The Presbyterian Church USA passed several resolutions critical of Israel at its biennal General Assembly last week, including one that referred to Israel as an apartheid state.
A resolution opposing anti-BDS legislation at the state and federal level also passed.
The assembly considered 11 resolutions on Israel.
It voted down resolutions that the church said were not sufficiently critical of Israel because they also mentioned Palestinian transgressions, particularly the terrorist group Hamas.
A resolution on the recent violence between Gaza Palestinians and Israeli troops on the border with the coastal strip was stripped of references to Hamas, which has fomented violence on the border. The amended resolution, about which some members of the Middle East Committee expressed misgivings, passed by a vote of 438-34, according to the Presbyterian Outlet news service.
The Assembly approved by a vote of 442-18 a measure urging Presbyterians to “reach out in open, truthful dialogue with Jewish colleagues” to discuss the issue of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
A resolution that calls on the real estate firm Re/Max to stop handling property sales in Israeli settlements passed by a vote of 393-55.
The assembly voted against a resolution that would have ended the church’s classification of Israel as a “colonial project.” It also voted down a resolution “For the Protection of the Children of Israel and Palestine,” saying it conflates the treatment of Palestinian children under the rule of the Palestinian Authority and of Hamas in Gaza and does not focus enough on Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinian children.
The American Jewish Committee condemned the assembly for the resolutions.
“The Church remains obsessively critical of Israel in its national utterances,” its director of interreligious and intergroup relations, Rabbi Noam Marans, said in a statement. “For many years and in myriad ways, the PCUSA has gone beyond legitimate criticism of Israel and embraced demonization of the Jewish state.”
The assembly also passed two resolutions from its Middle East Committee that were not related to Israel, one dealing with the crisis in Syria and one on disengagement from Iran. PJC