Anti-Israel bigotry and bias Christian Left Manfred Gerstenfeld



This what happens when the Left get involved with anything, it turns to crap.

These Christian mainstream churches have been over run with the ‘social gospel’ types, and what they bring with them is virulent anti-Israel-anti-Semitic clap trap. It’s just not enough to say that mainstream churches are turning against Israel, there are serious influences  coming from extremist secularists on the Left who have had great success with the leaders of these churches. The same is happening here in Europe as well.

NOTE: The interview was published today at Israel National News, and republished here with the author’s consent.



Manfred Gerstenfeld interviews Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein

“The leadership of most American ‘mainline’ Protestant churches is top-heavy with anti-Israel agitation, especially among those on mission committees. By now, a substantial number of their members have been influenced by anti-Israel rhetoric. Furthermore, younger members, due to anti-Israel attitudes on campus, are increasingly hostile to Israel. If the Palestinians make further progress here, it will be a great blow to the self-understanding of America as ‘firmly in Israel’s camp.’

“These very liberal churches include Presbyterians, Methodists, Episcopalians, Lutherans, and the United Church of Christ. They presently number about 16 million. Their membership and influence in the United States continue to decline. These churches’ rhetoric is usually outdone by an even harsher one of a small group of so-called ‘peace churches,’ including the Mennonites and Quakers.”

Rabbi Yitchok Adlerstein is the Director of Interfaith Affairs at the Simon Wiesenthal Center. He is the Adjunct Chair, Jewish Law and Ethics at Loyola Law School. He is the Founding Editor of the Jewish Orthodox blog Cross-Currents.

“Mainline churches claim many members from Congress. They represent America’s heartland and have adopted a range of resolutions hostile to Israel. They include calls for boycotts plus divestment and sanctions (BDS). Some are aimed at Israel, others focus on the ‘settlements.’ Several churches supported the hateful Kairos Palestine Document published in 2009 by some Palestinian Christians. There is also tourism to Israel under Palestinian auspices.

“BDS started with the passage of a resolution in 2004 at the Presbyterian Church (USA) calling for selective divestment of shares of American companies doing business in Israel. Long before that, the World Council of Churches (WCC) founded in 1948, aligned itself with ‘third world’ countries and thinking. This is an international umbrella group of mainline churches which claims denominational membership of 590 million people. It has frequently condemned Israel, yet never protested attempts by Israel’s neighbors and by terrorists to erase it from the map. The churches’ salaried officials often harm Israel, without a specific mandate from a convention floor. For example, in fall 2012 just before the U.S. presidential elections, a consortium of church officials sent a letter to members of Congress questioning how U.S. military aid was being used by Israel, and calling for cutbacks in that aid.

“Several of these churches also publish extremely anti-Israel educational materials. These are often the only ones members will view. The Methodists produced a study guide a few years ago authored by an apostate Jewish pastor. He admitted to hating Judaism. It featured illustrations of Israeli soldiers reminiscent of Nazi guards at a concentration camp.[1]

“The motives of these churches differ. Some aim to delegitimize the State of Israel as ‘a colonialist enterprise conceived in sin.’ Others desire to give Christian witness to the lack of peace in the Holy Land. These churches have discarded much of their grandparents’ beliefs and practices, retaining sympathy only for the powerless. In defending the Palestinians, they claim to support the underdog against ‘powerful and evil Israel.’

“Theology is playing an increasing role in mainline churches’ anti-Israel activity. It began with the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center and its head, Dr. Naim Ateek. Many liberal churches have partnered with Sabeel. Ateek used crucifixion imagery in his Easter message of 2001: ‘It seems to many of us that Jesus is on the cross again with thousands of crucified Palestinians around him.’[2]  This reintroduces the ancient murderous Christian charge of deicide against the Jews. Ateek and others deny that the Bible speaks of any covenant of land with the Jews. This is a renewal of the replacement theology and supersessionism, and is extremely dangerous for Jews around the world, especially at a time of rising anti-Semitism.

“Palestinian influences in anti-Israel hate mongering is huge. They have sent teams of Palestinian Christians around the U.S for a decade, tugging at Christian heartstrings with emotional tales of woe. They are more effective than Palestinian Muslims, who don’t come as ‘brothers.’

“Still, there are surprises. In 2012, several denominations substituted positive investment resolutions in place of divestment. In some cases, votes that looked like they were heading in the anti-Israel direction were saved by impassioned speeches by pastors who spoke about the impact such a resolution would have on Jewish-Christian friendships and partnerships in their churches.

“I frequently converse with friends in churches, pondering the sundry causes of anti-Israel sentiment. When I attribute much to the misdirection of Christian love, I am often interrupted by someone saying: ‘Rabbi, I wish it were true. There is far more old-fashioned anti-Semitism in this church than any of us would like to admit.’”

“The actions of these mainline churches have poisoned the well of Christian-Jewish dialogue. Jews entered the dialogue, which has been fruitful at times, on the basis of assurances that Christian partners left contempt for Jews and Judaism behind, and had made serious attempts to understand what was important to Jews. The way in which these churches treat Israel shows that neither is true.”


10 Responses

  1. what’s new?
    “Christians” have always hated Jews; they have never been able to deal with the fact that Jesus was a Jew and that their religion is founded on a lie.
    Jesus was never the first christian, but an orthodox/fundamentalist Jew.

    1. Not all Christians. And yes Jesus was a rabbi.

      Careful not to throw out the good when you purge the bad. That’s the anti-Christian secular error, and similar phenomena have happen to all groups through the ages.

      The last thing we need is a fractured “Christian Spring”.

      Those who have done the work should be able to keep perspective and not go down the rabbit hole.


  2. Although antisemitism has seemingly turned into the new fashionable trend on the Left in the 21st century, this widened and unquestioned acceptance has also made it easier to reignite the Christian charge of deicide against the Jews. Some Christians tend to focus their priorities solely on this issue, while displaying a total disregard for the interconnecting beliefs with regards to the positive aspects of both Christianity and Judaism, such as the preeminence of the Golden Rule in both religions. The suggestion I am making is that people who are prioritizing on the deicide issue are particularly predisposed to antisemitism as a core concept in the way they think about Jews, clearly overruling all other concerns that would naturally draw us nearer towards them.

    I have noticed something very disconcerting going on. Both secularists and Christians separately are getting fragmented with regards to antisemitism. We have people such as Robert Spencer, who lays emphasis on everything that makes Islam incompatible with modern society and who lays bare the very inhumanity and dehumanization that are at the core of Islam as a totalitarian doctrine. As a consequence, Robert’s point of view, although inspired by Christianity, is more easily understood by both those Christians and atheists alike who consider Islam as an ideology that runs counter to the upholding of fundamental Human and Civil Rights. Which also engenders the understanding within both of these groups in the Counter-Jihad, that there can be no enmity for us to covet towards Jews. We consider them very much as our valiant allies, above all.

  3. The core issue of our debates within the Counter-Jihad is the preservation of Humanist ideals, regardless of what type of tradition such ideals are rooted in. (either Jewish, secularist or Christian) And this is something that Robert Spencer clearly understands, just as much as I do. Although I am an atheist, I have never found myself doubting anything that Robert says on Islam, because I find this perfectly congruent with my own ideas on Humanism. In my mind there IS no rift among Jews, Christians or secularists, unless for some reason at one point any one of these groups decides to stray from the core issues that binds us together: the upholding of Human Rights.

    When Humanist values are at stake, the main difference revolves around what one believes to be right. The preservation of human rights or the assumption that Jews can be held perpetually accountable for some perceived wrongdoing, like having killed morality, represented by Jesus Christ (like some Christians want us to believe more than anything else) or that both Western societies and Jews alike can be held perpetually accountable for the misery of the Islamic world, Muslims in general or Palestinians in particular ? (like Left-leaning PC ‘elites’ wants to portray it ?)

  4. From the way Robert speaks on his blog it is quite clear that Jews, atheists and Christians alike CAN gather around the same core Humanist ideals, and that by default the priority of some Christians and atheists has nothing to do with these issues, but simply revolves around a very personalized and despicable predisposition towards Judaism. Which means that in effect, there are both Christians AND atheists around to whom the whole matter of human rights is in fact NOT the primary concern, which makes some Christians decide to trail in the wake of essentially Leftist PC MC and moral relativist doctrine to turn their own anti-Jewish rhetoric as fashionable and acceptable to a general audience or to their own adherents and supporters !

    And consequently, according to this logic, they find themselves in the camp of Islam !

  5. In the mind of the antisemitic Christian, Christianity has turned into a wholly one-dimensional affair, far removed from the core issues of the faith that are innately benign and outweigh his despicable personalized interpretation with which he tries to suit his ‘needs’. Thus, the core problem is not Christianity as a whole, but the personal motives of the antisemite, who, for reasons only known to himself, has made a sole priority of discriminating against Jews, with a thin veneer of justification he has allegedly found in Christian doctrine.

    Most of these antisemitic Christians were simply biding their time and were not eager to vent these despicable views in public, until they saw the emergence of ‘popularized’, innately Leftwing antisemitism gaining a wider acceptance in the PC MC mainstream media. Essentially, Leftwing PC MC, Thirld Worldism, moral relativism, pro-Palestinian attitudes and the ensuing antisemitism of the Left gradually gaining a foothold in the MSM have turned into the katalyst of a renewed Christian antisemitism, propagated by specific individuals trying to popularize antisemitism in Christian communities as a whole.

    Which means that in effect, there are both Christians AND atheists to whom the whole matter of human rights is in fact NOT the primary concern ! Hence, this is not a rift between ALL Christians vs. ALL atheists or Jews, but a rift between those reasonable Christians, atheists and Jews that want to preserve human rights within the legal framework (all having their rightful place in a Counter-Jihad movement that emphasizes the commonalities between them) vs. those Christians, atheists and Jews that ironically find themselves subdued by the PC myths purveyed by the “the Palestinian issue”, anti-Zionism (a deliberate misnomer for antisemitism), political correctness and the ruse of Islamophobia.

  6. I know Rabbi Adlerstein. He’s a strong proponent of interfaith relations.

    I remember well what he said at our annual interfaith gathering: “Evangelicals are going to ‘tell you the good news’. It’s something they hold dear as a commandment. They’re always polite about it and we (Jews) can just as politely listen and say no. That should NOT be a reason why Jews should reject Evangelical support for Israel. Quite the opposite! Just as Evangelicals are commanded to ‘tell us the good news’, they also are commanded to support Jews and Israel. We don’t have many friends like that in this world and we should return their kindness equally firm in our Jewish faith for which they show considerable respect.”

    I will also note that one of my best buddies in the Presbyterian Church (He is a college classmate and Paster at a local Presbyterian Church.) is also very pro-Israel. You’d be surprised at how many Presbyterians are pro-Israel. Sadly, there are well-monied interest in the leadership that are pushing BDS. Many Presbyterians are facing a personal dilemma about this. They don’t support BDS in any way, shape or form.

    I suspect there are a lot of petro-dollars and “Soros-dollars” at work in some of these church hierarchies. In other cases, they were hostile toward Jews from the beginning.

    1. Still, anyone should reject the nasty notion of incorporating antisemitism in Christian doctrine as if it were an essential core component of the faith, (which it isn’t) because in my opinion, it is clearly a construct invented by individuals primarily predisposed to antisemitism above all else, regardless of what they want to believe beyond that.

      Now I am not religiously inclined, by I am quite confident to state that there is in fact no antisemitic core within Christianity as such. Reaching out to people who tend to profess there is – however subtle it may seem – is not a solution to anything. If anything, it is degrading.

      I was never taught to hate Jews and I profess I will never stoop so low. The concept is totally alien to my attitude. Anyone who tries to convert me to antisemitism is going to get his patience severely tested within a matter of minutes. That’s the only way to deal with it.

  7. True.
    But at the same time, the last pro-Israel groups in the west will be overwhelmingly christian. The next step (in some societies already started) is that these minority christians will be increasingly persecuted for their faith by the majority.

  8. Whichever church and whoever the person who is anti-Israel and anti-Judaism is not my brother. I don’t know them.

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