Presbyterian Church (USA) Drops Online Sale of Anti-Zionism Study Guide

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) holds its biennial meeting in Detroit, Michigan, June 14-21, 2014.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) holds its biennial meeting in Detroit, Michigan, June 14-21, 2014. | (Photo: Facebook/PCUSA)

The largest Presbyterian denomination in the United States will no longer sell a controversial anti-Zionism publication on its website.

Presbyterian Church (USA) announced last Friday that it will immediately halt the online sale of "Zionism Unsettled", a publication produced by the Church's Israel-Palestine Mission Network.

A representative from PC (USA) told The Christian Post that the two members of their leadership who could comment were not available. Instead, CP was directed to an online statement from PC (USA)'s Presbyterian Mission Agency.

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"Last week in Detroit, the 221st General Assembly passed a resolution declaring that the booklet Zionism Unsettled 'does not represent the views of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'," reported PMA.

"We are praying for continued conversation and reconciliation within the church and for its witness to a just peace for all people in Israel-Palestine."

Released in January, "Zionism Unsettled" was a study guide on the Jewish and Christian Zionism. It included a 74-page booklet and companion DVD, promoting itself as providing a "deeper understanding" the roots of Zionism and the competing claims over the Holy Land by Christians, Muslims and Jews.

"The booklet and companion DVD draw together compelling and diverse viewpoints from Jews, Muslims and Christians in Israel, Palestine, the U.S., and around the globe," stated the Mission Network.

"By contrasting mainstream perceptions with important alternative perspectives frequently ignored in the media, 'Zionism Unsettled' is an invaluable guide to deeper understanding."

"Zionism Unsettled" quickly garnered controversy from Jewish groups and pro-Israel Christians over claims that the study guide portrayed Jews and Israel in an unfair light.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, the Center's director of interfaith affairs, wrote a column stating that the study guide was "sending Jews to the trash-heap of history."

"Presbyterian churches are teaching that their Jewish neighbors are inherently racist and prone to abusing the rights of others," wrote Cooper and Adlerstein.

"Zionism Unsettled" received compliments from others, including Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University.

"'Zionism Unsettled' explains accurately and concisely why it is essential to look at the theological roots of Zionism…in order to understand the true nature of the long ordeal suffered by the Palestinian people, as well as the real roots of so much of the strife in the Middle East," commented Khalidi.

The announcement removing "Zionism Unsettled" from PC (USA)'s website came not long after the denomination's 221st General Assembly, where delegates narrowly voted in favor of divesting from three companies who do business with Israel.

"By a vote of 310-303, the Assembly approved an overture calling for divestment from Caterpillar Inc., Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions, companies some allege are engaged in 'non-peaceful pursuits' in the region," reported Bethany Daily.

"The overture included amended language acknowledging the complexities of the conflict in Israel-Palestine, the PC(USA)'s longstanding commitment to peace in the region, the suffering of both Israelis and Palestinians and the church's complicity in that suffering."

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