Methodists Reject Divestment, But Tolerate Anti-Semitic Rant


CAMERA reports:

For the past several days, the United Methodist Church has been meeting in Tampa, Florida for its General Convention that is held every four years. At this convention, the delegates approved a resolution calling for a boycott of Israeli products made in the West Bank.

The assembly also rejected a resolution that would require the denomination’s Board of Pensions and Health Benefits to sell its stock in three companies that do business with Israel — Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard and Motorola.

Yesterday’s video of processeds regarding these two resolutions:

The defeat of the divestment proposal was a bitter pill to swallow for many of the activists that descended on the UMC’s General Convention. Jewish Voice for Peace was out in force at the assembly, as were a number of anti-Israel activists from inside the denomination.

As is to be expected at the national assembly of any mainline church in the United States, the proceedings bespoke of a monomaniacal obsession on the alleged sins of the Jewish state and absolute silence about the misdeeds of other countries in the region.

Search the legislation before the assembly for resolutions regarding Coptic Christians in Egypt or Assyrians in Iraq and you will find nothing.

One of the more outrageous moments of the assembly took place after it became apparent that the proposal to demand that the UMC sell stock in the three companies mentioned above was not going to pass. A woman who introduced herself as Margaret Novak said the following to the gathered assembly:

I would just ask us all to imagine we were United Methodists in the 1930s and 40s [and] that our Board of Pensions held stock in the very successful manufacturing firms in Germany that bid and received the bids to manufacture the ovens for the concentration camps. At what point would we decide it was time to divest? How much evidence would we ask for before it was time to stop the wholesale destruction of people?

Source: Video of 2nd Session +0:05:47 to +0:06:37

The moderator did not call her out of order, but merely asked if her speech was for or against the non-divestment resolution then before the assembly. (She was against.)

Margaret Novak compared Israeli policies in the West Bank to the destruction of Jews in Europe. She made this statement in front of several hundred people and the moderator of the assembly let her statement pass unchallenged.

More after the jump.
Novak’s comparison between current Israeli policies and that of the Nazi regime falls under the working definition of antisemitism issued by the European Forum on Antisemitism. This definition warns against “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.”

Novak’s suggestion that the Israelis are perpetrating a genocide (“wholesale destruction of people”) is defamatory. The population of the Palestinians has grown fourfold in the decades since the 1948 War.

Will someone from the UMC’s leadership condemn Novak’s remarks before the General Convention comes to an end on Friday May 4, 2012 or will they pass unnoticed?

This is a reasonable question to ask. The UMC has been the source of some ugly rhetoric in the past. For more information about this problem go here and here.

James E. Winkler, General Secretary of the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society (GBCS), can make it right. He can issue an unequivocal apology for the ugly anti-Semitism that was allowed to pass unchallenged at the UMC’s General Assembly on May 2, 2012.

It is also reasonable to ask if Jewish Voice for Peace [no relation to the Philadelphia Jewish Voice!] is going to condemn Novak’s rant. As stated above, JVP was out in force at the assembly.

And will the Methodist activists, operating under the banner of UM Kairos Response condemn Novak’s statement?

Such rhetoric simply cannot pass unnoticed at the UMC General Convention.

Will Winkler act? Will Jewish Voice for Peace respond? Will UM Kairos Response?

If I Forget Thee Jerusalem…

The Guardian: “Jerusalem is not the Capital of Israel, Tel Aviv is”

CAMERA and many others routinely expose the subterfuge at the heart of The Guardian‘s coverage of Israel. This deceit was clearly demonstrated in a correction issued for a photo caption appearing on April 20 which inadvertently revealed that Jerusalem was the capital of Israel.

On April 23, The Guardian issued this correction:

The caption on a photograph featuring passengers on a tram in Jerusalem observing a two-minute silence for Yom HaShoah, a day of remembrance for the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust, wrongly referred to the city as the Israeli capital. The Guardian style guide states: “Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel; Tel Aviv is”.

Israel’s Knesset and government resides in Jerusalem. That is a material fact. The Guardian could have remained consistent with its hostile stance towards Israel by stating that the paper does not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. But to deny reality by stating that Tel Aviv is the capital, when it demonstrably is not, provides an example of a news source allowing dogma to overrule physical reality. It is even more ironic that the photo caption dealt with the Holocaust, an incontrovertible reality subject to denial by individuals inimically hostile to Jewish interests.

Reprinted courtesy of CAMERA
Image with “corrected” caption

Ha’aretz’s Lousy Headline

From CAMERA:

Yet again, Ha’aretz provides an example of how its distorted coverage provides fodder to anti-Israel writers abroad. Yesterday Ha’aretz’s Web site published the following headline:

This dismal headline implies that the Israeli army is seeking to upgrade means in which to harm civilian populations. Indeed, one must read the article itself several times to understand the new brigade’s actual purpose: to increase precision of attacks on combatants so as to minimize harm to civilians. But the dismal online headline, coupled with the lack of clarity in the article itself, points falsely instead to IDF intentions to massacre, a notion that anti-Israel blogger Richard Silverstein jumps on.

One need only look at the English print edition for a straight-forward headline: “IDF plans to set up first short-range rocket battalion.” Ha’aretz editors take note: an accurate subheadline would read: “New rockets would reduce casualties among non-combatants during strikes against terrorist targets in populated areas.”

What Do Romney And The New York Times Have In Common?

They both take liberties with their “quotes.”

President Obama’s AIPAC speech last week was well received on both sides of aisle, but perhaps the New York Times found it message standing up to the Iranian nuclear program a little too clear, and sought to muddy the waters. Helen Cooper wrote

CAMERA: Mr. Obama, who has often lamented the United States’ invasion of Iraq in 2003, made reference to European and American intelligence assessments that have found no evidence that Iran has decided to pursue a nuclear weapon.

A March 6 page-one story by Mark Landler in the International Herald Tribune made the same claim (in virtually the same words). And, yet, you can watch or read the speech until Ahmadinejad is a Zionist and still you will not find a single reference to European or American intelligence assessments that have found no evidence that Iran has decided to build a nuclear weapon.

Similarly, Gov. Mitt Romney has earned a reputation for playing fast and lose with his “quotes” when the actual source does not quite fit his narrative.

The Romney campaigns very first television  ad earned a Pants on Fire rating from Polifact. According to Think Progress, Romney

Romney Campaign TV Ad

Thinkprogress Parody Ad

dishonestly presents a 2008 McCain campaign quote as the words of President Obama. The ad features a voice-over of Obama saying “if we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.” Then-candidate Obama indeed said those words, perhaps dozens of times during the closing month of the 2008 campaign. The only problem? Obama was actually quoting the words of a strategist from Sen. John McCain’s campaign.

Another eyebrow-raising moment in the ad comes when it attacks “record foreclosures,” despite the fact that Romney’s stated housing policy is “don’t try and stop the foreclosure process.”

Politico reports that the Romney campaign is asserting that its ad was intentionally deceptive and dishonest. “We used that quote intentionally,” Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstorm said.

ThinkProgress has produced a parody ad, using Romney’s own standards for accuracy.

Here is the actual October 2008 Obama quote in context. The portion used by Romney is in bold:

Even as we face the most serious economic crisis of our time, even as you are worried about keeping your jobs or paying your bills or staying in your homes, my opponent’s campaign announced earlier this month that they want to ‘turn the page’ on the discussion about our economy so they can spend the final weeks of this election attacking me instead. Sen. McCain’s campaign actually said, and I quote, ‘If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.'”

Well, New Hampshire, last night we had a debate. I think you saw a bit of the McCain attack strategy in action. But here’s what Senator McCain doesn’t seem to understand. With the economy in turmoil and the American Dream at risk, the American people don’t want to hear politicians attack each other – you want to hear about how we’re going to attack the challenges facing middle class families each and every day. You want to hear about the issues that matter in your lives. You want to hear about how we’re going to bring about the change that we desperately need for our country. That’s what the American people want to hear.

Even when Romney is being endorsed by newspapers, he is very selective in editing the endorsement to remove any sign of hesitation by the newspaper emailing that endorsement to the voters. According to Ryan Lizza at the New Yorker, the Romney campaign “has no better friend than the ellipsis”.

Examples of some of the fine redaction by the eager staff at the Romney Campaign follow the jump.

  1. “Mr. Romney may not be the debater that Mr. Gingrich is (although he’s getting better). And he doesn’t have the same social conservative credentials as Mr. Santorum.”
    Savannah Morning News, March 1, 2012
  2. “He is the son of former Michigan Gov. George Romney, attending the prestigious Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills before receiving his undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University in 1971. He also is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School, both in 1975. Following his graduations he worked for Bain & Co. before starting the highly successful Bain Capital, a venture capital and investment firm, in 1984.”
    Midland Daily News, Michigan, February 26, 2012
  3. “Perhaps that is why he sometimes appears so awkward in public, especially when talking about himself and, in particular, his personal wealth.”
    Cleveland Plain Dealer, March 3, 2012
  4. “Yes, out-of-context declarations like ‘I enjoy firing people’ and ‘I don’t care about the poor’ contribute to the caricature of a rich swell, akin to that of Donald Trump. Really? Where are the trophy wives? The ostentatious lifestyle? The garish displays of life among the rich and famous? You will have to look hard.”
    Arizona Republic, February 24, 2012
  5. “We have our issues with Romney, to be sure. His opposition to the Dream Act for illegal-immigrant children raised in the U.S. is not one we support. And his effort to position himself as the ‘toughest’ GOP candidate on immigration issues is a concern.”
    Arizona Republic, February 24, 2012
  6. “In fact, this newspaper does not embrace many of his ideas on taxation, which give too great a reward to the wealthy and not enough help for the poor and middle class.”
    -Times Daily of Florence, Alabama, March 9, 2012
  7. “His stance against government interaction to revive the domestic automobile industry is disappointing. Also disappointing are inconsistencies in his message…”
    Grand Rapids Press, February 22, 2012
  8. “Consistency is certainly a problem for Romney. The one-time moderate has adjusted his positions on so many issues-including abortion and gay rights-that his core beliefs are a mystery. In this campaign, he has tried so hard to prove his conservative bona fides that he has undercut one of his greatest selling points: the pragmatism that enabled him to get things done as a Republican governor in one of the nation’s most Democratic and liberal states.”
    Cleveland Plain Dealer, March 3, 2012
  9. “That has been just one example of some of the shape-shifting Romney has done to appeal to conservative primary voters who believe he is too moderate. So, it’s not unfair to wonder who the real Romney is.”
    Birmingham News, March 7, 2012

The Economist’s Red Light Libel

The Economist and Al Jazeera accuse Israel of creating racist traffic lights which “flick green only briefly for car from Palestinian districts while staying green for car from Jewish settlements for minutes.” CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) debunk this libel in the video to the right.

Also read CAMERA’s article by Yishai Goldflam, Ricki Hollander and Gilead Ini.