Presbyterian Peacemakers Promote Hezbollah Website and Anti-Israel Incitement

The Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA), is promoting anti-Israel incitement from a number of different sources, including Al Manar, a Hezbollah-controlled television station which was designated as a “Global Terrorist Entity” by the U.S. Department of Treasury in 2006. The Israel/Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) was established by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 2004.

In addition to mainstreaming Hezbollah’s Al Manar to Presbyterians and to the general public, the IPMN is also promoting false allegations about Israel tunneling beneath the Temple Mount – allegations which in the past have incited violence. The IPMN is also relaying a false report of Palestinians attacking right-wing Jews who had entered the Temple Mount to pray the day before Yom Kippur. In fact, Palestinians had attacked non-Jewish French tourists.

IPMN promoted the articles in a blog entry dated Oct. 11, 2009. The entry reports on the alleged “decline of sovereignty by Palestinian Muslims over the Haram al-Sharif Mosque on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem.” The entry depicts the presence of Israeli Jews in Jerusalem as an alien intrusion that results in the “culture of Palestine slowly being displaced by immigrants from Europe and the US.”

Accompanying this thinly disguised xenophobia were links to ten articles, most of which dealt with the recent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police near the Temple Mount. The IPMN encouraged its readers to view the articles under the heading “Articles of the Week.”

The clashes began on Sept. 27, 2009 when Palestinians attacked a group of non-Jewish French tourists (whom they had likely mistaken for Israeli Jews intent on praying on the Temple Mount). Israeli police officers intervened, rescued the tourists, arrested some of the Palestinians involved in the attack and then blocked off the compound. The compound remained closed to allow for the peaceful celebration of Yom Kippur at the Western Wall, or Kotel, which is at the base of the Temple Mount. (Agence France Press, Sept. 27, 2009)

On Oct. 3, 2009, Israeli officials imposed another closure on the site in an effort to prevent further violence after Palestinian religious leaders called for further protests against an alleged Jewish “takeover” of Haram Al-Sharif. Prior to closure, imposed the day before a Sukkot celebration at the Western Wall, Israeli police had discovered wheelbarrows filled with stones at a number of sites on the Temple Mount. (UPI, Oct. 5, 2009).

Given the tensions surrounding the Temple Mount (or the Haram Al-Sharif as it is called by Muslims), IPMN’s peacemaking agenda would seem to require that it post links to factual articles about the confrontations and encourage people of all faiths in Jerusalem to remain calm.

Instead, the organization directed its readers to articles promoting false charges designed to provoke hostility toward Israel and to justify continued violent acts by the Palestinians.

For example, the IPMN promoted an article published by Ma’an News, a Palestinian news agency that falsely reported that the violence that began on Sept. 27 started after “right wing religious Jews entered the Al-Aqsa compound ahead of the holy day of Yom Kippur.” In fact, Palestinians attacked non-Jewish French tourists, as noted above.

The IPMN also promoted an article falsely accusing Israel of digging a tunnel under the Al Aqsa Mosque. This charge is regularly leveled at Israel in an effort to promote hostility toward Israel.

Al Manar

These links are outrageous enough, but what is even more shocking is the IPMN’s decision to promote an article published by Al Manar, which is controlled by Hezbollah. This article titled “Palestinians Stand Up to Israeli Attempts to Desecrate Al-Aqsa” speaks of “Israel’s continuous bids to desecrate the Muslim site.” The article also reports that Israeli settlers have allowed Jewish settlers to enter the compound and desecrate the holy site.” In fact, Israeli officials have worked to prevent Jewish groups from setting foot on the site.

What makes IPMN’s decision to promote this article shocking is that Al Manar has been designated by the U.S. Department of Treasury as a “Global Terrorist Entity.”

Al Manar raised funds for Hizballah through advertisements broadcast on the network and an accompanying website that requested donations for the terrorist organization. As recently as late 2005, Hizballah-affiliated charities aired commercials on al Manar, providing contact information and bank account numbers for donations. Moreover, Hizballah Secretary General Nasrallah publicized an invitation for all Lebanese citizens to volunteer for Hizballah military training on al Manar and al Nour [a Lebanese radio station].
In addition to supporting Hizballah, al Manar has also provided support to other designated Palestinian terrorist organizations, including the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, notably transferring tens of thousands of dollars for a PIJ-controlled charity. PIJ is listed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist and a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. Government, and is also named on the European Union’s list of terrorist entities.
Hizballah Secretary General Hasan Nasrallah, along with Hizballah’s Executive Council, managed and oversaw the budgets of al Manar and al Nour.(Emphasis added.)

By portraying Jewish settlement in Israel in such xenophobic terms and by promoting propaganda broadcast by a known supporter of anti-Israel terrorism, the IPMN has revealed its true colors.

It is not a peace organization.

It is an anti-Israel organization that promotes the lies told by groups in the Middle East to justify attacks on Israeli civilians.

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