Methodists Acting Sanely

Some good news out of Portland, Oregon as the Methodist Church voted (yet again) to reject divestment, despite years-long campaigning spearheaded by those to try to get the church to reverse an anti-BDS position they have confirmed in vote after vote after vote in the past.

To make matters even worse (for the boycotters, anyway), the Methodists did vote to divest: from BDS.

In a surprise move, a measure that recommends the church disassociate itself from the US Campaign to End the Occupation passed 60:40, establishing that the organization not only prefers alternatives to BDS but is ready to send the boycotters a message that the Methodist Church means it when they keep saying “No.”

Once the #BDSFail hashtag moves onto other stories, the BDSers will – as usual – pretend this year’s votes never happened and begin to prepare for the next Methodist conclave in a few years when the same people will make the same appeals after doing all they can to stack the deck internally in their favor.  And here’s hoping that all that effort gets wasted yet again.

It’s really been more than a decade since church votes on Middle East matters meant anything to the public at large.  When the Presbyterians voted for divestment in 2004, that made news and anchored an early version of the BDS “movement” for years until that same church rejected divestment overwhelmingly in 2006.

The “movement” spent the next decade frantically trying to get back to where they once were, and in 2014 they finally managed to turn the clock back a decade.  But by then the wider public had gotten a glimpse of how sausage is made within the decision-making bodies of PCUSA with corrupt leaders working in collusion with BDS activists to ensure all decision-making bodies were purged of fair-minded independent thinkers and that voting delegates (and the church body at large) were denied any information that strayed from the BDS party line.

After a decade of watching such ugliness repeat itself (with bigotry peaking behind the screen on more than one occasion), is it any wonder that no one treated PCUSA’s 2014 divestment decisions as an act of moral courage to be respected and acted upon?  In fact, that vote has become one more reasons for whole churches to leave PCUSA entirely (even as remaining members age and die without being replaced).  Which means that church divestment is recognized as little more than a symptom of what happens to a dying institution that has lost its way.

A grassroots backlash against BDS can be seen elsewhere in the Mainline movement.  For example, a decision by the United Church of Christ (UCC) to also join the BDS bandwagon led to an important church not just renouncing the decision but pulling all of its money from church investment vehicles (costing the organization millions).  Needless to say, UCC’s preferred friends within the Jewish community (i.e., the Jewish Voice for Peace folk who serve as cover by pretending divestment is acceptable within the Jewish community at large) are not likely to help their “partners” solve the division and mayhem their campaign created within church ranks.

Within this context, the Methodist move last week can be seen as a form of sanity breaking out within a Mainline movement that’s been jerked around for two decades by BDS activists who couldn’t care less about the institutions they turn upside down for their own political gain.

I continue to have no fear that the behavior of corrupt actors like the PCUSA leadership is going to harm Israel in either the short or long run.  But having just attended a funeral at one of those Mainline churches I’ve been critiquing, one where the kind pastor has helped not just his flock but the entire community heal from an awful event, I was able to see all the virtues of the church on display (including those preyed upon by the BDSholes).  So while Israel will come out of the church wars just fine, thank you very much, I pray that the sanity demonstrated by the Methodists starts to spread to their fellow churches before it’s too late – for them.

The Presbyterians’ Gradye Parsons On Gaza

I recently reloaded a Tweetdeck App I used when tracking activity during last month’s Presbyterian GA, where a tweet informed me that Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk for PCUSA, released a statement on July 16th calling for an end to the conflict currently underway in Gaza and in the skies over Israel.

Now normally, I might be tempted to critique this statement, making note of the Mr. Parson’s choice to devote a quarter of his document to list every Palestinian victim by name, the use of the passive voice (are Hamas rockets “indiscriminately fired” or does Hamas indiscriminately fire them – and at who?), or the tendency to trace all conflict back to that metaphysical entity: “the illegal Israeli occupation.”

But given that PCUSA decided to add calls for an end to rocket fire and suicide bombing (or, at least in the latter case, their condemnation – although an end to those would kind of be good too), I’ve decided to lay off a line-by-line analysis in favor of seeing just how widely this call has been listened to now that the church decided to make its moral voice heard through last month’s divestment votes at the 2014 General Assembly.

I began with a Google news search which allows me to sort by date to see if any news sources had picked up on what the Stated Clerk no doubt felt was an important and newsworthy statement from an institution that made all kinds of news just a few weeks ago when they passed their divestment policy.  Strangely, nothing seemed to show up regarding news coverage of the church’s Gaza statement.

Knowing full well that such an online search was just a starting point, I repeated my search with other search engines (Bing, Yahoo and the meta-search engine Dogpile).  But even here, no media coverage seems to show up (even in papers that covered divestment with at least one story).

Undaunted, I went directly to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN and Boston Globe web sites and did individual searches there.  Again, nothing.

Finally, I went back to Google which allows you to search the entire Internet with a date range to see if anyone picked up on the story.  And, outside of the Presbyterian publications Presbyterian Outlook and The Layman, not one non-Presbyterian media outlet seems to have noticed the church taking a stand on what they have decided is their A #1 top international priority: the Arab-Israeli conflict.

How can this be?  After all, the church has decided to put at risk its relationship with every Jewish organization in the nation – secular and religious – outside of Jewish Voice for Peace in order to establish its moral bone fides on this issue.  Supporters of the churches old/new divestment policy have spent days on end congratulating the organization for its moral courage and insisting that last month’s votes put the group on the right side of history. So shouldn’t someone take heed of what a group on that right side has to say about the very topic they decided was the most vital of the day?

Unless, of course, last month’s GA choices simply generated a week of “man-bites-dog” stories, after which the public fell into the default mode of ignoring the pontifications of a church that seems more interested in listening to anti-Israel partisans outside its ranks than to its own membership (which, you should recall, voted down divestment four times before finally giving those partisans the answer they wanted).  And, perhaps calls to stop raining rockets down on Israeli cities might have had more impact had they been made when the Presbyterians were all together making statement after statement and passing resolution after resolution about the region, rather than waiting for Israel to return fire before finding something to say after a near decade of rocket fire/war crimes directed against the Jewish state.

To be fair, perhaps this statement was directed at the parties to the conflict, rather than the press.  In which case, I think Israel’s Prime Minister succinctly expressed a view of church political opinion shared by not only his countrymen but a majority of American Jews and Christians (including Presbyterians).

And if Israel’s supporters now look at PCUSA as an organization that cannot be trusted, the Palestinians know it can be trusted – to only take action in support of their positions, offering everyone else generic prayers, Zionism Unsettled, and demands that their open partisanship be treated as acts of love.

So, after a decade of demanding that divestment must be the policy of the organization, PCUSA finds itself distrusted by one side in the conflict, taken for granted by another, and utterly ignored by everyone else as they slide their way towards physical oblivion that matches their non-existent moral footprint on the world stage.

PCUSA – Saying Goodbye

Now that a week has passed since the PCUSA decided to turn the clock back to 2004, rejecting four previous General Assembly votes and moving full-steam ahead on divestment once more, there is very little to do but watch the completely predictable consequences of their decision play out.

Remember that this is a church which has been told for over a decade that divestment – which would lump the Jewish state in with Apartheid South Africa and genocidal Sudan – represented an assault on Israel’s legitimacy and a direct attack on the most important Jewish project of modernity.

They have been told by their members time and time again that divestment does not translate to a form of peace-making and even-handedness, but rather represents taking a side in the conflict.  They saw those same members say “No” in divestment votes taken in ’06, ’08, ’10 and ’12.  And still divestment advocates within the church (enabled by a leadership that has more in common with Sabeel than with their own parishioners) pressed on.

This alliance of boycotters and corrupt leaders continued with their single-minded program, even after Zionism Unsettled shouted to the world the real agenda behind those anti-Israel partisans who have forced divestment onto the church for over a decade.  And they took their vote the moment Israel was looking for its now-murdered children in one territory controlled by the PCUSA’s Palestinian “peace partners” and rockets were being fired into the country from another.

As I’ve noted before, the Jewish community is diverse (i.e., often at each other’s throats – especially on matters related to the Middle East), but patient (as demonstrated by a decade of turning the other cheek while PCUSA prepared the next slap).  But patience ceases to be a virtue when it enables immoral behavior.  And I think it’s telling that in a community as diverse as ours, advocates for BDS are one of the few groups not allowed inside the Big Tent.

And so the condemnations have poured in from Reform, Conservative and Orthodox movements who agree on little beyond the holiness of Torah and an abhorrence of BDS.  Even stronger statements have been issued by virtually every community organization in the country (other than Jewish Voice for Peace – the “interfaith partners” PCUSA leaders obliquely refer to when they claim that divestment has support within the Jewish community).

More importantly, Presbyterians who warned church leaders what would happen if they continued to insist on pressing divestment are speaking out.  And while I don’t expect whole churches to break away from PCUSA over last month’s divestment vote, I have heard from individual Presbyterians that this vote was the last straw that has caused them to start looking for a new religious home far from the contamination of Louisville.  And given the options churches have to leave this branch of the denomination and still be considered Presbyterians, it would not surprise me to see emigration contribute to the decline of PCUSA as much as the death of the old and disinterest of the young.

A number of people have commented on the “deer-in-the-headlights” performance of PCUSA Moderator Heath Rada as he took to the airwaves trying to explain that last month’s vote does not diminish his denominations love for the Jewish people and devotion to Israel’s continued existence. But after 2004, after Vigilance, after Zionism Unsettled, and after a decade of hearing Presbyterians take to the stage on GA after GA accusing Israel of every imaginable crime, it should come as no surprise that the Jewish community has finally decided to judge the organization by its deeds, rather than its words.

The only thing about the aftermath that caught me off guard was this call by PCUSA leaders asking individual churches to reach out to synagogues with whom they have good relations to explain that a return to 2004 should not be seen as an attack on Israel, a joining of the BDS movement, or anything other than an act of peacemaking and love (supported by statements saying just that within the divestment resolution which passed at the 214 GA).

The trouble is, any Presbyterian Church with a strong relationship with the local Jewish community knows those statements are just a form of equivocation by an organization that – even while assuring their Jewish “friends” that they are not part of the BDS “movement” – can’t seem to find the time to ask that movement to stop claiming PCUSA as a friend and example of what other churches should do immediately.

In other words, local church leaders who have built up enough trust to explain PCUSA policy to offended Jews are the very ones who warned PCUSA of the perils of continuing to push a divestment agenda at all cost.  Which means that Louisville is counting on those Presbyterians most against the policy they forced onto the organization to repair the damage their reckless decisions have caused.

Perhaps pastors like Mark Davidson will be able to sit down with his local interfaith partners and convince them that PCUSA is sincere in its love and peacemaking (after riding over to the synagogue on a bus plastered with the anti-Israel ads his church has sponsored).  But my guess is that the Jewish community is ready to maintain friendly and productive relations with local Presbyterians who (like most Presbyterians) reject divestment, cordial relations with those who support the policy, and no relations with PCUSA at a national level.

In other words, our involvement with PCUSA should be treated as an entirely local matter.  Which means we should treat Louisville and whatever Louisville and its real friends and partners at Sabeel, IPMN, and JVP cook up over the next two years with the same indifference and contempt it will be shown by the rest of the world.

As I noted last time, one of the strengths of American religious culture is the ease with which someone who dislikes their local church is free to start their own.  And while PCUSA has shown itself ready to fight to the death to hang onto its property, hanging onto its membership seems pretty low on their agenda.  So perhaps this year’s GA can mark the beginning of a new era of Jewish-Presbyterian relations, one which has no use for a PCUSA national organization and agenda that has caused so much misery to others while hastening the death of their own denomination.

Presbyterian BDS and the Attack on Common Sense

Occasionally, a critic will show up in the comments section of this site questioning my claims of sympathy with civic groups suffering from having had the Middle East conflict dragged into their organization by boycott and divestment advocates.

It’s a reasonable challenge, given that I never had anything to do with groups like the food co-op movement or the Presbyterian Church until I became engaged with them over my particular political issue.  But such an accusation assumes that engagement can’t involve learning and growth, especially as it provides access to people with whom I can empathize (given that my own journey began when divestment reared its ugly head in my home town a decade ago).

Since emotional attachment and empathy are both psychological constructs difficult to “prove” through the written word, let me instead provide an argument over why the PCUSA’s recent decision to return to the BDS fold is such a tragedy (for the Presbyterians, not for Israel), after which you can decide how much such an analysis reflects sympathy vs. sour grapes.

Any discussion of American Mainline Protestantism (of which Presbyterianism is a part) must begin by pointing out that the United States was founded and built by Mainliners and entirely led by them until the election of the Catholic John F. Kennedy in 1960.

Now their decline in both numbers and influence in the second half of the 20th century has created some anomalous behaviors (best summarized in Rabbi Poupko’s mini-masterpiece Looking at Them Looking at Us), notably a critique of US foreign policy driven by church members who often resemble a retired CEO lecturing successors from the sidelines about everything they’re doing wrong.

Such contemporary oddities should not, however, blind us to the remarkable role Presbyterians and other Protestant churches played in creating the founding principles of the nation, including religious tolerance and pluralism.  This is not to say that Protestantism is inherently more tolerant than other faiths (as testified by centuries of post-Reformation religious wars in Europe).  But in the United States (unlike Europe), no denomination had the numbers to establish themselves as the official state church, which meant that pluralism and tolerance were matters of self-interest to groups that might be a majority in one part of the country, but a minority in another.

As Joseph Bottum describes in his book An Anxious Age, this peculiar dynamic allowed churches to foster patriotism based on a shared American identity while also giving institutions with no official role running the country a platform to critique the society in which they lived.  And as Mainline Protestantism has declined to the point of potential extinction, no other institution – secular or religious – has been able to provide an alternative moral language to replace the one originally provided by Protestant Christianity.

Getting back to matters specifically related to the Presbyterians, Will Spotts (author of Pride and Prejudice – which describes how the original 2004 PCUSA divestment policy came about) has justifiably criticized the process used by the organization to come to conclusions about weighty matters – including international politics – a process where (among other problems) “time limits and workload has the effect of precluding competence.”

While I can’t argue with any of the particulars Will describes, I would urge people to consider the driving force behind such a process as not hubris but the Common Sense philosophy I talked about a few weeks back.

Just as a reminder, Common Sense – like Presbyterianism – originated in Scotland (not a coincidence, by the way) and laid out a means for knowledge creation and societal organization that assumed every question could be answered or problem solved by small groups of committed individuals working together cooperatively.  The Church’s decentralized political structure as well as the devolution of powers to the small, local community envisioned by America’s founders all derive from Common Sense principles which many of us still long for (even if we no longer understand what they are or where they originated).

But Common Sense ran into challenges the moment society became too complex to allow every decision to be made like a jury trial.  Modernity, industrialization, transportation that allowed national and international travel, all led to the rise of a new political order: technocracy, where trained and skilled experts would make a bulk of the decisions on the behalf of the citizenry.

Now there is nothing inherently wrong with this new type of power relationship.  We all benefit, after all, by having our electrical grids designed by engineers rather than a group of citizens chosen by lot.  At the same time, much of contemporary political debate that is force-fit into categories such as Left vs. Right make a lot more sense once you realize that nostalgia for living in a Common Sense community in an era when that is no longer possible drives much of our political thinking (at least at the subconscious level).

Unfortunately, if the PCUSA’s committee-based decision making reflects a desire to hold onto Common Sense principles within an institution (or sub-culture), it has yet to come to grips with how much technocrats within the organization have inevitably come to run the show.  And unlike the electric grid example I just used, in the case of PCUSA those technocrats are not experts but authorities (the full-time PCUSA professionals working out of Louisville Kentucky) whose decision making is not driven by unique knowledge and expertise but by a political agenda.

As we have seen over the last ten years of debate over divestment, such agenda-driven authority-crats are more than willing to subvert Common Sense principles in order to get their way.  For example, no genuine Common Sense community would be asked to vote in divestment at the last minute of a conference with minimal input from the membership (as happened in 2004).  And if Common Sense still reigned within the organization, a huge majority of members rejecting divestment in 2006 would have been the last word on the matter.

These new authorities, however, have tools at their disposal that allow them to portray their choices as something other than their own dictates.  There is a reason why PCUSA has chartered multiple committees to bring a certain point of view into discussions on the Middle East while Presbyterians who have alternative viewpoints must fend for themselves.  And is it reasonable to assume these committees could have become so packed and lopsided without the ascent of the church’s professional leadership?

Even the notion of divestment welling up from the grassroots through the Overture process is subject to manipulation since it’s been made apparent to all that Overtures on certain matters (such as criticism of Israel) will be put into action whenever a GA rolls around (thus encouraging activists who hold this position to submit multiple Overtures on the matter) while other issues will, at best, be filed under “Miscellaneous.”

What this all adds up to is a system whereby an elite drives their political agenda within the church while creating the illusion (through a corrupted GA process) that decisions are still being made by the men and women of the pews.  In other words, what we saw in Detroit last week was an attack not just on Israel and its supporters, but on the very decentralized, citizen-based, Common Sense principles upon which the Presbyterian Church was founded.

I suppose I could channel the spirit of Chicago Presbytery (the one that proposed new church liturgy to make a distinction between the Jews in the Old Testament and the ones living in the Holy Land today) and try to come up with language that would clarify the distinction between the Presbyterian Church which made so much difference in the world during its first four centuries and the mutant entity that traveled under that name in Detroit last week.  But feeling more generous than Chicago, I simply wish that those hoping to reform PCUSA back to sanity or, more likely, follow the time-tested American tradition of leaving to found their own alternative, will rediscover those things which led them to Presbyterianism in the first place, including the Common Sense principles that Louisville has worked so relentlessly to eradicate from PCUSA.

Why Presbyterian BDS Doesn’t Matter

Some people will look at that headline as the pre-positioning of sour grapes in case this afternoon’s vote does not go well, while others might suspect that I’m trying to find any means to avoid spending the afternoon watching a political debate wrapped in religious clothing whose jarring style is so wonderfully described by my old friend Will Spotts.

Both accusations (particularly the second one) probably have a grain of truth to them.  But let me try to outline why a Presbyterian vote to re-instate their divestment policy from 2004 will have far less impact than it did when divestment was first passed ten years ago.

First, when that original divestment vote took place in 2004 it was a bolt from the blue.  Only those in the Jewish community who had been following the degeneration of discourse on the Middle East that had been going on in the Presbyterian Church over the previous decade knew that it might be coming.  And even the leadership of PCUSA didn’t think much about the passage of a resolution to begin a process of “phased, selective divestment” from the Jewish state (to the point where that year’s GA moderator didn’t even mention the vote as one of the important items to come out of that year’s General Assembly).

This element of surprise meant no one really understood how that vote came about and, absent such information, they took as given statements coming from church leaders and external divestment advocates that this vote represented the will of a 2.2 million member church, a decision supposedly representing the moral condemnation of an established and still-respected institution.

But that was before analysts like Will Spotts’ provided the kind of detailed analysis needed to understand the politics behind this decision, politics that we have seen play out in public in 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012.  And if sausage making and legislation are two procedures one never wants to get too close to out of fear of triggering violent nausea, watching the hardball tactics, dishonest and manipulative campaigning, and nasty innuendo blanketed in a religious vocabulary that has constituted church debate over this subject for the last decade has made it clear to all that any decision to re-participate in the BDS “movement” represents, at best, the success of a fringe minority to force its accusations into the mouth of another civic organization.

That aforementioned surprise in 2004 also meant the Israel’s supporters within the Jewish and non-Jewish worlds (including many Presbyterians) needed time to figure out what was going on and how to respond.  But after ten years of being kicked in the teeth, ten years of having promises broken, ten years of lies about Israel as a nation of racist murderers treated as gospel fact and preached from the alter, these communities know what they need to say if the boycotters manage to find the right combination of backroom politics and front-room deception and moral blackmail to drag their sordid divestment measures over the finish line.

No speculation is required to understand what will happen next if divestment does pass this afternoon since we saw this exact same story play out ten years ago.  Jewish organizations will decry yet another betrayal by alleged interfaith partners (although this time likely calling that abusive relationship off for good).  Thousands of Presbyterians will wake up this weekend to discover what is being said in their name (yet again) on an issue many of them chose (and even voted) to stay neutral on again and again.  Condemnations will rain down on PCUSA from across America’s civic landscape.  And as church leaders turn to those they thought would become their alternative ecumenical partners (i.e., groups like Jewish Voice for Peace), they will find their new friends have fled the room (after a brief chest-thumping victory parade on the Assembly floor) in order to spread the word that “Israel is an Apartheid State – See the Presbyterians say so!” to the world, leaving behind others to deal with the wreckage.

And even as defenders of such a decision (presuming it takes place) point to those tiny clauses inserted into their divestment measures to earn them the checkered flag (such as a clause which claims that the church is not participating in the BDS movement, despite voting to take part in an activity that is BDS’s middle name), don’t expect them to expend much effort telling the boycotters to stop shouting otherwise through bullhorns across the planet.

So this afternoon’s divestment vote is taking place within an organization whose biases and behavior on all things Middle East are now well known by Jews, Presbyterians and civilians alike.  So while Presbyterian BDS might create a brief media bump for the boycotters, it won’t take long before those stories are replaced by ones talking about a denomination that has lost all moral bearings, if not become totally senile, during its declining years.

Speaking of decline, I did a little spreadsheet work on the numbers appearing in this piece and calculated that the year in which the membership of the church will decline to 0 is 2040 (i.e., within the lifetime of most people reading this, although not within the lifetime of most current Presbyterians whose average age is 62).

Well before then, however, numbers will fall below a million (meaning they will be outnumbered by affiliated Jews in the US), but the nature of such an institution means that a final implosion will happen well before the last PCUSA member kicks the bucket.  For a church that maintains over 10,000 congregations will probably start running into serious trouble once the average number of members per congregation falls below 100 (which, according to my calculation might happen as soon as 2020).  And, as numbers continue to decline, there may come a point where PCUSA remains nothing more than a real-estate holding company and retirement home, best remembered for a long glorious history they abandoned to become a bullet point on the boycotter’s next PowerPoint slide.

I should point out that, as someone familiar with American religious and intellectual history, I take no joy at the decline of a Mainline Protestant movement that has defined so much of what this country means.  But watching how the attack on Israel has played out in the church over a decade, my thoughts turn to those brave people in the pews who have kept this monster at bay for so long.  And for those kindly ones, I pray that they can again act as a brake on the schemes of their corrupted leaders or, failing that, can find a safe lifeboat before the ship finally goes down.

PCUSA BDS: What to do?

This entry is part 5 of 11 in the series Presbyterian Church 2014


The Presbyterians will be meeting in Detroit (Henry Ford’s city as it turns out), in June and – as I’ve been discussing all this week – divestment will be on the agenda because it is always on the agenda.

A hearty group of fanatics are determined to take a trip down memory lane, back to the days when divestment was briefly the policy of the institution, with the leadership of PCUSA firmly in the fanatics’ corner.   And while those leaders will make nice noises when talking to their alleged interfaith partners in the Jewish community as well as try to distance themselves from the excesses of those they have enabled, it’s clear that the people whose agenda can be distilled down to “Israel Must Go” are once again in the driver’s seat when it comes to how this issue will play out for the sixth General Assembly in a decade.

A commenter asked when I started this series the obvious question of what he and others can do.  And short of converting to Presbyterianism and moving up the ranks of the organization, there are few ways to directly impact denominational politics, other than throwing support behind groups like Presbyterians for Middle East Peace or local church leaders who have made it a point to take a stand against BDS when they attend the upcoming General Assembly.

The organized Jewish community has relied on dialog for most of the last decade in the hope that honest discussion might tamp down the endless Israel bashing that has become liturgy at Presbyterian GAs.  And while I’m all in favor of dialog (especially in the form of honest and frank conversations with those with whom we disagree), there comes a point where the number of broken promises turns such dialog sessions into the equivalent of Lucy’s annual pulling away of the football with the Jewish community continually asked to return to the role of Charlie Brown.

So though I’m not in a position to know how much or how little lobbying might be taking place behind the scenes, I think it’s time – if only for our own self esteem – to make it clear to everyone involved that passage of divestment at this year’s General Assembly will be met with an immediate termination of all official ties between PCUSA and the Jewish interfaith partners they have been slapping in the face over and over for decades.

Keep in mind that an end to this particular official interfaith relationship does not mean a downgrading of relations between Jews and Christians generally (which are remarkably solid, even given the behavior of outliers like PCUSA).  Nor does it even mean an end to our relationship with the Presbyterians Church since PCUSA, while currently the largest Presbyterian denomination, is still just one of many branches of the Presbyterian Church with whom Jews can build relationships.  In fact, as PCUSA continues to shrink and age, a partnership with other churches might represent a wise bet on the future.

And such a break does not mean that synagogues friendly with local Presbyterian Churches need to end those relations, especially since members of many of those churches stand against the excesses of the larger organization.  But it must be made clear that those continuing local partnerships do not constitute a continued interfaith partnership between PCUSA and the Jewish community beyond the local level.  For it needs to be crystal clear that PCUSA as an institution can have a relationship with BDS or a relationship with the Jewish community, but not both.

Beyond such preparations, it might be getting time to do a little naming and shaming of the individuals and organizations that have brought PCUSA and Jewish-Presbyterian relations to the brink.  And that is a project I plan to get to next week.