South Carolina Legislators Criticized for Speaking to Pro-Israeli Group
Group Hosting Rep. Rice, Rep. Clemmons Supports West Bank Settlements, Apartheid
The Carolina Peace Resource Center is criticizing Congressman Tom Rice (R, SC-7) and State Rep. Alan Clemmons for speaking at “A Night to Honor Israel,” an event hosted by Christians United for Israel (CUFI) this Monday November 4th 7PM at the Wheelwright Auditorium at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, SC. CUFI urges American Christians to politically support Israel unconditionally , including the building of Israeli settlements in the Palestinian populated West Bank, espousing an ideology known as Christian Zionism. Israeli settlement building in the West Bank has been condemned by the US government for decades as an “obstacle to peace” and has accelerated in recent years.
“CUFI misinforms American Christians, whitewashing Israel’s policies of settlement building, apartheid, and persecution of Palestinian Christians in the West Bank,” says Carolina Peace Resource Center President David Matos. Matos has been engaged in educating the public about prospects for peace in Israel/Palestine for the past decade with the Carolina Peace Resource Center, traveling twice to Israel/Palestine with Interfaith Peacebuilders in 2006 and 2009. “Congressman Rice and Representative. Clemmons should be distancing themselves from this extreme pro-Israeli group instead of pandering to it,” Matos admonishes.
State Rep. Alan Clemmons has embraced the Israeli settler movement in particular, touring Israeli settlements in the West Bank twice, including just this last month (October 2013). Israel’s Arutz Sheva recently described Clemmons as a supporter of Israel’s right “to build and populate” the West Bank and as “arranging for hundreds of American elected officials to express their support for “ Israeli settlements in the West Bank. In 2011, Clemmons co-sponsored HR 4339 in the South Carolina House which was passed despite erroneously claiming that “Israel is neither an attacking force nor an occupier of the lands of others.” The West Bank is considered Israeli Occupied Palestinian territory (OPT) under international law and UN Resolution 242 calls on Israel to withdraw its military from the West Bank.
“Jesus taught that Christians should love their neighbor; CUFI preaches that Christians should only care about Israelis, not Palestinians,” says Matos who regards the Christian Zionist ideology as being deeply racist. But Matos sees a different role for Christians in bringing peace to the Holyland after a century of conflict. “Instead of cheerleading for one side, Christians should love both their Israeli and Palestinian neighbors and be peacemakers, not part of the problem.”
The Carolina Peace Resource Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 1981 in Columbia, SC to promote peace through education, action and advocacy.