At least two of Robert Conquest’s Three Laws — set forth here by John Derbyshire — explain the political world much as Newton’s laws of motion explain the physical world. Conquest’s Second Law provides: “Any organization not explicitly and constitutionally right-wing will sooner or later become left-wing.” Derbyshire adds with respect to the Second Law: “Conquest gave the Church of England and Amnesty International as examples.”
Conquest’s Second Law probably applies to this past Friday’s vote (310-303) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to divest in three American companies (Caterpillar, Motorola and Hewlett-Packard) whose products are employed to support Israel’s “occupation” of “Palestinian” territory. The divestment resolution is accessible online here.
The Presbyterians apparently deem Gaza to be “occupied”; Hewlett-Packard made the list because its products have been used in part by the Israeli Navy to enforce the blockade of Gaza — i.e., the blockade to prevent weapons and explosives from reaching the terrorist groups operating in Gaza, including the terrorist group that runs the place. Motorola made the list because the IDF uses Motorola communication technologies, Caterpillar because the Israelis have used its bulldozers to demolish the homes of Palestinian terrorists. (Caterpillar says that the company does not sell the products to Israel.)
Good old-fashioned anti-Semitism is of course in the mix as well. Witness Zionism Unsettled, the pamphlet favored by David Duke that is still on sale by the church online. CAMERA elaborates on the church’s use of the pamphlet here. Tablet’s Yair Rosenberg explores this element of the vote:
At the General Assembly itself, a shocked Presbyterian blogger reported that during prayers, Virginia Sheets, the vice moderator of the Middle East issues committee, “suggested that Jesus wasn’t afraid to tell the Jews when they were wrong.” Zionism Unsettled, the pamphlet assembled by divestment activists to press their case, labeled Zionism as racism and drew strong condemnation from prominent Presbyterian leaders, who noted that it had been endorsed by the notorious white supremacist David Duke, who praised its usage of racist terminology he originally coined. (The DVD accompanying the booklet also claimed that Jews fabricated their connection to Jerusalem for political purposes.) An anonymous Twitter account set up by divestment activists even attempted to smear a Jewish Israel advocate in attendance at the General Assembly for “mocking” Presbyterian hymns. (Video showed otherwise.)
The church’s adoption of the resolution suggests to me that the church has joined a bad crowd. There will be more coming, and worse.
Among the editorial commentary on the church’s resolution is Nolan Finley’s “Divest from Palestinians instead.” In the Wall Street Journal Jonathan Marks noted that “Presbyterians join the anti-Israel choir.”
The New York Post criticized the resolution in the editorial “Presbyterian holy war.” National Review has frankly condemned the resolution as “A wicked act.” The editors of NR observe: “The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has now joined a nasty and growing mob.”
After the vote, the moderator of the church’s General Assembly had a somewhat difficult time justifying the resolution to two CNN anchors who quizzed him on it (video below). “You use phrases like ‘ethnic cleansing’ and ‘apartheid,’” one said. “It seems as if the rhetoric at least is not something that speaks to, as you say, your love for your Jewish brothers and sisters.”
Video (and CNN quote) via Washington Free Beacon.
NOTE: I have corrected my reference to Newton’s laws of “thermodynamics” to Newton’s laws of motion. I was obviously writing from memory at a time when the only one of Newton’s laws I actually remember is the one rendered by Johnny Carson’s Carnac the Magnificent: “One fig to a cookie!”