The Christian Left Takes Aim at Israel

February 1, 2021 | Kennedy Lee
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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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