Benjamin Netanyahu Slams Presbyterians for Israel Divestment

Premier Says Christians Should 'Get on Plane' and See Truth

israel government

By JTA

Published June 23, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) vote to divest from three companies that do business with Israeli West Bank security forces.

Netanyahu, speaking Sunday to Jewish journalists from around the world at the inaugural Jewish Media Summit in Jerusalem, said the vote late Friday to divest from Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions and Hewlett-Packard was misguided because Israel protects civil rights in a region with rising tides of Islamist extremism.

“The only place where you have freedom, tolerance, protection of minorities, protection of gays, of Christians and all other faiths is Israel,” he said.

Netanyahu suggested that American Presbyterian leaders “take a plane, come here and let’s arrange a bus tour in the region. Let them go to Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq.”

The prime minister told the more than 100 Jewish journalists gathered for the five-day summit that he sees three threats facing the Jewish people worldwide — heightened anti-Semitism in Europe, weakened Jewish identity in the United States and the rise of radical Islamist forces in the Middle East.

He lamented the June 12 kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank, as well as the death of a 13-year-old Israeli killed by an explosive Sunday in the Golan Heights.

“We as a people, our heart is broken about the kidnapping of every youth and the murder of every youth,” he said. Netanyahu also repeated his call for the world to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons capability. He connected Iran’s Islamic government to conflicts between Sunni and Shiite groups in Iraq and Syria.

“It is the height of folly to allow one of the Islamist camps to have nuclear weapons,” he said. “It will change history.” Netanyahu reiterated many of the same points during a Sunday morning interview from Jerusalem on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Speaking before Netanyahu at the summit, outgoing President Shimon Peres praised Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ condemnation of the teens’ kidnapping and said Abbas is a good peace partner for Israel.

Peres encouraged Israel to restart peace talks, which Israel suspended in April after Abbas signed a reconciliation pact with Hamas, the terrorist group that governs Gaza.

“I think he is the best partner Israel ever had, and has now,” Peres said of Abbas. “I know him for 20 years. I think he’s a man of his word. I think he’s a man of courage.”

Netanyahu said earlier Sunday that Israel has clear evidence that Hamas participated in the kidnapping.

The Jewish Media Summit, which was organized by Israel’s Government Press Office, is set to occur every two years. More than 25 countries are represented at the event, according to Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.