade, a put-on used to generate hostility toward the Jewish state and its supporters in the U.S. The whole point of the divestment resolutions was not to get church institutions to sell stock, but to use divestment motions to turn the floor of church-wide assemblies into venues for anti-Israel witch trials.

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More about: Anti-Zionism, BDS, Israel & Zionism, Jewish-Christian relations

Yasir Arafat’s Decades-Long Alliance with Iran and Its Consequences for Both Palestinians and Iranians

Jan. 18 2019

In 2002—at the height of the second intifada—the Israeli navy intercepted the Karina A, a Lebanese vessel carrying 50 tons of Iranian arms to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). But Yasir Arafat’s relationship with the Islamic Republic goes much farther back, to before its founding in 1979. The terrorist leader had forged ties with followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini that grew especially strong in the years when Lebanon became a base of operations both for Iranian opponents of the shah and for the PLO itself. Tony Badran writes:

The relationship between the Iranian revolutionary factions and the Palestinians began in the late 1960s, in parallel with Arafat’s own rise in preeminence within the PLO. . . . [D]uring the 1970s, Lebanon became the site where the major part of the Iranian revolutionaries’ encounter with the Palestinians played out. . . .

The number of guerrillas that trained in Lebanon with the Palestinians was not particularly large. But the Iranian cadres in Lebanon learned useful skills and procured weapons and equipment, which they smuggled back into Iran. . . . The PLO established close working ties with the Khomeinist faction. . . . [W]orking [especially] closely with the PLO [was] Mohammad Montazeri, son of the senior cleric Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri and a militant who had a leading role in developing the idea of establishing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) once the revolution was won.

The Lebanese terrorist and PLO operative Anis Naccache, who coordinated with [the] Iranian revolutionaries, . . . takes personal credit for the idea. Naccache claims that Jalaleddin Farsi, [a leading Iranian revolutionary], approached him specifically and asked him directly to draft the plan to form the main pillar of the Khomeinist regime. The formation of the IRGC may well be the greatest single contribution that the PLO made to the Iranian revolution. . . .

Arafat’s fantasy of pulling the strings and balancing the Iranians and the Arabs in a grand anti-Israel camp of regional states never stood much of a chance. However, his wish to see Iran back the Palestinian armed struggle is now a fact, as Tehran has effectively become the principal, if not the only, sponsor of the Palestinian military option though its direct sponsorship of Islamic Jihad and its sustaining strategic and organizational ties with Hamas. By forging ties with the Khomeinists, Arafat unwittingly helped to achieve the very opposite of his dream. Iran has turned [two] Palestinian factions into its proxies, and the PLO has been relegated to the regional sidelines.

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More about: Hamas, History & Ideas, Iran, Lebanon, PLO, Yasir Arafat