Jewish Leaders Disappointed by Presbyterian Church USA Response

New York, NY

. . . Dianne Lob, Chair, William Daroff, CEO, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Vice Chair of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, issued the following statement:

"This Shabbat’s hostage crisis at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, reminds us of how antisemitic tropes will often be the basis for violence against Jews. The normalization of antisemitic rhetoric has reached dangerous levels. We were heartened to see so many interfaith allies speak out and support the Jewish community during this difficult time.

Unfortunately, instead of issuing a statement of solidarity, the Presbyterian Church USA chose this weekend to issue a statement from Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, implying that U.S. Jews are responsible for 'enslavement' of Palestinians, a dangerous antisemitic trope.

To use the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to make claims linking the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to enslavement and then call on the American Jewish community to use its 'influence' with the American government is not only unfair, but it is also dangerous. It is a long-standing antisemitic trope about Jews. In fact, the perception of 'Jewish Power' appears to have been a key part of the distorted motivation of the terrorist who held four people hostage less than 48 hours before Rev. Nelson's hateful attack. Blaming American Jews for the actions of the Israeli government is a clear example of the ‘modern antisemitism’ defined in the internationally-accepted international holocaust remembrance alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.

We also note with sadness this is hardly the first time the Presbyterian Church USA has shown this ugly side of itself. We pray for more from a self-professed God-fearing Church."

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The Conference of Presidents is the central coordinating body representing 50 national Jewish organizations on issues of national and international concern

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