This June, Presbyterian Church USA is due to reconsider the divestment resolutions adopted in 2004. A group of Presbyterians has looked into the cost of these resolutions.--A.I.
Two years ago, Presbyterian Church USA leaders began a divestment of corporations doing business in Israel. Since then, thousands of writers have written millions of words on the topic. Today, a Google search with keywords (Presbyterian(s), Israel, and Divestment) produces 181,000 hits.
Missing in the 181,000 results is an analysis of the money spent by the PCUSA creating and promoting its Israel Divestment Movement. A volunteer group of Concerned Presbyterians
have studied the obvious and hidden costs of our church’s anti-Israel actions.
One finding: “The Middle East resolutions passed by the 216th and prior General Assemblies have created a network run amuck of headquarters staff, GA committees, and outside organizations receiving PCUSA funding.” Our three page report details the major players.
Another finding: “As the estimates show, our leadership has directed 4% of the national budget to staff, committees, and outside organizations dedicated to promoting a propaganda attack on Israel.” Four percent of the PCUSA national budget is $4 million per year.
Our letter rhetorically asked: “Who has paid for this biased and unfounded propaganda against Israel? We have, through our contributions to per capita and special offerings.” Contributions from churches to the denominational offices are voluntary.
Our analysis has been emailed to over 11,000 Presbyterians. While the number is large, it is but 5% of the membership. We are asking for your help to reach the other 95%. As we wrote in our letter
to fellow members: “Presbyterians, neither the Israeli Government nor the American Jewish Community can stop this assault on Israel. It is our problem – and our responsibility.” Presbyterians need to contact their commissioners before General Assembly begins June 15.
The actions detailed in our analysis have been reported by many writers. For the first time, the actions have been put into one document
with their associated cost.
Thank you for your consideration and help to End Israel Divestment Now.
One of the Concerned Presbyterians http://www.concernedpresbyterians.net/
A version of the report is below (sorry about the formatting). Presbyterians paid quite a bit of money for junkets with the Hizbullah and similar necessities, it seems. Ami Isseroff
Actions of the PCUSA in Support of Israel Divestment Expenditures 2001–2006
Contributions to Organizations and Committees Promoting a Biased Agenda
PCUSA’s Presbyterian Peacemaking Program (PPP) $6,000,000
50% of the PeaceMaking Offering goes to funding the PPP, which sponsors conferences biased against Israel, provided a blatantly anti-semitic speaker to the College of Wooster, and beginning 4/26/06, conducted an anti-Israel fact finding tour for 100 Presbyterians. The annual estimated budget of the PPP is $1,000,000
World Council of Churches (WCC) $2,640,000
Stated Clerk Clifton Kirkpatrick is a member of the WCC Central Committee, which has been sharply critical of Israel and has encouraged its members to divest from Israel. The PCUSA makes an annual contribution of about $440,000 to the WCC.
National Council of Churches (NCC) $2,520,000
PCUSA is an active member and the second largest financial supporter of the NCC. Like the WCC, the NCC has had a pattern of being overly critical of Israel. The PCUSA makes an annual contribution of about $420,000 to the NCC.
Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) unknown
PCUSA is closely affiliated with the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC). PCUSA missionary Nuhad Tomeh is Associate General Secretary of MECC. In a 2002 Easter letter, Riad Jarjour, General Secretary of MECC, called Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon “a war criminal” and “the Prince of Darkness whose faithfulness to his master is long standing.” Annual financial contributions to MECC could not be found.
Church World Services (CWS) $3,300,000
PCUSA is a major financial supporter of CWS through its One Great Hour of Sharing offering. CWS deplores the construction of the wall protecting Israel citizens from terrorist suicide bombers. 2004 contributions to CWS were $550,000.
Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP) $1,500,000
PCUSA’s ACSWP is best known for the international flare up from its visit with Hezbollah terrorist leaders in October 2004. The ACSWP spokesman made this inflammatory remark at the Hezbollah meeting: “I'd like to say that, according to my recent experience, relations and conversations with Islamic leaders are a lot easier than dealings and dialogue with Jewish leaders." The estimated annual budget for ACSWP is
PCUSA’s Washington Office $3,600,000
PCUSA’s Washington Office lobbies on behalf of the PCUSA. The office has a pattern of one-sided criticism of Israel. The estimated annual budget of the Washington Office is $600,000.
Compensation of Employees Promoting Biased Agendas
Nuhad Tomeh $450,000
PCUSA Missionary, Nuhad Tomeh, is assigned to the Middle East Council of Churches. He is known as the “Ambassador to Hezbollah”. He is on the Board of Pro-Palestine organizations (Middle East Fellowship and Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding). We estimate his annual salary and benefit package is $75,000.
Marthane and Elizabeth Sanders $600,000
PCUSA missionaries Marthame and Elizabeth Sanders were stationed in Palestine from 2002 to 2004. From 2004 through 2005 the Sanders were Missionaries in Residence in Louisville promoting Palestine.
Marthame Sanders is on the Board of the Pro-Palestine organization Evangelicals for Middle East
Understanding. We estimate their annual salary and benefit package is $150,000
Douglas Dicks $450,000
PCUSA missionary Douglas Dicks is stationed in Jerusalem. His principal job is to help Presbyterian groups with tours of Israel and Palestine. Dicks is on the Board of the Pro-Palestine organization Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding. We estimate his annual salary and benefit package is $75,000.
Victor Makari $750,000
PCUSA high-level employee Victor Makari is the coordinator for the Office of the Middle East and Europe. Makari is a frequent traveler to the Middle East. It is not known whether he has ever met with Israeli Governmental Officials on those many trips. His meetings with governmental officials of Islamic countries are a regular occurrence. We estimate his annual salary and benefits package is $125,000.
Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI) Staff $500,000
PCUSA’s Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI) implements the General Assembly's policies on socially responsible investing. Since the General Assembly’s Israel Divestment Resolution approved July 2004, MRTI has doggedly pursued US Corporations doing business in Israel. MRTI is headed by Bill Somplatsky-Jarmen who represents the PCUSA at anti-Israel conferences. We estimate the annual salary
and benefits package for the MRTI staff is $250,000.
Mitri Raheb $120,000
PCUSA employed Palestinian Lutheran Minister Mitri Raheb, as a missionary in residence for a period of 18 months prior to the 216th GA approval of the Israel Divestment Resolution. When a handful of commissioners expressed reservations about divestment, the Rev. Raheb, then an ecumenical guest, said divestment is important. “We have to send strong messages to such companies.” His estimated annual salary and benefits package are $80,000.
Alexa Smith $600,000
PCUSA’s news reporter, Alexa Smith, has been criticized for taking biased stands against Israel in her PNS news reports of the Middle East. In April 2006, she was criticized for being overly concerned about rock throwing Israeli Jews while seeming to ignore the terrorist activities of the Palestinians. Ms. Smith has been a frequent traveler to the Israel/Palestine and for a time was stationed in Jerusalem. Her estimated annual salary and benefits are $100,000/
Kathy Leuckert and Peter Sulyok Severance Package $150,000
Two PCUSA high-level employees were summarily terminated from their positions following the ACSWP visit with the Hezbollah terrorist leaders in October 2004. We estimate the severance package associated with those terminations is $150,000.
Travel and Meetings Promoting Biased Agendas
“Steps Towards Peace” Meeting $250,000
PCUSA invited 200 Synod and Presbytery leaders to a three day meeting in Louisville in February 2005 to justify the Israel Divestment Resolution approved in July 2004. Invited to the meeting were four Palestinian lobbyists. The estimated costs for the meeting and travel expenses of presenters and listeners is $250,000
July 2003 Middle East Fact-Finding Tour $6,000
PCUSA Executive Director John Detterick and Mideast Coordinator Victor Makari took a fact-finding tour of the Middle East in July 2003. We have found no indications either one met with any Israeli Governmental Officials. The estimated travel expense is $6,000.
February 2004 Middle East Fact-Finding Tour $36,000
PCUSA Executive Director John Detterick, Stated Clerk Clifton Kirkpatrick and 10 other Presbyterians took a fact-finding tour of the Middle East in February 2004. According to a report by St. Andrews Presbyterian Church: “The delegation visited Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Palestine and Egypt. They met with fellow Christians and government officials, including, among others, the President in Lebanon and the Prime
Minister of Syria (no Israeli officials were available).” The estimated travel expense is $36,000.
Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP) Trip $50,000
PCUSA’s ACSWP in October 2004 led an 18 day junket of 24 Presbyterians on a Middle East fact finding trip. On this trip, the group visited Hezbollah terrorist leaders. The estimated travel expense for the Louisville staff on this trip is $50,000.
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