As we recently reported, the US Presbyterian Church is currently holding its biannual General Assembly (GA) in Pittsburgh, PA. The GA will pay close attention to issues in the Middle East, and while PC(USA) has long-held opinions of Israel based on a false Israeli-Palestinian narrative, one overture to be presented at this conference goes above and beyond absurd. CAMERA reports:
One overture (15-01) before this committee accuses Israel of practicing apartheid. This resolution, introduced by the Presbytery of Muskingum Valley in Ohio includes a damning quote attributed to former President of South Africa, Nobel-prize winning Nelson Mandela. According to the resolution, Mandela said:
Apartheid is a crime against humanity. Israel has deprived millions of Palestinians of their liberty and property. It has perpetuated a system of gross racial discrimination and inequality. It has systematically incarcerated and tortured thousands of Palestinians, contrary to the rules of international law. It has, in particular, waged a war against a civilian population, in particular children.
There’s just one problem. Mandela never said it. The quote was in fact written by Arjan El Fassed, an activist affiliated with Al Awda, which the ADL describes as a “grass roots organization that opposes Israel’s right to exist.” The original article in which the quote appears can be seen here. For more background about how this quote falsely attributed to Mandela, has been used by anti-Israel activists, see this brief report by Richard Landes.
Despite the inclusion of a fake quote in the text of the overture, the resolution was approved by four other PC(USA) presbyteries in the run up to the General Assembly.
By misattributing such a weighted quote to try and prove a baseless and inaccurate point, PC(USA) itself is perpetuating gross racial discrimination against the state of Israel.