I am honored to stand here among very good friends. Temple Emanu-El has helped house Covenant Presbyterian Church and Independent Presbyterian Church. And we offered shelter to IPC when their church burned down. The pastor of South Highlands and the rabbi of Temple Emanu-El have always been the closest of friends.
I want to make 2 points to my friends:
1. As a Jew who loves Israel and prays daily for the vulnerable Christian minority in the Muslim world, I appeal to you not to divest from Israel but rather to invest with her.. Invest your time, your energy and your recourses. If this divestment is allowed to continue, you will have no impact on the Israelis and the Palestinians, and you will not better either people. If you play this card, you are out of the game. We need your Christian witness in this part of the world, and without it, everyone is diminished. Divestment is a clumsy and painful weapon that, whatever its intentions will not lead the way to reconciliation.
Divestment is painful, not only to Israel but to your Jewish friends here at home. Suddenly, our friends have become our foes. And as a Jew in a world of rising vicious anti-Semitism, we have remarkably few friends.
2. This Overture has intruded onto my psychic and spiritual pain. Again, I am made to witness a Christian group wielding an economic weapon against my people to cause pain and harm.
In the middle ages, Christendom forbad Jews from owning land, hiring Christians and competing with Christian guilds. Besides all the other physical degradations we suffered, Jews were pushed to the periphery of the economic order. Economic sanctions were a brutally painful weapon against my people.
On April 1, 1933, the Nazis carried out the first nationwide, planned action against Jews: a boycott targeting Jewish businesses and professionals. On the day of the boycott, Storm Troopers stood menacingly in front of Jewish-owned department stores and retail establishments, and the offices of professionals such as doctors and lawyers. The Star of David was painted in yellow and black across thousands of doors and windows, with accompanying anti-Semitic slogans. Signs were posted saying "Don't Buy from Jews" and "The Jews Are Our Misfortune." Later Jews were dismissed from their work from the civil service, and later Jewish businesses and Jewish professionals would only be able to serve Jewish clients. And later... you know what happened later.
When you talk about "divestment", I know what it feels like.
But you are our Christian friends. You are not those people. And economic boycotts are not becoming of you.