May 30, 2024
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Presbyterian Church Head Should Resign For Continuing to Promote Antisemitic Rhetoric

(Courtesy of SWC) The Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) said that Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II, head of the Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUSA), should resign for continuing to spread antisemitic and hate-filled false comments about American Jews and Israel. For the third time in recent weeks, Nelson continued to promote false claims about American Jews and the State of Israel, despite criticism from Jewish leaders and members of his own church.

In his latest antisemitic salvo—a video and transcript posted February 10 on PCUSA’s online magazine The Presbyterian Outlook—Nelson triple-downed on his previous false charges, accusing Israel of “21st Century slavery” and American Jews of complicity. Nelson’s seven-minute video came a day after PSCUSA’s Committee on the Office of the General Assembly issued a statement affirming that he is authorized to speak on behalf of the church.

“Three strikes and he’s out. He should leave his post—now,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, SWC’s associate dean and Rabbi Yitzchak Adlerstein, director of interfaith affairs. “Not just because he is morally blind. Not just because he is hypocritical. But because his raging indifference to violent acts of Jew-hatred are legitimized by his own radical politics thinly wrapped in theological tinder.”

Meanwhile, many Presbyterians have spoken up to condemn his words and offer words of support to the Jewish community since the Stated Clerk’s initial remarks on January 17. Over 150 prominent Presbyterian leaders signed a petition calling up the Stated Clerk to acknowledge his hateful language. A prominent member of the denomination’s General Assembly Committee on Interfaith and Ecumenical Relations has resigned in disgust. And leaders at all levels are upset with the Stated Clerk’s words and lack of contrition, many looking at scenarios to rein him in.

SWC welcomed their support. “We applaud PFMEP and all the other Presbyterian leaders for having the courage to stand up to hate and antisemitism in their own house,” said Rabbi Eric J. Greenberg, SWC’s director of UN Relations and Strategic Partnerships. “We appreciate their commitment to continuing a positive partnership and dialogue between Presbyterians and the Jewish people.”

PFMEP is a grassroots group of Presbyterian lay and clergy volunteers with a solid history of working with Jews in interfaith dialogue and who “want the PCUSA to be an effective peacemaker in the Middle East.”

To read SWC’s recent op-ed on this issue, visit https://www.wiesenthal.com/about/news/why-presbyterian-church.html

For further information contact the Center’s Communications department at [email protected], join the Center on Facebook, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent directly to your Twitter feed.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

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