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October 07, 2012: Letter from Church Leaders Represents New Escalation in Anti-Israel Activity

02:32 PM Oct 07, 2012

Letter from Church Leaders Represents New Escalation in Anti-Israel Activity

A letter to Congress sent by leaders of several church denominations and organizations reveals their core antipathy to Israel and a cynical manipulation of facts to question American support for Israel including foreign aid.  The letter calls for a Congressional inquiry into U.S. foreign aid to Israel. Among the signatories were leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, United Methodist Church, United Church of Christ, and the National Council of Churches.  
“We reject the call to reevaluate foreign aid to Israel – and we continue to support targeted aid to Palestinians.  Foreign aid remains a vital instrument,” said JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow. “U.S. aid to Israel is not ‘unconditional,’ as the letter claims. Foreign aid  reflects the shared values of America and Israel, furthers our  goals for peace and is vital to advance the security of both peoples”
“The singling out of Israel by the signatories is disappointing but not surprising,” said JCPA Chair Larry Gold. “Although the letter acknowledges that Palestinians share some responsibility for the conflict, there is no call for investigation of Palestinian intransigence. It is telling that the call for action regarding human rights in other parts of the world is reduced to a mere footnote.
“The letter could also have highlighted the relentless attacks on Christians throughout the Middle East, including the brutal oppression of Coptic Christians or just as easily have called for a suspension of aid to Palestinians until the Palestinian Authority take steps such as returning to the negotiating table.  That would have been equally unhelpful but might have mitigated the obvious conclusion that the signatories bear a deep and singular antipathy for Israel.”
“Most Americans, including most Christians support a strong U.S. Israel relationship and recognize that foreign aid is a wise American investment. This is also the view of the leaders of both parties in both houses of Congress and both candidates for president,” said Gutow. “Those signatories to this letter are out of sync with these mainstream values.”  
This summer, more than 1,500 American rabbis and tens of thousands of other Jews signed a letter to the Presbyterian and Methodist churches urging a rejection of divisive measures and reaching out our hand as partners for peace.  

“We eagerly await the day when these church leaders step away from their troubling fixation on hurting Israel and adopt an approach to peacemaking that fosters reconciliation rather than conflict,” said Gutow.

JCPA, the public affairs arm of the organized Jewish community, serves as the national coordinating and advisory body for the 14 national and 125 local agencies comprising the field of Jewish community relations.

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