The anti-Israel Religious Left has a new target for its fury, and it's not anybody like old nemeses like evangelical Zionists Pat Robertson or John Hagee. It is Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who recently dared to criticize anti-Israel divestment schemes.
"The Episcopal Church does not endorse divestment or boycott," Jefferts Schori recently told a Los Angeles "peacemakers" luncheon. "It's not going to be helpful to endorse divestment or boycotts of Israel. It will only end in punishing Palestinians economically."
Although reliably liberal and politically correct, Jefferts Schori and most of her denomination don't identify with anti-Israel zealotry. In contrast, zealous activists within the United Methodist Church and Presbyterian Church (USA) are trying to persuade their upcoming governing conventions to target Israel for divestment. Episcopal Church opposition makes their argument more difficult.
So understandably, anti-Israel groups like Sabeel are distressed. "If the church is afraid to cry out against injustice and oppression, the living stones, the common people will cry out," warned Sabeel chief Naim Ateek in a letter to Jefferts Schori. Based in Jerusalem, Sabeel is a nexus for anti-Israel organizing between Palestinian churches and Western church activists. Guided by the last remaining vestiges of Liberation Theology, which shook the world in the 1970s by linking Christianity with Marxist revolution, Sabeel summons churches to rally for Palestinian "liberation" from Israeli oppression. Ateek is himself an Anglican priest and frequent speaker in the U.S.