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November 05, 2004 - Image 12

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-11-05

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Presbyterians Renounce Hezbollah Talk

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Top officials of the
Presbyterian Church
(USA), based in
Louisville, Ky., wrote a
letter to Jewish leaders
renouncing a mid-
October meeting
Shapiro
between a 24-member
delegation of the
church's Advisory
Committee on Social
Witness Policy and rep-
resentatives of
Hezbollah in southern
Lebanon.
At a press conference
Nevins
after the group's meet-
ing with Hezbollah,
Ronald Stone, a retired Pittsburgh
Theological Seminary professor, "praised
Hezbollah's expression of good will
towards the American people" and "ini-
tiative for dialogue and mutual under-
standing," according to an Oct. 18
Associated Press report.
As an elder of our church, I'd like to
say that, according to my recent experi-
ence, relations and conversations with
Islamic leaders are a lot easier than deal-
ings and dialogue with Jewish leaders,"
Stone was quoted as saying.
Among the delegation's members was
the group's chairman Rev. Nile Harper
of Ann Arbor, who continued to defend
his visit in Louisville's Courier Journal
News on Oct. 23. Harper is quoted as
saying that his delegation is seeking to
listen to voices that are not usually heard
by Presbyterians and by people in our
country.
The Oct. 21 Church letter, however,
called this meeting "misguided" and it
denounced statements made after the
meeting as "reprehensible."
"It is outrageous that a group repre-

senting the Presbyterian Church (USA)
traveled abroad to countries that harbor
and support terrorist organizations, and
it is even more maddening that this
same group met with representatives of
Hezbollah to discuss peace," said
Sharona Shapiro, Detroit area director of
the American Jewish Committee.
Shapiro, along with Rabbi David
Nelson of Congregation Beth Shalom,
Rabbi Daniel Nevins of Adat Shalom
Synagogue and Brenda Rosenberg, inter-
religious affairs commission chair of the
local National Conference for
Community and Justice, met with local
Presbyterian leadership in September to
discuss ongoing issues between the
Jewish community and the Presbytery of
Detroit.
After reading the follow-up statement
renouncing the Middle East visit, Rabbi
Nevins said he was pleased that the
national Presbyterian organization
expressed anguish that their members
misrepresented the Presbyterian Church,
and that they disavowed any contact
with Hezbollah.
"They reaffirmed their desire to have a
good relationship with the Jewish com-
munity, so I was quite satisfied with that
and that our efforts are bearing fruits,"
Rabbi Nevins said. "I've been in com-
munication with local Presbyterian min-
isters, and although we are not 100 per-
cent in accordance, I think they under-
stand our concerns and are beginning to
reassess their policy."
The Jewish leaders plan to continue
their dialogue with local Presbytery rep-
resentatives sometime in November at
the Presbyterian Theological Seminary
with Presbytery of Detroit representa-
tives, Shapiro said.

— Sharon Zuckerman, staff writer

Israel Insight

THE ISSUE

November 4 through 6 o

previous purchase &

layaways excluded

11/ 5
2004

12

While Democrats and Republicans
battled for Jewish votes in this week's
presidential election by touting their
candidate's pro-Israel bonafides,
Israelis have mostly been comfortable
when either party has occupied the
White House, according to Shmuel
Rosner of Israel's Hdaretz daily news-
paper.

BEHIND mem ISSUE
Rosner writes that Israel will love
every American president (who is
not perceived as being demonstra-
tively hostile) because he holds the
umbrella that protects Israel from its
enemies and because he embodies
the security, economic aid and, espe-
cially, the moral support provided
Israel. The president gives Israel the
feeling that it still has one friend it
can count on, even at a time of great
trouble. He is the symbol, and
America is the friend.
— Allan Gale, Jewish Community
Council of Metropolitan Detroit

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