New York Times Flacks for Jewish Groups Against 15 Major Christian Leaders

New York Times Flacks for Jewish Groups Against 15 Major Christian Leaders


It is the right time for the leaders of the American churches to make their moral demand to the Congress. With their letter, they have done so, courageously, considering the political climate of our time. Interfaith dialogue can wait.


by James M Wall


You have to know American Jewish “leaders” are really riled up when they call on the New York Times to flack for them against 15 leaders of Christian churches who had the audacity to send a letter to the US Congress, which said, with proper Christian indignation:

As Christian leaders in the United States, it is our moral responsibility to question the continuation of unconditional U.S. financial assistance to the government of Israel. Realizing a just and lasting peace will require this accountability, as continued U.S. military assistance to Israel — offered without conditions or accountability — will only serve to sustain the status quo and Israel’s military occupation of the Palestinian territories.

We request, therefore, that Congress hold Israel accountable to these standards by making the disbursement of U.S. military assistance to Israel contingent on the Israeli government’s compliance with applicable U.S. laws and policies.

Is that clear? These church leaders are saying it is their moral responsibility to tell the Congress that it must hold Israel accountable to U.S. laws and policies when it disburses money to Israel.

So what’s the big news angle in the New York Times story for Saturday, October 20, following the release of the letter from the 15 leaders to Congress?  The lead of the story should be that “American Jewish leaders defend the action of a secular state that receives more U.S. foreign aid than any other nation in the world”.

What these so-called “outraged” Jewish groups are saying is that their feelings are hurt. These American Jewish leaders have worked so hard over the decades to maintain “good relations” with their Christian colleagues, and just as they were about to have yet another “good relations” meeting between Christians and Jews (no mention of Muslims, it must be noted), here come 15 Christian leaders demanding accountability from a secular foreign state for human rights violations carried out with American money.

Horrors, what a thing for Christian leaders to say!

Man (and woman) the barricades, the fragile American relationships between Jews and Christians are under severe threat. In case you have missed this unfolding threat to fragile American relationships between Jews and Christians (still no Muslims involved), this is how the Times’ Laurie Goodstein began her not-so subtle attack on the 15 Protestant  leaders:

A letter signed by 15 leaders of Christian churches that calls for Congress to reconsider giving aid to Israel because of accusations of human rights violations has outraged Jewish leaders and threatened to derail longstanding efforts to build interfaith relations.

The Christian leaders say their intention was to put the Palestinian plight and the stalled peace negotiations back in the spotlight at a time when all of the attention to Middle East policy seems to be focused on Syria, the Arab Spring and the Iranian nuclear threat.

The Times’s religion correspondent, Laurie Goodstein
The church leaders did not ask Congress to “reconsider” giving aid to Israel. And note the use of the weasel word “accusations” of human rights, as though Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights have not been amply demonstrated over the decades. The Times says the letter is intended to “put the Palestinian plight and the stalled peace negotiations back in the spotlight”.   That is balderdash, as Joe Biden likes to say.

The 15 leaders make no reference to a”motive” for writing the latter. They do not have to. The New Testament is their motive. Putting the Palestinian “plight” in the “spotlight” is Times speak, speculation without attribution. 

The Times failed to explain that the “Jewish groups” that are attacking the 15 Christian leaders, are being directed by a secular organization, the Jewish Council of Public Affairs (JCPA). The Times does not distinguish between religious Jews and political Zionist Jews, a fatal flaw in its coverage. How secular is the JCPA? You be the judge. Here is how the JCPA describes its mission:

The mission of the Council is to serve as the representative voice of the organized American Jewish community in addressing the principal mandate of the Jewish community relations field, expressed in three interrelated goals:

One: To safeguard the rights of Jews here and around the world. Two:  To dedicate ourselves to the safety and security of the state of Israel. Three: To protect, preserve and promote a just American society, one that is democratic and pluralistic, one that furthers harmonious interreligious, inter ethnic interracial and    other intergroup relations.

“To dedicate ourselves to the safety and security of the state of Israel” is not biblical, my friends, it is political. The Times should say so. Instead it puts the JCPA, a secular public affairs organization, under the same umbrella as the rabbis and the 15 Christian church leaders.

The planned Monday interfaith dialogue meeting was canceled by the JCPA, a secular organization. Here is the start of its news release making the announcement:

JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow.
Canceling an interfaith dialogue meeting, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and other Jewish groups, have called for a summit with the heads of Jewish organizations that have been engaged in the roundtable and the heads of the Christian denominations that penned a letter to Congress calling for an investigation into Israel’s use of the U.S. military aid.

“The letter signed by 15 church leaders is a step too far,” said JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow.  “The participation of these leaders in yet another one-sided anti-Israel campaign cannot be viewed apart from the vicious anti-Zionism that has gone virtually unchecked in several of these denominations. We remain committed to the enterprise of interfaith relations because it is central to the development of a just and righteous society.

To be clear, some of the Jewish groups that signed the JCPA letter, have rabbis in their titles, making them religious. But others, like the American Jewish Committee, are not religious.

Jewish theologian Marc Ellis has warned Christian leaders that when they agreed to accept the “ecumenical deal” with their Jewish counterparts, they were opting out of any possible prophetic leadership in the Middle East.  The deal, by the way, was the tacit understanding between earlier generations of Christian and Jewish leaders that they would work in all sorts of common projects, ranging from cooperative civil rights struggles in the mutual worship events in local communities.

That “deal” has always reminded me of what my father used to say about the Methodist and Baptist churches in our “dry” Georgia county.  Usually speaking so my teetotaling mother and aunt could hear him, he would declare, “The churches are in cahoots with the bootleggers in this county.”

He was right; the church folks, unwillingly , of course, kept the county dry while the bootleggers made enough illegal whiskey to satisfy the needs of the pious members of the community who wanted a “little pick up at the end of the day”.  At least, that’s what my teetotaling father always said.

The kicker in the Marc Ellis description of the”ecumenical deal” was the understanding that Israel always would be off limits to religious criticism by the churches.  Essentially, the deal was this: We work  together, but you leave Israel alone.

The deal was sweetened over the years by all-expenses paid clergy trips to the Holy Land and some shared breaking of bread among Jews and Christians (still no Muslims, of course).The deal between our contemporary churches and our contemporary bootleggers has held firm, until, that is, U.S. denominations started passing resolutions calling for boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS), to protest the continued violations of human rights in Palestine.

Those resolutions outraged the same Jewish leaders who are now upset by the letter to Congress from the church leaders. That’s why these Jewish leaders infiltrated religious denominational meetings to intimidate voters and water down resolutions as much as they could.

Now, in October, 2012, 15 U.S. Protestant church leaders are fed up with the lack of human rights action by the U.S. government. So it was that together they composed a remarkable statement and sent it off to the U.S. Congress.

Jewish leaders, and publications like the New York Times, were suddenly confronted by a new phenomenon from within the churches. You could almost hear them asking, like a puzzled Butch Cassidy, who are these guys, anyway? Who are these 15 U.S. church leaders with their outrageous defiance of the “ecumenical deal”?

To begin with, the 15 church leaders are heavyweights, top officials for their denominations. They include the leaders of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the United Methodist Church, the National Council of Churches, the United Church of Christ, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the American Friends Service Committee (a Quaker agency) and the Mennonite Central Committee. Two Catholic leaders also signed, not including the Catholic Council of Bishops.

These are not just leaders of a few religious groups, which a Protestant version of the Jewish Council of Public Affairs could corral into an interfaith dialogue meeting.

These are the major-domos of American Protestantism, which raises the question of what exactly gives the JCPA and its scattered letter signers, these “outraged Jewish groups” as the Times calls them,  the right to claim religious standing in this conversation. Many of these Jewish groups are secular and function as part of the Israel Lobby, a collection of lobbying organizations that have Israel, not Judaism as their primary client.

The false premise that Goodstein, and the New York Times operate from is that the 15 Christian church leaders are required to “get along” with the Israel Lobby, not the Jewish religious establishment of this nation.  Are church leaders required by the Times to “get along” with the National Rifle Association and the Chamber of Commerce?

This false premise is blending apples and oranges, nothing consistent about it.

 A bit of history could be helpful here. When the modern state of Israel was created by the United Nations on November 29, 1947, the vote in the UN General Assembly was 33 to 13, with 10 abstentions. The General Assembly vote  was preceded by decades of dialogue within world Jewry. Many Jewish religious leaders reminded the Zionists in their midst that idolatry was prohibited by Scripture, citing the passage: “Thou shall  have no other God before me (Exodus 20:3)”.

Zionism was a political movement that created a modern secular state.  It did so through force of military arms and by the blatant exploitation of the horrors of the Holocaust. They called their new state a “Jewish state”. That, however, is a secular ethnic designation, not a religious one. It also contradicts the foundation of a democracy, since it was formed with a substantial number of non-Jews within its borders who do not have the same rights as the Jews.

In the years leading up to 1947, there was considerable Jewish religious opposition to the creation of a secular state of Israel. The battle was between Zionists and non-Zionists. The biblical admonition that it is idolatry to equate a state with Yahweh, was ignored.

The 15 church leaders have declared that they believe it is their moral responsibility to question the continuation of unconditional U.S. financial assistance to the government of Israel. The cancelation of an interfaith meeting by the C was a political move which the New York Times helped to promote.

The JCPA and it letter signers have no dogs in this hunt. They can be as outraged as they want.  This is still a free country. But the 15 church leaders have made the right religious, not political, move. They are speaking the language of “moral responsibility” in a letter directed to the U.S. Congress on the matter of U.S. funds used by Israel to violate the human rights of the Palestinian people.

Interfaith dialogue has always been nothing more than a device used by American Jewish groups to intimidate the American churches into keeping the ecumenical deal. By this intimidation, these groups have followed the example set by the government of Israel which has long used the so-called “peace process” to sustain its occupation and expand its borders, always to the detriment of the Palestinian people.

It is the right time for the leaders of the American churches to make their moral demand to the Congress. With their letter, they have done so, courageously, considering the political climate of our time. Interfaith dialogue can wait.

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James M. Wall is currently a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois. From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine. He has made more than 20 trips to that region as a journalist, during which he covered such events as Anwar Sadat’s 1977 trip to Jerusalem, and the 2006 Palestinian legislative election. He has interviewed, and written about, journalists, religious leaders, political leaders and private citizens in the region. Jim served for two years on active duty in the US Air Force, and three additional years in the USAF (inactive) reserve. His website: Wall Writings


  1. About time.  Better late than NEVER.  This announcement is about 30 years late.  But at least the churches are no longer being silent, acquiescent, complicit, to the genocide of the Palestinians.  If only the USA would be all that it can be. 

  2. The jewish traitors in our midst and their foreign infiltrator sayanim who come here from abroad, in their 'Chosen' arrogance dont seem to realize: we dont OWE them anything.  No one else does either. Their "entitlement" is mere bullshit contingent on the manipulation and apathy of the country they have been leaching off for decades.
    They should have their asses kicked out of here for good. They are black hole of greed, fraud and liability that has returned noting but ill towards the American host.  Get the parasites out- from top to bottom.

  3. any interfaith dialogue that I have attended has not been honest when it comes to addressing the illegal occupation of Palestine and the subsequent abuse by Zionist Israel.

  4. Well said, James. Being a Secularist, I probably cannot agree with many of your thoughts on this matter but on the decidedly obvious actions by the Jewish paper of record, the New York Times and their Jewish Religious writer, I concur totally.


    The NYT has long ago lost any objectivity it ever had, back in the good old days before America became a Jewish state. It is controlled by Jews, subservient to Jewish thinking on every page and like so much of the media, targeted thirty years ago by Rothschild as a favourite place to invest for reasons of eventual media control, it supports and promotes anything and everything that is Zionist.



    One should never think otherwise for one minute.


    As an example. The inability of this Zionist newspaper to ever tell any truths about the ‘setters’ in Palestine is well recognised. These people, armed by  Israel, paid by  Israel, whose crimes are totally ignored by Israel, have removed 13,000 olive trees, flooded Palestinian lands with sewerage, murdered with impunity, withheld water supplies for human consumption, acted as marauding louts to create mayhem among Palestinian people everywhere and are rewarded for their efforts. They are the scum of Europe’s Jewish communities, well paid for their dirty work,  armed to the teeth.  Now look at the NYT pictures of settlers……….hard working, family oriented, the future of Israel, helping Palestinians whenever they can, really good people.


    They just wouldn’t know how to drive a bulldozer to demolish Palestinian homes for new Israeli settlements. An Israeli settler? Hardly.

    Read about this is the NYT? Never. Palestine, to the rest of the world, is a weeping sore., has been for fifty years. But to the NYT it is a challenge to never mention the name at all and their anti-Palestine skills are well-honed as is their ability never to tell the truth or be honest chroniclers of the news. It all has a Zionist angle, spin, twist, direction, call it what you will. They have been hoodwinking the American people, not to be confused with Zionist American people, (transplants from Israel) , for thirty years….and you still read it. Why?


    So when the NYT goes to bat for the Zionists and their anti-Iran rhetoric, for war-mongering Israel, for Arab hatred, it is just doing what it was designed to do….. its  job.
    Thinking otherwise is being out of touch with reality.



    As for the Churches, as James has said, Christians (and not a word on Muslims) are somewhat handicapped in trying at last to finally be Christian. Firstly they have ignored the Christian teachings for forty years by ignoring Palestine; they don’t seem to have ever raised a murmur when UN resolutions were ignored by Israel; they have tolerated the Israeli graft, corruption and ownership of local members of Congress in their communities and voted them back in, time and again thereby giving tacit support to such graft;  they were unable to see that Jewish efforts at ‘interfaith’ organisations was against their country’s  interests and only served  the  interests of Zionism.  Finally, had they known they were being used to further Zionism in the first place, they are just not capable of ever being united as a force for decent Christian principles. Even as we write today, they are still a fractured group, dominated by self-interest,  their only driving force.
    It’s all a little late.



    One cannot fight an insidious disease like Zionism by turning your back on it, voting for the same corrupt Congress as you have been doing for years and then hoping it will just go away.
    It won’t. Zionists have you by the vitals and they aren’t letting go. The two candidates for President show clearly how they are both vying for the honour of being the Grand Groveller for Israel /  Zionism, sadly against the interests of their own country, America.


    By any measure, it is pathetic.