Tuesday, April 26, 2011

We know who you are based upon with whom you surround yourself

President Obama Chose To Worship On Easter At A Church That Hosted A Palestinian Hate-Israel Conference

Joseph Klein

President Obama and the first family attended Easter services at the Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. As the mainstream press made sure to point out, this church was founded in 1863 by freed slaves.

MSNBC proclaimed:

Obama attends Easter service at historic church: The first family enters Shiloh Baptist Church to a round of applause

It would be such a heart-warming picture of religious devotion except that the mainstream press neglected to mention a couple of things about the church which Obama chose for his Easter worship. The Shiloh Baptist Church hosted an anti-Israel hate fest in 2009 at the same time as an associate minister of the church, Adam Russell Taylor, was serving as an Obama administration White House Fellow in the Office of Cabinet Affairs, Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs. Why did Shiloh Baptist Church’s associate minister Taylor win one of only fifteen coveted fellowship positions at the White House? Perhaps because he just happened to be the Senior Political Director of the far Left ministry Sojourners run by Obama’s spiritual advisor Jim Wallis when he was tapped by the Obama White House for the prestigious fellowship. Perhaps Taylor’s appointment was also payback for the kind things he had to say about Obama’s controversial Chicago pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, during the height of the bruhaha over Obama’s twenty year association with Wright’s Trinity Church.

Taylor said that while he did not agree with every single word Wright had ever uttered,

I still vehemently defend the prophetic tradition that Rev. Wright has advanced over the course of 36 years of ministry.

In October of 2009, while Taylor was serving in the Shiloh Baptist Church and as an intern in the Obama administration, the church hosted a hate Israel conference sponsored by a radicalized Palestinian Christian liberation theology group that called the establishment of Israel “The Catastrophe” (Nakba) and has openly questioned Israel’s right to exist.

The group is known as Friends of Sabeel, which has spewed anti-Israel propaganda in both the United States and Europe since its founding in 1989. It has chapters in the United States and runs conferences in churches such as Shiloh Baptist Church to support the work of the Jerusalem-based Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center. Among other things, they have helped spearhead the divestment campaign against Israel in churches receptive to the anti-Israel, Palestinian victimhood message.

The dinner speaker at Shiloh Baptist Church’s 2009 hate Israel conference was Rev. Naim Ateek, President and Director of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center. It must be a small world since Obama’s spiritual advisor Jim Wallis is a great admirer of Ateek, whom he has reportedly referred to as “Palestine’s Desmond Tutu.” That makes sense since Tutu also hates Israel.

It’s too bad that Ateek was not present at this year’s Easter service at Shiloh, attended by President Obama. Ateek would have then been able to repeat a past Easter season sermon of his:

In this season of Lent, it seems to many of us that Jesus is on the cross again with thousands of crucified Palestinians around him. It only takes people of insight to see the hundreds of thousands of crosses throughout the land, Palestinian men, women, and children being crucified. Palestine has become one huge [G]olgotha. The Israeli government crucifixion system is operating daily. Palestine has become the place of the skull.

But I digress. Let’s return to the 2009 Shiloh Baptist Church’s Palestine conference where Israel’s “crimes” against the Palestinians dominated the agenda and any talk of the persecution of Christians by Muslims or the terrorist violence against Israel were taboo. The guest list represented a who’s who of Israel bashers.

The Opening Plenary remarks at the conference were delivered in the Shiloh Baptist church sanctuary by Dr. Richard Falk, UN Special Rappporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Plenary Territories, who has compared Israeli policies with regard to the Palestinians to the Nazi Germany record of collective punishment.

Guest panelists included Phyllis Bennis, who hates America as well as Israel. She has recently linked “Islamophobia” to

American exceptionalism, racism and America first-ism

And she has identified Israel with

colonialism, violations of international law, crimes of aggression

There was also Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the Electronic Intifada, and author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Abunimeh’s idea of a bold solution is one nation shared by the Palestinian and Jewish people – a sure-fire way to destroy the Jewish homeland.

Abunimah has met Obama several times and was impressed with Obama’s skepticism towards Israel. Abunimah said in March 2007:

Over the years since I first saw Obama speak, I met him about half a dozen times, often at Palestinian and Arab-American community events in Chicago including a May 1998 community fundraiser at which Edward Said was the keynote speaker. In 2000, when Obama unsuccessfully ran for Congress I heard him speak at a campaign fundraiser hosted by a University of Chicago professor [Khalidi]….”That’s where I had a chance to really talk to him. It was an intimate setting. He convinced me he was very aware of the issues [and] critical of U.S. bias toward Israel and lack of sensitivity to Arabs…. He was very supportive of U.S. pressure on Israel.

And weren’t the Israel haters from the Friends of Sabeel lucky to also have their conference graced by Nadia Hijab, Senior Fellow, Institute of Palestine Studies in Washington, D.C., who has accused Israel of “genocide.” Before President Obama took office, she advised in a letter to the Washington Post how the new administration must “reverse” Israel’s “settlement enterprise.” The Obama administration has been trying to do just that ever since.

Finally, it would be a shame not to mention Tom Getman, who moderated one of the panels at the conference. Getman is a board member at Sojourners and served as an advisory board member of Sabeel. This self-described Palestinian advocate questioned why Israel refers to itself as “a Jewish state.” He wondered aloud to the conference participants why the United States would tolerate a Jewish state of Israel when it does not approve of “theocratic states” elsewhere in the Middle East.

To sum up, President Obama chose to worship this Easter at a church where his Jeremiah Wright-admiring White House intern, whom had just previously served as Senior Political Director for Obama’s spiritual advisor’s left-wing organization Sojourners, is an associate minister.

Given the Obama administration’s close association with Shiloh Baptist Church’s associate minister, there was no way Obama could have been unaware that the same church hosting him and the first family this Easter had hosted a pro-Palestinian conference less than two years ago to delegitimize Israel.

Joseph Klein is the author of a recent book entitled Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations and Radical Islam

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