Shuck and Jive

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

IPMN is Doing Its Job

The Israel/Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has recently posted a video on its blog. The six minute film tells the side of Israel's history from the perspective of the Palestinian people.

IPMN was established by the 2004 General Assembly of the PCUSA. This is from their web page:

Established by action of the 2004 General Assembly, the Israel/Palestine Mission Network encourages congregations and presbytery mission committees, task groups and other entities toward specific mission goals that will create currents of wider and deeper involvement with Israel/Palestine. We seek to demonstrate solidarity, educate about the facts on the ground, and change the conditions that erode the humanity of both Israelis and Palestinians, especially those who are living in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza. This network works in close cooperation with ecumenical partners and with the Office for the Middle East, the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, the Presbyterian Washington Office, the Presbyterian UN Office and with other appropriate entities of the General Assembly and General Assembly Council.

The Israel/Palestine Mission Network is an opportunity for Presbyterians throughout the country and at all levels of the church to coordinate ongoing efforts and discover new ones. Ultimately, we aim to support our church partners in Palestine to:
  • Strengthen Christian social institutions
  • Create jobs and promote economic development
  • Maintain schools and hospitals
  • Enable affordable and safe housing for Palestine
We unite our efforts through this Network, praying for the Holy Spirit's bold guidance in our work for peace and justice. Please continue to view our web site, learn more about our activities, and how you might get involved.
They do important work.

Their work is not without controversy. Viola Larson has spent a few blog posts criticizing the film and advocating its removal from the IPMN's website.

Providing criticism is a good thing. We should engage in it. There are legitimate criticisms of this film. There are legitimate grievances voiced in this film as well.

Ms. Larson is not satisfied with voicing her opinion. She wants censorship. She has decided what everyone should be able to watch and not to watch. She has been busily writing emails trying to get traction for her cause.

I decided to post the film here. I appreciate the IPMN allowing this voice to be heard. Controversy is a sign that the IPMN is doing its job. One of the statements in our most recent confession reads:

In a broken and fearful world
the Spirit gives us courage
to pray without ceasing,
to witness among all peoples to Christ as Lord and Savior,
to unmask idolatries in Church and culture,
to hear the voices of peoples long silenced,
and to work with others for justice, freedom, and peace.
This is what was posted on the youtube page regarding this video:
I am Israel. Written by Hashem Said on Feb.25.2002 . Video made by Jihane Al Quds on Sept.4.2009. Hashem Said is an officer in the UW Palestinian student group Hayaat.


  1. Thanks John.

    This is a fantastic post and I will link to it immediately at 2 of my blogs and at FB & Twitter.

    I especially liked your reminder about what one of our confessions says:

    "... to hear the voices of peoples long silenced,
    and to work with others for justice, freedom, and peace."

    We need to hear and respond to anger and frustration and despair by both Palestinians and Israelis, by Jews and Arabs. Indeed we need to hear and respond to the cries of all human beings.

    John A Wilde
    Whitesboro NY
    + + "The day will come when, after harnessing space, the winds, the tides and gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, humankind will have discovered fire." -- Teilhard de Chardin

  2. Thanks John for calling my attention to it and for speaking out.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. It appears that Viola got her way. The IPMN removed the video.

  5. Tried to help them, but if they want to give in to the busybodies that is their call.

  6. I just posted the following comment on that page:

    I can understand and even appreciate the decision to remove the video. The edge of anger was hard to take and it was clearly unbalanced. However, people in the USA need to hear that anger and need to hear that pain. I appreciate Barb Shuck's comment and I am going to put it on my blog. She has been there and has seen and felt the pain. What Israel is doing with huge support from our government is wrong, horribly wrong. The video is an understandable reaction to the nightmare Barb describes. And she is only describing the little piece of it that she saw.

    The charge of "anti-Semitism" is all too freely thrown about these days and should not be used in the context of this kind of outrageous oppression against the Palestinians. I am sick of hearing the label of "anti-Semitic" aimed so often and so erroneously at all of us advocing long overdue justice for the Palestinians.

    I really do believe that the video is not anti-Semitic but a legitimate cry for help and for justice that we need to hear and feel.

    You can see the video at

    John A Wilde
    Whitesboro NY
    love, john + + "Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice." -- Martin Luther King, Jr. (the speech containing this famous quote is found at

  7. One thing people need to understand is the term "Semite". It's meaning is not as narrow as people think, and does not mean solely "Israeli Jew", as so often is assumed. After all, Palestinians are Semites, too. They also happen to be Israelis, for now.

    This assumption is part of the history of mistreatment of Palestinian and Arab Israelis, and, I am sure, adds to their anger.

  8. Thanks John.

    I really do believe that the video is not anti-Semitic but a legitimate cry for help and for justice that we need to hear and feel.

    I agree. I also agree with Barb Shuck's (no relation) comment.

    I think the IPMN should have stood their ground, however, for the reason above and for the reason that Viola shouldn't be the one to dictate what is and what is not good for everyone. She has done this type of thing many times on more than one issue.