The Lies of Divestment Proponents
A divestment conference organizer at the University of Michigan, Amer Zahr, explained openly on local radio talk shows the real goals of divestment (6): “What we want is not actual economic divestment from Israel. Everyone knows that the US will never pull investments out of Israel like that. Instead, we are looking to shift the dialogue to whether or not to divest from Israel, without extraneous discussion of the basics. We hope that in 10, 20 years the public will just take for granted the premise that Israel is an apartheid state, and then we can move from there.”
This revealing statement is indicative of the un-vocalized fact that divestment’s long term goals have nothing to do with peace, dialogue, or education; nor with the real, factual, nature of the state of Israel, its society, and its conflict with Arab terrorists. The divestment campaign is meant to gradually alter the US society’s perception of Israel over a long period of time so that later, 20 years from now, the anti-Israel forces can lobby for divestment in an atmosphere in which it is “taken for granted…that Israel is an apartheid state.”
This goal endangers the perceptions of a whole generation of young people who will be the decision makers and policy makers 20 years from now. Amer Zahr is a long-term thinker. And he learned his thinking from Josef Goebbels.
Arab terrorists are responsible for Israel’s defensive actions against the Palestinians. Arafat’s Intifada got Sharon elected. Terrorism built the fence. The IDF stops ambulances because the terrorists use them (in clear violation of international law and the 4th Geneva Convention) to transport terror operatives and explosives. And the Arab commitment to their terror war forces Israel to affect both pre-emptive and retaliatory strikes and to take preventative measures to stop the slaughter of innocents.
By ignoring the history of the conflict, and by accepting uncritically (perhaps even enthusiastically) the Arab revisionism and propagandized version of the conflict, the churches supporting divestment are in reality supporting the terrorist forces in Palestinian. Divestment, then, does not advance the cause of peace, or ending the ‘occupation’. It advances the cause of totalitarian terrorist rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and supports the terrorists in their end-game goal of destroying Israel.
Ignoring the Real Threat
The Center for Security Policy released a report last year on investments held by American public retirement funds in corporations that do business with terrorist-sponsoring nations. They found that America's 100 largest and most prominent public pension systems hold in their portfolios some $200 billion worth of stock in public companies that do business in terrorist-sponsoring states. The report makes clear that this investment translates conservatively into $73 billion worth of business with - and financial life-support for - the regimes in question, and vital resources for the terrorists that these regimes aid and abet.
"We cannot hope to prevail in this war unless and until we cut off the billions of dollars flowing to terrorist-sponsoring regimes from America's state pension funds via investments in companies doing business with such regimes," said Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., president of the Center for Security Policy. (7)
Highlights of the Center's report include the following:
* On average, America's leading pension systems invest between 15 and 23 percent of their portfolios in companies that do business in terrorist-sponsoring states. The 100 pension systems analyzed invest in 101 companies that have business activities in terrorist sponsoring states. Some 39 had invested in more than 100 companies with corporate ties to terrorist-sponsoring states.
* These included companies doing business in Iran, Libya, Sudan, Syria and North Korea.
* The $73 billion in projects being undertaken in terror-friendly states by companies that America's pension systems hold in portfolio is almost certainly but a fraction of the actual total business being done there. Due to the fact that financial data is available for relatively few companies operating in terrorist-sponsoring states, the role being played by public companies in the viability of governments that sponsor terrorism is probably, if anything, even greater than indicated by this number.
So here we have the most incredible conundrum in the Church campaign for divestment. Israel is the one country with the best human rights record in the region, the country that is fighting for its very existence against a relentless terrorist enemy, and the country that has been one of the USA’s few stalwart and steadfast allies in the war against global terrorism. Yet that is the country that the church targets, while ignoring the urgent, screaming need to divest from the countries that sponsor the terrorists who want to destroy us. The Church should be preaching divestment from terrorists, not from Israel.
Christian suffering at the hands of Moslems has a long and bitter history. Today, the attitude of Arab Moslem terrorists is quite open and unabashedly frank. Christians are a target.(8) Christians throughout the Muslim world suffer lethal repression: hand-grenade fraggings in Pakistan, murder of Christian ministers and proselytizers in various Arab countries, the brutal genocide of 2,000,000 black African Christians and Animists in Sudan, to name a few. The civil war and Syrian occupation in Lebanon claimed close to 100,000 Lebanese Christians since 1975. In most Arab states, the punishment for a Muslim’s conversion to Christianity is death.
And the situation is no less dangerous for Christians in Palestinian-controlled territories. Arab terrorism in Israel, by its own pronouncements, is a specific territorial phenomenon in partnership with, and reflecting the same goals as, the broader global assault by Islamofascists against all non-Moslems. Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, Ansar-al-Islam, and Jama'a al-Islamiyah, inter alia, are partners. Moslem Palestinian terrorists chant in the streets of Bethlehem: "Al-Yaum es-Sabbat, bas ghanem el-Ahad" (today is Saturday, but tomorrow is Sunday), in order to intimidate Palestinian Christians and apprise them of the Moslem terrorists' intent to start on the Christians once they have finished with the Jews. Thanks to that intimidation, Bethlehem has seen the flight of almost 80 percent of its Christians to the USA, the UK, the EU, and even to Israel proper (especially to the Christian quarters of Nazareth), since Arafat took over in 1994.
Their timing could not be more peculiar. Now that we seem to stand on the threshold of an opportunity for peace, one might have expected that the Presbyterians, the Anglicans, the WCC and the Lutherans, true to their roles as healers and reconcilers, would encourage this process.
Instead, they complain of "occupation” just when Israel's parliament approved the next stage of plans for withdrawal from Gaza. They complain of housing demolitions just a few days after the IDF announced such operations would end. They use the incendiary language of a "dividing wall", yet 95 percent of the defensive barrier is a chain-link fence that can be removed once peace is established. They never mention that the wall was built to prevent Palestinian terror, and that it has proven extremely effective. The WCC even goes so far as to set the borders of Israel as those of the 1949 armistice (9) -- knowing full well that UN resolution #242 intentionally left the borders to be determined by peace negotiations between the belligerents.
In its press release of February 21, 2005, the WCC expressed support for the unlimited right of return of “Palestinian refuges,” fully cognizant of the fact that if any substantial part of that multi-million population, whose identity as ‘refugees’ is highly questionable, is repatriated to Israel within the 1948 boundaries, then the Jewish state will be no more. (10)
The only explanation for this contrarian posture and counter-productive timing is that the main line churches are quite literally panicking in the face of the real prospect of a diplomatic solution to the Mid-east conflict. (11) They do not want peace between Israel and the Arab world. They want the terrorists to win. And to help the terrorists, they support divestment.
We are sad witness to the ugly phenomenon of Christian leaders who hate Israel so passionately that their hatred blinds them to the evil of their own deeds. They hate Israel far more than they love their church, more than they love their country, even more than they love their Savior.
Mr. Meir-Levi lectures and teaches in English, Hebrew, and Spanish. He can be reached at David_meirlevi@hotmail.com
1. Israpundit.com, March 4, 2005, The Norwegian Israel Center against anti-Semitism, “Open letter to the WCC”.
2. The economic boycott that was part of the Arab war against Israel for the past 50 years was reactivated at the Arab League meeting in Damascus in 2002. Saudi Arabia then blacklisted about 200 European, American, and other companies for importing Israeli products or product parts under other labels; and its Chamber of Commerce and Industry called on citizens to report the presence of any Israeli product exported through a third country. (Wall Street Journal, 12/13/02, “Israel on Campus,” Ruth R. Wisse).
3. For more detailed treatment of these themes, see Dershowitz, “Treatment of Israel strikes an alien note”, National Post, Canada 11/04/2002, and Idem, Divesting from Morality.
4. For analysis of the economies of the captured territories, see: Mardsen, Keith, « The Viability of Palestine », Wall Street Journal/Europe, 4/28/02 ; Doron, Daniel, « The way forward for the Palestinians » Israel Center for Social and Economic Progress, 7/1/02 ; Karsch, Ephraim, « What Occupation ? », Commentary Magazine, July/August 2002 ; Golan, Dov Theo, « The Big Why ? », MANCHESTER ZIONIST CENTRAL COUNCIL MEDIA RESPONSE NETWORK, 9/19/04; Pipes, Daniel, “Anti-Israel Terror Backfires”, New York Sun, 4/20/04; and Eidelberg, Paul, "Occupied Territory", in Foundation 1, 7/18/03.
1937 Peel Commission
1947 UN Partition Plan
1949 Rhodes Armistice talks, and Lauzanne, Paris, Geneva conferences
1967 Post 6-day-war Israel Peace Initiative at UN and with Jordan
1979 Camp David, treaty with Egypt, offer to Palestinian leadership, Israeli
settlements dismantled in Sinai, Sinai returned to Egypt
1981 Fez Arab Summit, Crown Prince Fahd suggestion of Palestinian state
1993 Oslo Accords
1994 Treaty with Jordan, territory ceded to Jordan
1995 Oslo II
6/2000 Baraq offer (Camp David II)
12/2000 Clinton offer (Oval Office Bridge Plan) during Intifada II
1/01 Taba Talks vs Davos conference during Intifada I
Mitchell: Terrorists are at fault, stop terror and negotiate for state
Tenet: same as Mitchell
Zini: same as Mitchell
6/24/02: Bush: if you want your state, stop the terror.
4/03: The Quartet’s Road Map: stop terror and incitement
4/14/04: Sharon’s unilateral offer of statehood
6. CAMERA: On Campus, Vol. 13, #1: spring 2003, “Directing Campus Discussion: A Case Study”, Rachel Roth.
7. Center for Security Policy, August 12, 2004 # 04-06, Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
8. Cf. inter alia: Farah, Joseph, World Net Daily, 2001, “Ensuring a terrorist future”; Trifkovic, Serge, “Islam’s other victims: Wars against Christians”, Front Page Magazine, 12.23.02; Spencer, Robert, “Persecution of Christians”, Front Page Magazine, 12.10.04; Tyrell, Bob, “Uprooting Christianity in the Holy Land”, Jewish World Review, 12/24/02; Pipes, Daniel, “Militant Islam keeps on killing”, New York Post, 10/1/02; Farah, Joseph, “Mideast: Christian-free Zone?”, World Net Daily, 12/31/03; Reuters (no author listed, did not appear in mainstream media), “Cardinal: Christians second-class in Muslim lands” no date; Raab, David, “The beleaguered Christians on the Palestinian-controlled areas”, Jerusalem Viewpoint, #490, January 15, 2003; no author, “New Muslim militant group born to fight Christians”, Asia News, 2/4/04 (Jakarta, Indonesia)
9. Frankfurter, David, “World Council of Churches preaches anti-Israel divestment”, Israel Insider (email publication), 2/23/05.
10. Interview with Prof. (ret.) Paul Charles Merkley concerning the WCC divestment decision, Israpundit.com, 3/4/05.