I would just ask us all to imagine we were United Methodists in the 1930s and 40s [and] that our Board of Pensions held stock in the very successful manufacturing firms in Germany that bid and received the bids to manufacture the ovens for the concentration camps.
At what point would we decide it was time to divest?
How much evidence would we ask for before it was time to stop the wholesale destruction of people?
(Note: Novak’s statement can be seen here. Her statement starts a 5:47 minutes into the video and lasts until 6:37.)
The moderator did not call her out of order, but merely asked if her speech was for or against the non-divestment resolution then before the assembly. (She was against.)
Margaret Novak compared Israeli policies in the West Bank to the destruction of Jews in Europe. She made this statement in front of several hundred people and the moderator of the assembly let her statement pass unchallenged.
Novak's comparison between current Israeli policies and that of the Nazi regime falls under the working definition of antisemitism issued by the European Forum on Antisemitism. This definition warns against "Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis."
Novak's suggestion that the Israelis are perpetrating a genocide ("wholesale destruction of people") is defamatory. The population of the Palestinians has grown fourfold in the decades since the 1948 War.
Will someone from the UMC’s leadership condemn Novak’s remarks before the General Convention comes to an end on Friday May 4, 2012 or will they pass unnoticed?
This is a reasonable question to ask. The UMC has been the source of some ugly rhetoric in the past. For more information about this problem go here and here.
James E. Winkler, General Secretary of the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society (GBCS), can make it right. He can issue an unequivocal apology for the ugly anti-Semitism that was allowed to pass unchallenged at the UMC’s General Assembly on May 2, 2012.
It is also reasonable to ask if Jewish Voice for Peace is going to condemn Novak’s rant. As stated above, JVP was out in force at the assembly.
And will the Methodist activists, operating under the banner of UM Kairos Response condemn Novak's statement?
Such rhetoric simply cannot pass unnoticed at the UMC General Convention.
Will Winkler act? Will Jewish Voice for Peace respond? Will UMKairos Response?