Methodists reject divestment and proselytizing of Jews

Methodists overwhelmingly defeated measures calling for divestment from companies that allegedly enable Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.

The resolutions, targeting companies like Caterpillar, which manufactures tractors, and Motorola, which manufactures security systems, had drawn much media scrutiny before this week’s United Methodist Church General Conference in Fort Worth, Texas.

Jewish groups were even more offended by a background document prepared in connection with the motions than they were by the notion of divestment itself. According to Jewish groups, the document was dismissive of Jewish concerns about anti-Semitism and ventured into “replacement theology,” the belief that Christianity has superseded Judaism.

An alliance of grassroots church activists who nurture ties to the Jewish community helped defeat five divestment resolutions, often in the early stages of the conference.

Those activists also helped pass resolutions opposing the proselytizing of Jews and promoting Holocaust awareness and the fight against anti-Semitism.

Ethan Felson, the associate executive director of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, a public policy umbrella group bringing together national organizations and local, attended the conference. He credited outreach by Jewish groups across the country to sympathetic Methodists, and called the defeat of the resolutions a “turning point.”

“The church has spoken that they don’t want this one-sided approach to their witness,” Felson said Friday, the last day of the conference.

“This wasn’t about a national campaign, it was about community to community,” he said. “This was about relationships.”

May 7, 2008 | 8 Comments »

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  1. It has been said that the history of almost all of the Jewish holidays can be summed up succinctly: “They wanted to kill us; we won. Let’s eat.” Why has anti-Semitism been so pervasive in so many countries, in so many time periods and for so many reasons? (One begins to wonder. Perhaps there is something wrong with the Jews and Judaism? After all, there is an old Yiddish saying — “If one person calls you a donkey, ignore him; if two people call you a donkey, buy a saddle.”)

    Between the years 250 CE and 1948 CE – a period of 1,700 years – Jews have experienced more than eighty expulsions from various countries in Europe – an average of nearly one expulsion every twenty-one years. Jews were expelled from England, France, Austria, Germany, Lithuania, Spain, Portugal, Bohemia, Moravia and seventy-one other countries.

    Historians have classified six explanations as to why people hate the Jews:

    1. Economic — “We hate Jews because they possess too much wealth and power.”
    2. Chosen People — “We hate Jews because they arrogantly claim that they are the chosen people.”
    3. Scapegoat — “Jews are a convenient group to single out and blame for our troubles.”
    4. Deicide — “We hate Jews because they killed Jesus.”
    5. Outsiders, — “We hate Jews because they are different than us.” (The dislike of the unlike.)
    6. Racial Theory — “We hate Jews because they are an inferior race.”

    As we examine the explanations, we must ask — Are they the causes for anti-Semitism or excuses for Anti-Semitism? The difference? If one takes away the cause, then anti-Semitism should no longer exist. If one can show a contradiction to the explanation, it demonstrates that the “cause” is not a reason, it is just an excuse. Let’s look at some contradictions:

    1. Economic — The Jews of 17th- 20th century Poland and Russia were dirt poor, had no influence and yet they were hated.

    2. Chosen People — a) In the late 19th century, the Jews of Germany denied “Choseness.” And then they worked on assimilation. Yet, the holocaust started there. b) Christians and Moslems profess to being the “Chosen people,” yet, the world and the anti-Semites tolerate them.

    3. Scapegoat — Any group must already be hated to be an effective scapegoat. The Scapegoat Theory does not then cause anti-Semitism. Rather, anti-Semitism is what makes the Jews a convenient scapegoat target. Hitler’s ranting and ravings would not be taken seriously if he said, “It’s the bicycle riders and the midgets who are destroying our society.”

    4. Deicide — a) the Christian Bible says the Romans killed Jesus, though Jews are mentioned as accomplices (claims that Jews killed Jesus came several hundred years later). How come the accomplices are persecuted and there isn’t an anti-Roman movement through history? b) Jesus himself said, “Forgive them [i.e., the Jews], for they know not what they do.” The Second Vatican Council in 1963 officially exonerated the Jews as the killers of Jesus. Neither statement of Christian belief lessened anti-Semitism.

    5. Outsiders — With the Enlightenment in the late 18th century, many Jews rushed to assimilate. Anti-Semitism should have stopped. Instead, for example, with the Nazis came the cry, in essence: “We hate you, not because you’re different, but because you’re trying to become like us! We cannot allow you to infect the Aryan race with your inferior genes.”

    6. Racial Theory — The overriding problem with this theory is that it is self-contradictory: Jews are not a race. Anyone can become a Jew – and members of every race, creed and color in the world have done so at one time or another.

    Every other hated group is hated for a relatively defined reason. We Jews, however, are hated in paradoxes: Jews are hated for being a lazy and inferior race – but also for dominating the economy and taking over the world. We are hated for stubbornly maintaining our separateness – and, when we do assimilate – for posing a threat to racial purity through intermarriages. We are seen as pacifists and as warmongers; as capitalist exploiters and as revolutionary communists; possessed of a Chosen-People mentality, as well as of an inferiority complex. It seems that we just can’t win.

    Now we know what are NOT the reasons for anti-Semitism.

  2. Oh, the white folks hate the black folks,
    And the black folks hate the white folks.
    To hate all but the right folks
    Is an old established rule.

    But during National Brotherhood Week, National Brotherhood Week,
    Lena Horne and Sheriff Clarke are dancing cheek to cheek.
    It’s fun to eulogize
    The people you despise,
    As long as you don’t let ’em in your school.

    Oh, the poor folks hate the rich folks,
    And the rich folks hate the poor folks.
    All of my folks hate all of your folks,
    It’s American as apple pie.

    But during National Brotherhood Week, National Brotherhood Week,
    New Yorkers love the Puerto Ricans ’cause it’s very chic.
    Step up and shake the hand
    Of someone you can’t stand.
    You can tolerate him if you try.

    Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics,
    And the Catholics hate the Protestants,
    And the Hindus hate the Moslems,
    And everybody hates the Jews.

    But during National Brotherhood Week, National Brotherhood Week,
    It’s National Everyone-smile-at-one-another-hood Week.
    Be nice to people who
    Are inferior to you.
    It’s only for a week, so have no fear.
    Be grateful that it doesn’t last all year!

  3. Methodist Churches were started by Freemasons and are therefore, another Masonic cult to be disregarded as such. Most “Christian” Churches are cults that brainwash people with a false form of Christianity that isn’t Christianity, a Trojan horse for the Satanic deception of accepting the New World Order aspirations. If you have a plan to turn as many Christians away from the God of Israel as possible, and this theology is pretty common in Christian cults, then the Satanic objective of attacking Israel is achieved through ANGELS OF LIGHT.

    I am a follower of the God of Israel as EXCLUSVIE MESSIAH and to sit Jesus on a second seat below God, next to God or above God violates the Ten Commandments. As a follower of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, I DO believe that the God of Israel came through Mary’s womb, born as a Son of Man who suffered as THE LAMB “OF GOD” to take away the sins of the whole world, so that both Jews and Gentiles could be RESTORED TOGETHER. Any doctrines that divide Jews and Christians against each other is apostate to the Revelation 21/22 rule that God’s City will have that Names of the 12 tribes of Israel TOGETHER with the names of the 12 apostles of the LAMB of THE GOD OF ISRAEL.

    So when an apostate group of people who are METHODISTS have a method of REPLACING and SLANDERING Israel are Biblically wrong. Neither Judaism replaces Jesus, nor does Jesus replace the Law and the Prophets – they are ONE doctrine from the same God of Israel. Therefore, to hell with Methodist doctrines and may many people leave the Methodist cult and get hip to the God Of Israel’ arrangement, rather than estrangement.

  4. Steve, in spite of the fact that this motion was being advanced by those Methodist elites of the United Methodist Church General Conference who do subscribe to replacement theology, it is more significant that they did not succeed in moving the conference to adopt their motion.

    While millions of American Christians may subscribe to replacement theology vis a vis how they see and relate to Jews, from my vantage point I see a great many more millions of Christians who do not so subscribe and that is what is significant to me.

    As for your suggesting that Pres. Bush subscribes to Christian replacement theology and secondly that is why he is seeking to dismember Israel, just what evidence do you have to prove your points?

    In my view the evidence for the Bush administration and former American administrations to at times take positions that are viewed as contrary to Israeli interests, has to do with its overarching American Middle East foreign policy established many years ago, which has everything to do with perceptions of self interest and little or nothing to do with Christian theology.

    That overarching policy is a primary guideline for the American State department which counsels the President and which has been accused and probably rightly so for being pro-Arab. That overarching policy seeks to advance American interests in the Middle East, which means playing some ball at times with Israel’s enemies.

    In my view, America has set and acted upon a number of positions and policies in furtherance of its overarching Middle East foreign policy which has impacted negatively against Israel far more often then its overarching policy required.

    Israel’s war with the Palestinians and indirectly with the Palestinian supporters is part and parcel of America’s and the West’s willful blindness to the war fundamentalist Muslims have openly declared against the West.

    Instead of moving to better define the enemy, America, like Britain has now moved further away by censoring those words and descriptions that more accurately describe and define America’s Islamist and Jihadist enemies.

    In order for America’s support of Israel to be less susceptible to being compromised by efforts to appease the Islamic and Jihadist world, efforts must be made, not be piecemeal as regards specific American sub-policies, but rather that effort must be directed towards changing America’s overarching Middle East foreign policy.

  5. Bill, I see the opposite is the case. There is nothing more insidious than this replacement theology that self-professed Christians like George W. Bush and millions of others embrace.

    According to Jewish groups, the document ….. ventured into “replacement theology,” the belief that Christianity has superseded Judaism.

    This is one of the reasons Bush has no qualms dismembering Israel and why millions of American Christians support him in this effort.

  6. This story bolsters the belief that Christianity is undergoing a transformation to rid itself of its antisemitic beliefs and perceptions and to change Christian perception of Jews to be kind, tolerant and respectful. Further, this story bolsters hope that eventually all of Christianity will be completely transformed in that regard.

    Though there is still much ground to cover, Jews should recognize that Christianity appears to be slowly moving in the right direction.