How’s that again, ACREC? You’re supposed to be the PC(USA)’s Advocacy for what exactly? Oh … “The Advocacy Committee for Racial and Ethnic Concerns”. Hmmm. Your “Advice and Counsel” on Overture 04-09 – “Resolution on Equal Rights for All Inhabitants of Israel and Palestine and on Conversations with Prophetic Voices” would be deliciously ironic if it weren’t so sad.
For the uninitiated: Business items considered by a General Assembly are first taken up by committees of GA commissioners. In theory, these are able to delve more deeply into specific topics and then return recommendations to the whole assembly. In the majority of, but by no means all cases, the committee recommendations are followed by the plenary.
But before items ever get to these committees, they are vetted by permanent standing committees of the denomination. These are not GA commissioners. They are basically the ‘religious’ version of bureaucrats. They give advice to the committees, and they often provide resource people to “help” the committees’ deliberations. This practice ensures a certain degree of institutional control over the outcome – in spite of the fact that the GA itself – the commissioners – are in theory, the highest governing body of the PC(USA).
So … ACREC attached its recommendation to pass Overture 04-09. Committee 4 – the actual commissioners considering “Middle East Issues” – dutifully approved it. But in the middle of ACREC’s “advice” we find this gem quoted:
The ADL [Anti-Defamation League] goes after anti-Semitism with a fist, it goes after Israeli racism with a sigh. As a matter of fact, the ADL and the entire American Jewish establishment should suspend their campaigns against anti-Semitism indefinitely and take a look at what’s going on in Israel.
Now, the quote is taken from an article by Larry Derfner in the Jewish Daily Forward. Obviously, therefore, it must be just fine for ACREC to quote it without context. Just putting it out there.
Just what, exactly? What function does it serve?
Is ACREC really suggesting that antisemitism isn’t a problem? That “the American Jewish establishment” should ignore antisemitism? Perhaps there is something uniquely hypocritical in Jewish concern over antisemitism … at least in ACREC’s fevered imagination. Perhaps an ethnic minority should not be concerned by attacks on its members?
Or is the point more visceral? Is it more intended to cultivate distaste for American Jews … who might, just might, oppose the institutional PC(USA)’s ultra-biased preferred narrative on Israelis and Palestinians?
Rather an interesting choice for a committee supposedly dedicated to racial ethnic concerns …