Nearly 500 years ago, Martin Luther called for the burning of synagogues and the destruction of Jewish homes. In 1994, the leaders of the American Lutheran church, along with the global organization, formally rejected and condemned the anti-Semitism of their denominations’ founder. Now, however, the church’s current leaders are seeking to reverse that decision. The triennial assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA), the official U.S. Lutheran organization, recently voted in favor of resolutions calling for divestment from Israel and for the U.S. government to end aid to the Jewish state, recognize a Palestinian state, and pressure Jerusalem to stop the building of “settlements.” Petra Heldt explains how the anti-Israel movement hijacked the church:
Both resolutions, de facto, intend the destruction of the state of Israel. The anti-Israel character of the resolutions fits the old-style Lutheran anti-Semitic diatribes. . . .
The strategy was simple: Isaiah 58 [a U.S.-based anti-Israel Lutheran group] and the network of the current head of the Lutheran World Federation (Munib Younan, [a Palestinian]) teamed up for the preparations of the anti-Israel resolutions. The organized lobbying work [at the conference] produced the desired results. To make sure that no mishap occurred, . . . Pastor Khader Khalila from Bethlehem addressed the ELCA assembly on the alleged Israeli occupation of Bethlehem (which of course has been controlled by the Palestinian Authority since 1993). It worked like clockwork. There was no recognizable group of Lutheran Christians that was able to defend its own turf against such anti-Semitic usurpers. . . .
While politicians might be able to afford to ignore old-fashioned and outdated resolutions on Israel and continue with their business as usual, the good leadership of the Lutheran churches worldwide should not.