Mainline Protestantism, Anti-Semitism, and the "Christian Century"

For almost 100 years, the Christian Century has been a major publication of mainstream American Protestantism. During the 1930s and 40s, it distinguished itself by its conspicuous lack of sympathy for Jews in Hitler’s Europe and its hostility toward Zionism. When he took over the publication in the 1970s, James M. Wall tentatively apologized for its prior sins, but did not give up its anti-Zionism. Since his departure, the magazine has backed away from such positions, while Wall has become a regular contributor to the openly anti-Semitic Veterans’ News Network, a purveyor of 9/11 conspiracy theories. Dexter van Zile writes:

As Wall’s tenure proceeded, the Christian Century became fundamentally hostile toward the Jewish state, largely mirroring—and fueling—the cult of anti-Zionism that existed in mainline Protestant churches in the United States. Under Wall’s leadership, the magazine treated the Jewish state just as the magazine had treated Jews under [the previous editor’s] leadership.

When Wall retired from his post as editor of the Christian Century in 1999 and took on the title of senior contributing editor, . . . his anti-Israel bent became even more pronounced. In his regular columns, Wall’s obsession with Israel became full-blown, with his writings becoming increasingly unhinged from reality. In 2005, he wrote a piece that falsely asserted that Israel’s security barrier completely surrounded the city of Bethlehem. Also that year, he described Hizballah and Hamas—two terrorist organizations—as “Muslim non-governmental groups.”

Read more at Gatestone

More about: Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, Jewish-Christian relations, Protestantism

As Hamas’s Reign of Terror Endures, the International Community Remains Obsessed with Jews Living in the Wrong Places

On Thursday, foreign ministers of the G-7—the U.S., Canada, Japan, Britain, France, Germany, and Italy—along with the EU, made an official “statement on the situation in the West Bank,” an area where they are very concerned, it appears, that too many Jews are dwelling. In particular, the G-7 condemned Israel’s decision to grant municipal status to five ad-hoc villages built without proper permits. Elliott Abrams comments:

I can see “condemning” murder, terror, kidnapping, and “rejecting” that legalization. Indeed in the next sentence they “reject the decision by the government of Israel to declare over 1,270 hectares of land in the West Bank as ‘state lands.’” Building houses should not be treated with language usually reserved for murder.

The statement then added complaints about the Israeli settlement program more generally, and about Israel’s decision to withhold some tax revenues it collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Why does Israel ever withhold such funds? Sometimes it is in the immediate aftermath of a terrorist attack. Sometimes it’s domestic politics. But it’s worth remembering something else: the Taylor Force Act, which became law in 2018 and stated that the “Palestinian Authority’s practice of paying salaries to terrorists serving in Israeli prisons, as well as to the families of deceased terrorists, is an incentive to commit acts of terror.” Until those payments cease, most forms of aid from the U.S. government to the Palestinian Authority may not be made. The payments continue. It is not clear if the State Department is pressuring the Palestinian Authority to end them.

Such moral considerations are entirely absent from the G-7 statement. The statement may be correct when it says, “maintaining economic stability in the West Bank is critical for regional security.” But it should be obvious that ending the pay-for-slay program and rewards for terrorism is even more critical for regional security. It’s a pity the G-7 did not find time to mention that.

The statement, it’s worth noting, appeared on the U.S. State Department website.

Read more at Pressure Points

More about: Europe and Israel, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, U.S. Foreign policy, West Bank