As a resource to commissioners at the last several Presbyterian general assemblies, Presbyterians for Middle East Peace invited a number of distinguished speakers to address commissioners on Middle East Peacemaking issues. In 2008, Dennis Ross, who is presently President Barack Obama’s special advisor on the Middle East, provided the assembly his insights on the Middle East via videoconference. While almost three years have past, his observations remain relevant and insightful.
Prior to the 219th GA in 2010, Presbyterian Outlook hosted a debate in Webinar format on Middle East issues, with. Rev. Dr. John Wimberly and Rev. Ron Shive presenting their viewpoints on Middle East peacemaking. The webinar is available in this video archive.
Also for the 219th GA, Jim Woolsey, a Presbyterian with a distinguished record of public service, addressed the assembly via videotape. He has a deep understanding of the challenges to peace in the Middle East, and provides guidance on furthering, not hindering, the peace process. His comments also remain timely and relevant.
Finally, Presbyterians for Middle East Peace hosted a breakfast at the 219th GA with three distinguished speakers: Rev. Dr. Byron Schaefer, Rev. Dr. Katherine Henderson, and Rachel Lerner, Vice President of J Street, a Jewish American organization advocating a peaceful two-state solution. All three speakers provided valuable perspective to the commissioners attending the breakfast, and their comment. remain quite relevant today.
All of the speakers addressed both broad issues and a report presented to the 219th General Assembly, the Middle East Study Committee (MESC) report. The MESC report was presented to the Assembly by it’s authors with a formal request for endorsement by the Assembly. PFMEP and all of our guest speakers opposed the endorsement of this document. The Assembly rejected the request for endorsement, instead choosing to “receive” the MESC report as the views of it’s authors, not of the Presbyterian Church. We hope you enjoy the videos.