TORONTO (JTA) — The head of the Presbyterian Church in Canada has blamed "Jewish and Zionist lobbies" for Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians.
Addressing a noon-hour reflection at a Toronto church this month, the Rev. Rick Horst, national moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, said "Palestinians are daily harassed and abused and treated with indignities that are simply not allowable under international law, yet it continues to persist because of frankly, the power of the Jewish and Zionist lobbies both in America and frankly, all around the world, including Canada."
Horst was reporting on his recent trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories, a response to a 2009 document, "Kairos Palestine," which was a plea from Palestinian Christians to their co-faithful in the West to help end the Israeli occupation.
Blaming Zionist and Jewish lobbies in the West for injustices against the Palestinians is a "common anti-Semitic canard," Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center said on its website.
In his remarks, Horst said "Palestinians are in fact not a terrorist nation but a terrorized nation." He added that "too many uncritical, simplistic, level Christians around the world believe that Israel’s claim as God’s chosen people allows it to do virtually anything under the guise of security in Israel/Palestine to protect their land."
The Presbyterian Church in Canada is "allowing itself to be a vehicle of anti-Semitism and the enabling of terrorism is something to be condemned in the strongest terms," said the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center in a statement.
Canada’s 2001 census found 409,830 members of the Presbyterian Church in the country.