21 May '4..
Earlier this year, the Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church USA, an organization with a well-documented history of demonizing Israel and American Jews, issued a text called Zionism Unsettled. True to form, the IPMN’s booklet includes a chapter that accuses American Jews of "living in a bubble.”
Who is living in a bubble, really? American Jews who support Israel or IPMN leaders?
It's a reasonable question to ask after watching one of the videos on a DVD that accompanies Zionism Unsettled. In an on-camera interview, Irving Wesley Hall (pictured above in a screenshot from the video) reports that prior to the Six Day War, Israelis and Jews did not care too much about Jerusalem.
Up until the 1967 conquest of Jerusalem, it was not regarded by any element of Israeli society or any of the streams of Judaism as somehow central to God's plan for the Jews.
But that all changed in 1967.
The notion that the city was unimportant to Israel and to all of the "streams of Judaism" prior to the Six Day War is, to put it politely, an outrageous misstatement of fact.
In his book The Chosen (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), Avi Beker reports:
In Jewish tradition, Jerusalem is the great physical link between the Chosen People and God. From David's time until the city's destruction by Titus in 70 CE, it was the Jewish religious center and the seat of government. At its heart where the First and then the Second Temples with their Holy of Holies, the dwelling place of the Divine Presence. In Diaspora, the Jews never ceased longing for Zion, synonymous since biblical times with the city itself, and more particularly with the Temple Mount. Jerusalem was (and is) embodied in their prayers, their holidays, and their hopes for redemption. It is to them their once-and-forever spiritual home. (Page 158)
On page 159, Beker reports:
"Jews have referred to Jerusalem for three thousand years as the abode of the Shekhina (the divine presence of God) and as their only eternal capital."
And on page 160 he reports:
The centrality of Jerusalem in Jewish life can hardly be exaggerated. In addition to mentioning Jerusalem several times in their daily prayers as well as in the grace after every meal, prayers for Jerusalem are included in the Jewish marriage ceremony. The bridegroom crushes a glass underfoot to symbolize his grief over the destruction of the Temple. In a house of mourning, visitors recite the traditional consolation: “May the Almighty comfort you and all the mourners of Jerusalem and Zion."
Hall simply does not know what he is talking about. Jerusalem has been a touchstone for the Jewish people, and all streams of Judaism, for a long, long time.
Did the folks at IPMN not know this when they decided to include Hall’s testimony in their “educational” video?
If they did not know this, they have no business publishing a book about the Arab-Israeli conflict.
If they did know this, then they have intentionally misled their readers.
Either way, the inclusion of Hall’s testimony in a DVD about the conflict is just another example of the IPMN violating its mandate to educate, not misinform, Presbyterians about the Arab-Israeli conflict.