NEW YORK (AP) — Major American Jewish organizations said Wednesday they have cancelled talks with liberal Protestant leaders after the churches sought an investigation of US military aid to Israel.The American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, and Conservative and Reform Jewish movements are among those withdrawing from the national Christian-Jewish Roundtable. The dialogue group was founded in 2004 to ease tensions over escalating church protests against Israeli policy in the Palestinian territories.
The Jewish groups announced their decision in response to a request by several mainline Protestant leaders for Congress to re-evaluate US military aid to the Jewish state. The church leaders said in an Oct. 5 letter to Congress that Israel was guilty of widespread human rights violations against Palestinians that violated US legal standards for recipients of military aid.
Rabbi Steven Wernick, chief executive of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism called the claims “repugnant, regrettable and morally misguided.” The American Jewish Committee, a co-founder of the dialogue group, has requested a meeting with senior church leaders to “determine a more positive path forward.”
The church leaders seeking the congressional hearings represent some of the largest mainline Protestant groups in the United States. They include Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson, head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Gradye Parsons, a top executive of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.); Rosemarie Wenner, president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops; and Peg Birk, leader of the National Council of Churches.
In the letter to Congress, the Christian leaders said both Israelis and Palestinians share responsibility for the conflict in the region, and church leaders acknowledged the suffering of both groups. But the leaders said, “we have also witnessed widespread Israeli human rights violations committed against Palestinians.”
Arguing that US military aid to Israel was “sustaining the conflict and undermining the long-term security interests of both Israelis and Palestinians,” church leaders said Congress should investigate whether Israel has violated the human rights standards set by the Foreign Assistance Act and the Arms Export Control Act.
The Christian-Jewish Roundtable was scheduled to meet next Monday. Tony Kireopoulos, an interfaith leader for the New York-based National Council of Churches, said Wednesday that the organizations were “disappointed that the meeting wasn’t going forward” and they hoped to restart the dialogue.
The US Episcopal Church, also a member of the interreligious dialogue, didn’t endorse the Protestant statement to Congress. Alexander Baumgarten, the Episcopal public policy director, said the request for congressional hearings was not in line with Episcopal policy.
US Jews cancel talks with Protestants over Israel | Churches ask government to rethink military aid to Jewish stateOctober 18, 2012
(thejewishchronicle.net)What isn’t as well known is this: The church voted overwhelmingly, Friday, July 6, one day after the divestment debate, in favor of a resolution boycotting “all Israeli products coming from the occupied Palestinian Territories” and for “all nations” to prohibit settlement imports.
The resolution, which the G.A. passed by a 457-180 vote, singles out Ahava, a skin care company, and the Hadiklaim Israel Date Growers, which both have factories in West Bank settlements.(more)
I fail to understand why any Jews trust any church. It isn’t like as if the history of the church were showing us any love.
The U.S. Presbyterian Church is on the verge of a blunder that would severely damage interfaith harmony. Its 3 million lay members must call the hierarchy to its senses.
A nine-member special committee of the religious denomination is set to release a report on the Middle East that takes moral equivalence to dangerous new heights – and embraces parts of a manifesto by Christian Palestinians who call for an end to Israel as a Jewish state.
The document has yet to be published, but the church news service revealed it regurgitates the most specious anti-Israel canards. It even puts a footnote on the phrase “the right of Israel to exist.”
It reads: “The phrase ‘the right of Israel to exist’ is a source of pain for some members of our study committee who are in solidarity with Palestinians, who feel that the creation of the state of Israel has denied them their inalienable human rights.”
How to stop Israel’s sins, in the mind of the Presbyterian special committee?
The U.S. ought to employ “the strategic use of influence and the withholding of financial and military aid in order to enforce Israel’s compliance with international law and peacemaking efforts.” Meaning tighten the screws on an ally until it stops defending itself from terrorism.
No similar tactics are recommended against anyone else in the region. Not against Hamas, which fires rockets at Israeli homes and schools. Not against Iran, which pursues nukes and dreams of erasing Israel. Not against Hezbollah.
As for the manifesto by Christian Palestinians known as Kairos Palestine, the news service said the panel endorsed its “emphasis on hope, love, nonviolence and reconciliation.” Saying nothing of how the manifesto ridicules the notion of Palestinian terrorism by putting quotation marks on the word. For example: “The roots of ‘terrorism’ are in the human injustice committed and in the evil of the occupation. These must be removed if there be a sincere intention to remove ‘terrorism.'”
Most perniciously, Kairos Palestine asserts that Israel itself is an error on the map: “Trying to make the state a religious state, Jewish or Islamic, suffocates the state … and transforms it into a state that practices discrimination and exclusion, preferring one citizen over another.”
Those are the seeds of horrid divisiveness, not coexistence. Presbyterians – and everyone of sincere faith – should reject them.