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Which Matters Most, AIPAC's Power, or Rachel Corrie's Death?

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The partial list of the American power elite invited by AIPAC to speak during its March 4-6 conference, includes President Barack Obama.

From the US Congress, invited speakers include Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), and Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA).

Senator Levin, a Democrat, is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services; Senator Joseph Lieberman, an Independent who votes with the Democrats,  is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; Senator Johnny Isakson, is a Republican from Georgia.

Among media notables invited to speak are CNN contributor and former advisor to President Bill Clinton, Paul Begala, Democratic Party strategist Donna Brazile, Fox News contributor Liz Cheney, and Jane Harman, former member of Congress from California, now President of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Cheney is the daughter of former Vice-President Dick Cheney. Harman, since the death of her husband, is an owner of Newsweek magazine. She is a longtime AIPAC loyalist.

From a political power standpoint, that is a lot of firepower. Which brings us to the question, which matters most, AIPAC's political power or Rachel Corrie's witness for peace?

Two Protestant denominations will soon face that question in a most pragmatic and public fashion. The United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church, USA, will hold national decision-making meetings, starting in April and June.

At those meetings, delegates representing United Methodists and Presbyterians will be asked to instruct their leadership to divest or not divest their denominational funds from corporations that are currently supporting Israel's occupation of the Palestinian population.

It is times like this, for these two church bodies, when the rubber really hits the road. To be specific, decision time for AIPAC or for Rachel Corrie, will come for United Methodist General Conference delegates, between April 24 and May 4, in Tampa, Florida, and for the Presbyterian Church, USA, General Assembly delegates, in Pittsburgh, PA, from June 30 to July 7.

The 2012 United Methodist conference was originally scheduled for Richmond, Virginia, until it was discovered that Richmond violated a United Methodist church policy "regarding meeting in cities that are home to professional sports teams with Native American names."

According to the United Methodist press office:

"At the time of the initial selection, commission members were unaware that Richmond is home to the Richmond Braves, a minor league baseball team affiliated with the Atlanta Braves."

These United Methodists have their standards, which they adhere to closely, John Wesley would expect no less. This could portend something about how they will vote between April 25 and May 4, depending, perhaps, on whether they go with their yin or their yang.

The Presbyterian Church USA, General Assembly in Pittsburg, PA, will consider resolutions on divestment from corporations involved in Israel's occupation.

Like the United Methodists, the Presbyterians will target three specific corporations, Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions and Hewlett-Packard.

The Presbyterians will be asked to vote for or against a resolution instructing the denomination to stop investing in the three companies "until they have ceased profiting from non-peaceful activities in Israel-Palestine."

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http://wallwritings.wordpress.com/

James Wall is currently a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois. From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine. Many sources have influenced Jim's writings over (more...)
 
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