The Christian Left Takes Aim at Israel

Founded in the 18th century, Methodism lacks the complex history of anti-Semitism shared by so many Christian denominations. Yet two major American Methodist advocacy groups have decided to put the promotion of hostility toward the Jewish state high on their agenda. Kennedy Lee reports:

The Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA) and United Methodist Kairos Response (UMKR), two prominent Christian-left supporters of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, recently hosted a webinar in which panelists outlined “new opportunities” for BDS and other anti-Zionist actions in the new 117th Congress and Biden administration. One panelist, Mark Harrison, the director of United Methodist Church Peace with Justice programs, gloated that activists such as those from MFSA and UMKR had “successfully moved the Democratic party” away from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

Although the panelists repeatedly emphasized their devotion to “Palestinian rights,” in Lee’s telling their really priority is encouraging the U.S. government to condemn Israel.

“We need to engage Republicans,” stated Harrison. He also addressed the “problem” of Christian Zionism and its influence on American foreign policy towards Israel. “We need to think about strategy wise how to combat [Christian Zionism]. . . . It is the Christian Zionists who are driving debates among Republicans,” he asserted.

[Another speaker] made referenced a December letter that was sent to the Biden-Harris transition team by seventeen Christian denominations and faith-based organizations. The letter includes six requests regarding [U.S. policy toward Israel]. The final request states: “Make clear that criticism of Israel, including support for boycott, divestment, and sanctions actions, is protected and legitimate speech.”

This of course, is a favorite talking point of Israel-obsessives, despite the fact that opponents of the BDS movement have by and large never supported the suppression of criticism of Israel, or of the right of BDS advocates to disseminate their ideas freely.

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Read more at Juicy Ecumenicism

More about: Anti-Zionism, BDS, Christianity

Salman Rushdie and the Western Apologists for Those Who Wish Him Dead

Aug. 17 2022

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder and supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, issued a fatwa (religious ruling) in 1989 calling for believers to murder the novelist Salman Rushdie due to the content of his novel, The Satanic Verses. Over the years, two of the book’s translators have been stabbed—one fatally—and numerous others have been injured or killed in attempts to follow the ayatollah’s writ. Last week, an American Shiite Muslim came closer than his many predecessors to killing Rushdie, stabbing him multiple times and leaving him in critical condition. Graeme Wood comments on those intellectuals in the West who have exuded sympathy for the stabbers:

In 1989, the reaction to the fatwa was split three ways: some supported it; some opposed it; and some opposed it, to be sure, but still wanted everyone to know how bad Rushdie and his novel were. This last faction, Team To Be Sure, took the West to task for elevating this troublesome man and his insulting book, whose devilry could have been averted had others been more attuned to the sensibilities of the offended.

The fumes are still rising off of this last group. The former president Jimmy Carter was, at the time of the original fatwa, the most prominent American to suggest that the crime of murder should be balanced against Rushdie’s crime of blasphemy. The ayatollah’s death sentence “caused writers and public officials in Western nations to become almost exclusively preoccupied with the author’s rights,” Carter wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times. Well, yes. Carter did not only say that many Muslims were offended and wished violence on Rushdie; that was simply a matter of fact, reported frequently in the news pages. He took to the op-ed page to add his view that these fanatics had a point. “While Rushdie’s First Amendment freedoms are important,” he wrote, “we have tended to promote him and his book with little acknowledgment that it is a direct insult to those millions of Moslems whose sacred beliefs have been violated.” Never mind that millions of Muslims take no offense at all, and are insulted by the implication that they should.

Over the past two decades, our culture has been Carterized. We have conceded moral authority to howling mobs, and the louder the howls, the more we have agreed that the howls were worth heeding. The novelist Hanif Kureishi has said that “nobody would have the [courage]” to write The Satanic Verses today. More precisely, nobody would publish it, because sensitivity readers would notice the theological delicacy of the book’s title and plot. The ayatollahs have trained them well, and social-media disasters of recent years have reinforced the lesson: don’t publish books that get you criticized, either by semiliterate fanatics on the other side of the world or by semiliterate fanatics on this one.

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Read more at Atlantic

More about: Ayatollah Khomeini, Freedom of Speech, Iran, Islamism, Jimmy Carter