Israelis light candles near the site of a Palestinian shooting attack in Tel Aviv, Israel, June 9, 2016. RNS Photo/Courtesy of Baz Ratner, Reuters

Christian Broadcasting Network links Tel Aviv attack to BDS

By  Emily McFarlan Miller, Religion News Service
  • June 10, 2016

The Christian Broadcasting Network said Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions activists share blame for the shooting that killed four Israelis in Tel Aviv, saying in a statement condemning the attack that the movement encourages “violent anti-semitism.”

Two Palestinian gunmen opened fire Wednesday (June 8) in a trendy shopping and dining market, killing two women and two men and wounding six others. It was the deadliest single incident in Israel since an attack on a Jerusalem synagogue in November 2014 killed five people.

CBN, the broadcasting organization launched by televangelist Pat Robertson, issued a statement Thursday condemning the violence, mourning the deaths of those who were killed and saying it stands with Israel.

It also linked the shooting to the movement that encourages boycotts, divestment and sanctions as a way to pressure Israel to give up territories it occupied in the 1967 war.

“This latest terrorist attack is a direct result of incitement within the Palestinian community in the West Bank and points to the encouragement of violent anti-semitism by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement,” the statement said.

BDS activists describe their movement as a peaceful effort, inspired by the anti-apartheid campaigns against South Africa.

The CBN statement comes as mainline Protestant denominations have increasingly been asked to consider sanctions put forward by BDS activists, with mixed results.

The United Church of Christ in 2015 and the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 2014 both voted to divest from companies they consider complicit in the occupation. By contrast, the Episcopal Church has rejected such efforts, and the United Methodist Church General Conference recently recommended the denomination cut ties with a group founded to end the Israeli occupation.

“Every act of aggression against the Jewish people will only fortify our resolve to support their right to have a Jewish State in the land of their forefathers,” CBN said in its statement.

The gunmen in Wednesday’s shooting came from near Hebron, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups have praised it.

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