Presbyterian network opens new dialogue on Zionism

January 21, 2014


The Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has released its newest educational resource, Zionism Unsettled: A Congregational Study Guide. 

Released to immediate critical acclaim, Zionism Unsettled is aimed bring about an end to the silence surrounding the impact of Zionism and to encourage open discussions on the topic in church and society. This study guide is a condensed version of a book entitled Zionism and the Quest for Justice in the Holy Land, which will be published in 2014 by Pickwick Publications. 

The Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick, visiting professor of ecumenical studies and global ministries at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and former General Assembly stated clerk of the PC(USA), sees a need for a deeper understanding of Zionism.

“I encourage pastors and congregations to take advantage of this new publication,” he said. “Zionism Unsettled provides a valuable opportunity to explore the political ideology of Zionism. Our congregations need to understand not only the humanitarian crisis or the specific policies involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but also to examine the basic framework that lies behind these policies and crises,”

Walter Brueggemann, professor emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta, remarks “The urgency of the Palestinian plight in the face of Israeli intransigence indicates that intentional, concrete and sustained public action is necessary to respond credibly to the crisis. Zionism Unsettled is a welcome study guide. It will prove an effective vehicle for helping to mobilize public opinion so that both attitudes and policies can be transformed in the face of an imperious and exploitative ideology.” 

What role have Zionism and Christian Zionism played in shaping attitudes and driving historical developments in the Middle East and around the world? How do Christians, Jews and Muslims understand the competing claims to the land of Palestine and Israel? What steps can be taken to bring peace, reconciliation and justice to the homeland that Palestinians and Israelis share? 

Zionism Unsettled embraces these critical issues fearlessly with inspiring scope. The booklet and DVD draw together compelling and diverse perspectives from Jews, Muslims and Christians in Israel, Palestine the United States and around the globe. By contrasting mainstream perceptions with important alternative perspectives, Zionism Unsettled serves as a guide to deeper understanding. 

Neve Gordon, Israeli political scientist and author of Israel’s Occupation, speaks of the need for Zionism Unsettled. “In my work I am inspired by the great Jewish prophets’ struggle for justice and freedom, while simultaneously I am often astounded how certain strains in Judaism and Christianity invoke the Bible in order to justify oppression and social wrongs in Israel/Palestine. Therefore I welcome the effort to emphasize a conception of Judaism and Christianity that espouses universalistic ethics—whereby all humans are imago dei—and to use it to expose injustices carried out in my homeland.” 

Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said professor of Arab studies at Columbia University in New York, notes, “The denial of the rights of the Palestinians is largely driven by the exemption of Zionist ideology and its real-world implications from any serious scrutiny. Zionism Unsettled explains accurately and concisely why it is essential to look at the theological roots of Zionism, and how it has appealed to both Jews and Christians, in order to understand the true nature of the long ordeal suffered by the Palestinian people, as well as the real roots of so much of the strife in the Middle East.” 

Zionism Unsettled consists of a 74-page illustrated booklet and an accompanying DVD. A how-to guide for class leaders with focused discussion prompts makes this an ideal resource for multi-week exploratory educational programs in churches, synagogues, mosques and all classroom settings, faith-based or secular.

To order:

800–524–2612 Item# 2646614001

In joyful obedience to the call of Christ, and in solidarity with churches and our other partners in the Middle East our network covenants to engage, consolidate, nourish, and channel the energy in the Presbyterian Church (USA) toward the goal of a just peace in Israel /Palestine by facilitating education, promoting partnerships, and coordinating advocacy. Our network speaks TO the Church not FOR the Church. The IPMN was mandated by the 216th General Assembly of the PC(USA) in 2004.

  1. Excellent article that will hopefully highlight the plight and crimes being perpetrated against Palestinians and Christians. The Palestinian crises is really a water mark that separates the sheep from the goats. If a person condones and trivializes the obvious violence perpetrated against the peoples of Palastein they are guilty by proxy of these crimes and should be shunned and disfellowshiped for breaking the greatest commandment of Jesus. " Love thy neighbour".

    by Richard Ward Carlin.

    September 5, 2015

  2. Finally a Christian denomination has the courage to tell some of the truth about this. But I fear that it is far too little too late to stem the tide of genocide, apartheid, and terrorism that is being perpetrated by Israel in our name with our money. Thank God, though, that Saint Paul and Jesus did not fear speaking out, e.g., "Beware of the dogs, beware of the workers of evil, beware of the Judaizers. Phil 3:2

    by John Smith

    January 12, 2015

  3. Jews call Jerusalem the "City of Peace." Christians refer to Jesus as the "Prince of Peace." Muslims say they practice the "Religion of Peace." Unfortunately there is no peace in the region where the City, the Prophet, and the Tradition originate! The Presbyterian Church has made a valuable historical, sociological, and intellectual contribution to the study of Zionism ideology cloaked in Jewish Theology. The ancient Romans sought to establish Pax Romana, based on their pagan gods, in the Holy Land which the prophetic taught Israelites rejected. The Holy Romans returned about a thousand years later cloaked in Catholic Theology. The New Romans, modern Jews with their pagan secularism, can still learn from history, their own.

    by Sabah E. Karam

    June 21, 2014

  4. If you have to rely on David Duke to come up with your catchphrases (e.g., "Jewish supremacism"), it shows how intellectually impoverished your system of thought is.

    by Gabriel Lampert

    June 18, 2014

  5. There are those here who seek to "bless Israel" regardless of what Israel does. (How can anything be more fanatical??) And there are those who seek to do what is righteous, no matter who may be offended. They "judge righteous judgment" as Jesus taught. They are doers of righteousness, not doers of iniquity. Jesus said it plainly: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." The Presbyterian church is heeding this call to follow the Gospel of Peace, rather than going to bed with unrighteousness. -Amen!

    by brian

    June 18, 2014

  6. Since 1/3 of the world's Jews were erased during WWII, we are left with about 13 million living Jews of which approximately half live in Israel. Lasering in on Zionism (with such critical vigor) which is the biblical redemption of the Jews, certainly makes the PCUSA appear other than saintly.

    by Howard Ross

    June 14, 2014

  7. "And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." Genesis 12:3 (Authorized King James Version)

    by M Morehouse

    May 5, 2014

  8. Read" Resistance on a Bicycle" by Dirk Van Leenen. and you will notice even then, was and still is a spiritual battle against" Israel , My first born son!! "In the Reformed doctrine, many believe the church has replaced Israel.The truth lies in Rom11:1. For their legal rights,read Solomon Benzimra "Israel's Legal Rights to their land" according to the San Remo Conference and more,before there was a UN. Jesus was born a Jew, lived and worshiped as a Jew and died as a Jew, where does the replacement come in ? Look at your leaders and see where their heart lies, before following them.

    by Willemina Thompson

    May 4, 2014

  9. As a member of the Presbyterian Church of Canada, I too, am disgusted with this group but am relieved that a number of Presbyterian Pastors are bringing forth action at their upcoming General Assembly to counter this message, which the majority of that church membership doesn't support. This is based upon replacement theology which is not biblical ( at least 19 points to 1). This group , like others, have an agenda to divide and weaken the Christian Church and they are succeeding, don't let them win because the alternative is hell.

    by Doug Thompson

    May 4, 2014

  10. Posters here need to (1) read the study guide before commenting; (2) distinguish between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism; (3) distinguish between legal and religious documents; (4) weigh the understandable desire of Jews for a homeland against the cost to others who have done them no wrong (Palestinians) and the taxpayers who are supporting their project (Americans).

    by Coilin Owens

    April 12, 2014

  11. I have just ordered 10 copies of "Zionism Unsettled" and look forward to reading and sharing it with others. It sounds like an eye-opening look at injustices that go back and back. I am delighted that PCUSA has the courage to examine the current situation from the perspectives of the various people involved...Jews, Christians, Muslims. I hope that this document will weave a spirit of justice and peace into the hearts and minds of many "with ears to hear and eyes to see".

    by Barbara Clark

    April 7, 2014

  12. For us, this is the last straw. We have withdrawn our membership in the Presbyterian Church. The history of the ideas promoted in this "study guide" is long, and malevolent.

    by Not Important

    March 31, 2014

  13. The Presbyterian Church is continuing its age old Anti Jewish agenda by publishing this work. How can Christians ignore Muslim persecution of Christains murdering them raping their women and burning Churches and instead concentrating on what is happening in the Holy Land. Israel is the ONLY country in the ME in which the Christian population has increased. If you talk about Bethlelhem it is now a Muslim town where once not too long ago it was Christian. The same is happening to Nazerath. It is about time Christians gave up their prejudices against Jews and concentrated upon what is happening to their coreligionists in Africa and the ME (and even in Europe)

    by Jack Baretti

    March 30, 2014

  14. God made an everlasting covenant to give Abraham and his descendants the land in Israel ! This is biblical Zionism. You're teaching is replacement theology ! You cannot disregard God's irrevocable covenant as though God has no future plan for Israel ! You would not have the word of God without the Jewish Jesus and Jewish Apostles. Shame on you for not honoring God's word !

    by Lonna

    March 27, 2014

  15. "What steps can be taken to bring peace, reconciliation and justice to the homeland that Palestinians and Israelis share?" Let's see, we'll start by calling Zionism racism, Israel an apartheid state, "culturally" genocidal, Judaism's 3000 year attachment to its ancient homeland an atavistic idol, implicate every Jew who cares about the people and state of Israel in "ethnic cleansing," and basically refine Judaism the way it ought to be if Liberal Christians, who know better, were in charge of Jewish theology and ethnicity (the latter of which they hate - Jews are not allowed to have an ethnic identity) and tell them everyone is entitled to political self-determination 0 except them. Let dialogue begin.

    by Geoffrey Dennis

    March 7, 2014

  16. I'm not a Presbyterian, and now perhaps I know why. What on earth made your leadership believe that Christ gives them authority to judge Israel (or to judge in any geo-political issue for that matter)? Outrageous.

    by Mark Leavenworth

    March 3, 2014

  17. I understand the comments on this article (and site) are moderated. So, it's OK with PNS for raving bigots to rant about "Jewish supremacism," "blind support of the Jews," "Zionism is anti-Christ," and spew naked racism like that of Tom Usher? What other forms of hate are allowed on PNS comment threads?

    by David Fischler

    March 1, 2014

  18. Your continued support of anti-Israel propaganda will do nothing to remove the apparent curse imposed on the United States of America. Your hateful spirit toward Israel will only add to the curse and intensify the coming self-destruction.

    by James Wickfall

    March 1, 2014

  19. The Jewish supremacists should take this report seriously. It shows that the church will not shill for their lies any more.

    by George Duke

    February 27, 2014

  20. Thank God PCUSA is restoring the church and seriously addressing the Jewish supremacism that drives hatred of others and a corrupt American foreign policy. They have no love for us or Christ.

    by A. H. Lindbergh

    February 27, 2014

  21. Zionism is anti-Christ. Ask the Jewish-Zionists. They aren't interested in God's and Jesus's message of loving their neighbors. They stomp on their neighbors trying to get them to submit under Jewish supremacy. They steal their land by force of arms. Have you heard the racism and ethnic bigotry coming out of Jewish-Zionist leaders? It's wicked. How can the Church not stand opposed to twisted, worldly Zionism? Peace, love, and truth, Tom Usher

    by Tom Usher

    February 23, 2014

  22. Guess what? Just come to Israel and try to utter such bold-faced lies within our JEWISH homeland, to the 75% majority JEWISH Zionist public, as you re-write the history of the Jewish people and Zionism. I am leaving my full ID here, as well as my blog, so, again, do you have the balls?

    by Adina Kutnicki,

    February 21, 2014

  23. Thank you! Joe Mustich, Washington, CT USA I will share this report with my friends, colleagues, and others in my faith community.

    by Hon. Jos. A. Mustich

    February 21, 2014

  24. Zionism is not based on politics, social justice, or any other secular quasi-issues the PC-USA would like to throw at it. Zionism is taking God--that is Yahweh, not Allah, for those Presbyterians who get confused by the two--and there IS a difference-- at His word that there will be a united Israel, and the Messiah will be its ruler, and that the law has always and will always come from Zion. Zionism is taking God at His word that He will bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse her. But the Presbies I'm familiar with don't know any of that because they never trouble themselves to read beyond the lectionary and oddly enough, the lectionary never mentions such ideas. If by some error they do know it, they don't believe it because their ministers, who love to dabble in heresy and apostasy, have meticulously taught them that nothing in Scripture is really what it seems. In joyful obedience to Jesus? The Jesus who will someday reign in Zion? I've had it with the Presbyterian church. I'm out of here. Sign me ex-member, ex-ruling elder, ex-Session member.....

    by ellen f

    February 21, 2014

  25. Those that see this as against Israel only need to visit Gaza or spend time with the Christians in Bethlehem to know that this study speaks the truth. I hope they do the study and research the topic for themselves before saying it is wrong.

    by Lynn Walters

    February 20, 2014

  26. This article starts off with a half-truth. The assertion that the study guide has been released to “immediate critical acclaim” ignores the reality that the "acclaim" comes from fellow activists. If the “study guide” fails to explain how the state that arose out of the Zionist movement provides its non-Jewish citizens and residents far more legal, political, and religious freedom, and certainly more personal security, than any other state in the Middle East, it is more of a propaganda piece than a study guide. If the “study guide” focuses on the “humanitarian crisis” in Israel/Palestine, while ignoring the large-scale brutality in Syria, it is flawed. If the “study guide” addresses the role of Zionism in “shaping attitudes . . . in the Middle East”, does it ask what are the “attitudes” of authorities in Saudi Arabia, Iran, or Gaza to those who convert to Christianity? It appears to me that the good name of the Presbyterian Church has been hijacked.

    by Andrew G.

    February 19, 2014

  27. This really is an unfortunate piece of work. Of all of the directions for leadership to pursue, why this? To what end does stirring the pot like this help build the kingdom of Christ? Fortunately, we can no more characterize PCUSA by this work than we can the Catholic Church by the abominations of some of its priests against children. Unfortunately, this work is about on that level. I pray that peacemakers prevail, not those that make a living by stirring the pot.

    by Dave Ewart

    February 18, 2014

  28. Bravo PCUSA: I can not wait to get my copy of Zionism Unsettled. Based on all reviews, including desperately distorted ones from some who share in the guilt. This is a vital need fulfilled. And PCUSA will not be the last. For too long Christian Zionist in American evangelical churches, including, Richard L. Land of the Southern Baptist convention, have blame the victim for every act of brutality against them, and getting away with it. But the movement to discover and expose what Occupation is, is rooted and growing in the traditional churches like the PCUSA, who know abut missions. Scripture is on their side. "Blessed are the Peacemakers." Restated: Who would Jesus Bomb, or imprison for sixty years? From one who has seen Gaza from the inside, Charles E Carlson

    by Chuck Carlson

    February 17, 2014

  29. This is good news. Finally a traditional Christian org in America stands up to the uber hypocritical "Jewish" Zionist power structure. Its about time. Fact is, Jewish Zionism is based in Judaism/Talmudism as an all encompassing outward expression of other Jewish controlled movements such as Marxism-Communism. Its end goal is a world Gov seated by the main Anti Christ. Zionism is Judaism and it is the so called "Jews" common law where as true Israelites (European/white/Christians) common law is Christian/Natural law. Both of these common laws show the difference between the DNA/spirit of Esau "Jews" and European/whites-Christians (Jacob-Israel/Judah). The so called Jews, "Israelis" bid for World Gov will happen but it is destined to be replaced by God's people (Authentic Christians) when the true lord returns, exposing the false and planting HIS kingdom on their apostasy. (By the way- don't even try and calling me "anti semitic". I will post "Jewish" admissions to all I have said above, all day long". 95% of the so called "Jews" don't have natural links to the tribes of Israel. They are impostors (Rev 2 and 3) coming from Maternal links to Esau and Ashkenaz who are from Japeth, not Shem (Genesis 10:3).

    by Tyron Parsons

    February 17, 2014

  30. Kudos to PCUSA for standing up to the political correctness that so often stymies open discussion of Jewish supremacism. For too long Christian Zionists have gotten away with enforcindg a taboo against any examination of Jewish wrongdoing, claiming instead a bogus requirement that Christians must always bless Jews and their actions, however awful those actions are.

    by Harry H

    February 17, 2014

  31. Palestinians deserve the same human kindness almost all of us try our best to extend to our Jewish neighbors as well as the people we meet from Israel. Our national policies do not reflect this. We contribute to the scapegoating and injustices the Palestinians suffer every day. Our aid to Israel primarily serves the Zionist colonial enterprise rather than being useful to both peoples proportional to their need. Of course the pro-colonial beneficiaries disagree! Our tax money, our UN votes, our 'donated' weapons, our pressure on allies to not waver in support of the Zionist colonial enterprise are expressions of who we are. There are indications a large proportion of American Jews feel Jewish values are being trampled upon by this enterprise, and would welcome an American initiated study, discussion, and conciliation process, in the hope we can become a better, more truly helpful nation. Thank you for this great outreach & effort.

    by Dan Huck

    February 15, 2014

  32. I applaud The Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church for addressing this issue. Zionism is not just bad for the Palestinians, but also, for the rest of the world as well. The Christian Zionist on here who blindly supports the Jews and Israel, does so out of emotion through their religious devotion, not the truth. The Jews can do no wrong in their eyes, and anytime someone points out the fact that the Jews are mere humans, who are capable of having flaws, they call them anti-Semitic. The Talmud is Judaism's holiest book (actually a collection of books). Its authority takes precedence over the Old Testament in Judaism, and it's hatred against Gentiles, Christ, and Christians, knows no bounds. Wake up, all of you Christian Zionist! Learn the truth, and stop blindly supporting the evil known as Zionism!

    by Robert Bowling

    February 15, 2014

  33. As frightning as PC USA is , with it's blatant hatred of Jews and publication of David Duke style lies, it is encouraging to read the dissenting comments here from Christians with a brain and a conscience. Father Coughlin is alive and well in PC USA!

    by Marty Solomon

    February 13, 2014

  34. I have not read this study guide, although I look forward to doing so. I will confess that I have been disappointed in the unfortunate movement of my denomination toward anti-Semitism, disguised as searching for peace and justice. However, I will read through this study guide with an open mind and a heart governed by Christ.

    by Doug Wagner

    February 13, 2014

  35. You should add David Duke's enthusiastic endorsement to your list of supporters. Oh, and Iranian TV too. I am ashamed of this church.

    by John Erthein

    February 12, 2014

  36. As one who once belonged to the PCUSA Denomination along with the entire church where I was a member, it is reasons like this our church voted to leave. God honors and blesses those who honor and bless Israel. Anything done against Israel no matter the motive will not find favor in God's eyes. This is a monumental tragedy and a frightening representation of what is supposed to be God's people. No wonder non-Christians don't understand Christianity. It is a relationship with Jesus Christ; not a religion. Jesus was Jewish so the perspective here would mean this particular denomination is against his people. You can't have it both ways. If you are for Israel you are for Jesus. If you are against Israel you align yourselves with anti-Semitics or extremists who have and presently desire to annihilate them. How can that be God's will?

    by Sara C Neil

    February 12, 2014

  37. If you understand Romans 11:1 & 16-22 the Christians have not replaced the Jews. Thus as Christians you are called to bless Israel. [Genesis 12:3] Scripture tells us God is the same yesterday, today and forever, so why would He go against His own word? Your denomination has revised scripture for earthly "peace, justice and reconciliation," when it's clear God gave the Land of Israel to the Jewish people as an everlasting inheritance. The 'Palestinian's' are not a unique nation of people, they are Arabs like all other Arab's. Yasser Arafat chose to rename these Arabs as such in order to market their unjust, cause aimed at destroying the Jewish people and the home God gave them. Read the charters of Hamas, PLO and Fatah. They all require the complete liquidation of Israel and require Jews to be destroyed or subjugated under Muslim rule. You are aligning yourselves with the enemies of God's people. Quoting people such as Rashid Khalidi who helped bring Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Columbia U. is another example of your blind prejudice against Israel and the Jews.

    by Dan Calic

    February 12, 2014

  38. Finally, a major Christian denomination that has the courage to stand up and address the major problem facing our generation and our world. I was raised Lutheran, but you now have a new convert! I'll be looking for a local church to join in my area that supports your open discussion on the topic.

    by Peter Jalajas

    February 11, 2014

  39. "In joyful obedience to the call of Christ" - how utterly cynical to describe the intention of this hate study like that. It´s the same old "Christian" anti-semitism again. Read what this is really about:

    by Bertil Widen

    February 11, 2014

  40. I understand that you have an anti-Israel stand that is reflected in this teaching. Having spent time and worked in Israel as a Christian, I ask that you reconsider your stand against Israel. Please have someone visit/live there a while and get a good idea of what it means to live in constant fear of the surrounding peoples who are committed to destroying you. While it is true that they rejected Jesus Christ as their Messiah, God has plans for them in the end times scenario. Please reconsider your hatred for the Jews. You are playing into the hands of the extremist Islamic powers that vow to wipe the Jews from the face of the earth. Please also be aware that once the Jews are gone, WE CHRISTIANS WILL BE NEXT ON THEIR AGENDA.

    by Billy Stone

    February 8, 2014

  41. Congratulations on not being afraid to address these issues squarely. Noel Anderson's belief that the truth should be suborned for the sake of political sensitivities is what I regard as truly retrogressive - to use his word. The Palestinians and the Arabs should not be denied a voice.

    by Chris Williams

    February 7, 2014

  42. Ah, yes, let's have a 'study' to reveal why the Presbyterian church thinks Jews having a homeland is a disease. Let's renounce the hierarchy of victimhood, and ignore the almost daily barrage of rockets into Israel. They are right about one thing: the desire of the Jews to have a homeland IS driving hate, including the hate expressed by this 'study'

    by Randall Richards

    February 7, 2014

  43. It is painfully difficult to see the wisdom of such a study, especially when it so clearly tips its hand against Israel. Presbyterians have been guilty of anti-semitism--in one for or another--since our founding. Among all possible options for peacemaking in the Middle East, why have the writers forgotten the crucial prerequisite of building great relationships with Jews here in the USA? The work is retrogressive, and ought to be removed from website.

    by Noel Anderson

    February 6, 2014

  44. do you know of any church in the Dallas area that is studying this as a large or small group. we are reading alone and would like to hear what others are thinking about this important issue. the publication is really great. Thanks so much for all the hard work that went into it!

    by mike and leanne mcginney

    February 6, 2014