You may have seen the Sunday edition of the Denver Post, which featured an op-ed piece entitled, “Denver Clergyman Called Out on ‘Jewish Problem.'” You can read it here. In this article my colleague in the Denver Presbytery is quoted as saying some troubling things about Israel. Namely, it claims he favors the dismantling and the elimination of the Jewish nation. The writers then go on to suggest that Rev. Grimm is “not alone” in his denomination. (I am sure he is not alone, but that certainly does not mean that he is with the large majority, which he is not.)
A local rabbi picked up on this article and went further, saying on his Facebook page that Rev. Grimm is “representative” of the Presbyterian “anti-Israel” and “pro-BDS” positions. I wrote a response to the Denver Post, but have not seen it published, as yet.
Here is my short and pointed letter to the Denver Post:
In the Sunday edition of The Denver Post, a local Presbyterian clergyman was “called out” for his views on Israel by two rabbis associated with the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles (“Denver clergyman called out on ‘Jewish problem’” July 13, 2014). Within our Presbyterian polity, my Presbyterian colleague is respectfully entitled to speak for himself – but not for the PCUSA. At our recent General Assembly in Detroit, commissioners passed a resolution that included a re-affirmation of the PCUSA’s long-standing, historic commitment to Israel as a secure, sovereign nation and condemned the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement designed to destabilize Israel economically.
Additionally, at General Assembly a paper entitled “Zionism Unsettled,” which contains similar views to those expressed by Rev. Grimm, was roundly and easily rejected (without debate and on the consent agenda!) and the paper was removed from the denomination’s website the week following General Assembly.
I understand these are difficult times for all involved in the Israel-Palestine mess, but at some level truth and justice must prevail. My prayers for all involved in the conflict. Shalom.
Next year … in Jerusalem!