U.S. Presbyterians Support Settlements in Occupied Territory - in Nagorno-Karabakh

(Wall Street Journal) Prof. Eugene Kontorovich - The Presbyterian Church in the U.S. (PCUSA) has long been pugnaciously anti-Israel and routinely passes resolutions accusing the Jewish state of "settler colonialism" and "illegal occupation." At the same time, the PCUSA has a long-established program dedicated to supporting settlements in occupied territory - and funds a variety of pro-settler charities - in Nagorno-Karabakh, an area that had a mixed Armenian-Azeri population until 1994, when Armenia occupied the region after a protracted war. The UN and the U.S. consider Karabakh to be occupied Azeri territory. The Azeri population fled during the war and hasn't been allowed to return. At the same time, the Armenian leadership has encouraged the movement of settlers into the occupied territory. The PCUSA is the primary sponsor of the Jinishian Memorial Foundation, an Armenian charity that funds a variety of economic and welfare projects in Armenian settlements. The PCUSA is fully within its rights to support Armenian settlements. Nothing in international law requires boycotts or sanctions against such communities. Yet while the PCUSA has made Armenian nationalism a funding priority, when it comes to the Jewish state, it treats Zionism as a horrible crime. The church sees itself as progressive, but its views on Israel are a throwback to something very old. The writer is director of the Center for the Middle East and International Law at George Mason University Law School and a scholar at the Kohelet Policy Forum.

2022-06-20 00:00:00

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