Porter Speakman’s bizarre attack on Calev Myers

Porter Speakman organised the antisemitic Christ at the Checkpoint 2012 conference, at which PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad was praised by the conference for giving evangelicals “equal rights”, when actually they do not have equal rights.

When pressed on this, Speakman conceded that actually,

Unlike traditional churches like the Greek Orthodox and Catholics, Evangelical churches in the Palestinian Territories are not officially recognized and therefore things like marriage documents are not considered legitimate by government authorities. They have the freedom to worship, but are not “official.”

Speakman then claimed,

The recognition does not depend entirely on the PA, and the input of the churches already recognized is as equally important. In addition, the congregational nature of the Evangelical churches and the absence of a recognized hierarchy complicate things.

Speakman shared out the blame for the subordinate status of Palestinian evangelicals, taking the blame off the PA to an extent.

Now Speakman has published an attack on Israeli lawyer Calev Myers of the Jerusalem Institute for Justice, for calling on the EU to hold the PA accountable for human rights abuses it oversees.

Speakman dismisses Myers as a “pro-Israel supporter”, and juxtaposes Myers’ actions with the actions of the Israeli government:

Two ironic stories over the weekend dealing with how the Israeli government deals with human rights investigations on itself and how pro-Israel supporters praise others for looking into the PA’s record. Calev Myers, of the Jerusalem Institute of Justice traveled to Brussels on Thursday to hand the European Union a report urging future aid be based on the Palestinian Authority improving the human rights of Palestinians […]

It won’t surprise you to learn, that Porter Speakman published this piece on the antisemitic Mondoweiss site.

Recently, Mondoweiss claimed the ADL’s campaigning against the Hitler-admiring antisemite Gilad Atzmon was “outrageous”, casting Atzmon as “truly controversial”, and “an outspoken critic of the lobby and all forms of Zionism”. Mondoweiss founder Philip Weiss has let Gilad Atzmon interview him about Jewish identity. Mondoweiss even urges you to see if someone has a Jewish name before considering whether to take their opinions seriously.

So why has Speakman chosen to attack Myers over his actions?

Calev Myers is a legal representative of religious minorities in Israel, and in this role his group, the Jerusalem Institute for Justice, has petitioned the Attorney General of Israel to disband Yad L’Achim. If you look at the goals of Myers’ organisation, you will read:

The Declaration of the State of Israel, signed in 1948, emphasizes freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture. However, many institutions in Israeli society do not support our forefathers’ commitment to protecting citizens’ rights and are guided instead by a blind devotion to maintaining an intolerant and religiously homogeneous environment. We at the Jerusalem Institute of Justice believe that a Jewish and democratic state is not a self-contradiction, but rather an attainable reality. Rendering its democratic values within the justice system, Israel has the power to reinforce tolerance, truth, ethics, and morality, which serve to strengthen the fiber of the nation. The Jerusalem Institute of Justice aims to create a better Israel for all citizens by advancing civil rights, freedom of religion and social justice. We believe that by strengthening Israel’s democracy, we are strengthening the legitimacy of Israel’s existence as a Jewish state

Myers admits that many Israeli institutions are far from ideal in providing religious equality and freedom for all – including Israeli Messianics and evangelicals. However, Myers is actively working to change this situation, via his legal challenges and projects.

Contrast this, with Porter Speakman’s deference to the PA in his recent articles and at Christ at the Checkpoint.

Yet Speakman does not acknowledge Myers’ criticisms of Israeli policies, instead portraying the exact opposite image of Myers as a blinkered nationalist.

Really, what possible lesson could Porter Speakman teach Calev Myers?

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