Israel Lobby Threatens Church Groups With Congressional Investigation Over Call for Restricting U.S. Military Aid
A coalition of U.S. church groups recently made public a letter which called upon the U.S. government to condition future military aid to Israel on its fulfillment of obligations under U.S. law. The statement was intended to express criticism of Israel’s use of U.S. weapons like cluster bombs in violation of our law and noted that U.S. military assistance provided Israel a buffer against undertaking any actions to advance a just and lasting peace. For example, its settlement policy, refusal to return to 1967 borders, and refusal to share Jerusalem, all directly contradict international law and stated U.S. policy.
Though these church groups have been critical of Israeli policy in the past, threatening to lobby for withholding military aid would really cut the Israel lobby to the quick, as it’s a position held by a number of anti-Zionist groups that are much farther to the left. The fact that mainline Christian denominations, who generally support liberal Zionist positions, would be moving in a more critical direction has to be deeply concerning to the lobby.
Though they refuse to consider or acknowledge it, such a development indicates a growing alienation of American churches from Israel and the draconian positions advanced by its government. The churches are willing to lose their interfaith dialogue with the Jewish community over such an issue, which indicates how seriously they take their opposition to the Netanyahu regime.
First to lash out in anger was (typically) Abe Foxman followed by one of Israel’s leading hasbara outfits, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. It appears to be taking the lead in “handling” the BDS efforts of a number of the Christian denominations. As such, it’s a key player in Israel’s campaign against so-called “delegitimization.” Those guys at JCPA play hardball. Not content merely to criticize the churches, they lashed out at the “anti-Judaism” elements within their ranks. They used terms like “vicious anti-Zionism,” “relentless attacks on the Jewish state,” and “delegitimizers of Israel” to up the ante and level of vitriol. They also threatened to call out the Congressional dogs through mounting investigations of the groups themselves:
“JCPA is considering as a response asking Congress to investigate delegitimizers of Israel and to issue a resolution against their efforts.”
I’m not sure what this is supposed to gain the lobby. Do they think that parishioners will be mortified to find their particular denomination is called out by name in a Congressional resolution? Should these groups then call on their particular Congressional allies to respond tit for tat?
- Churches In U.S. Call On Government To Review Aid To Israel (alethonews.wordpress.com)