At the end of June, during the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s biennial General Assembly this summer, church leaders will consider a report that calls for divestment from three companies for their sales to Israel.  Please join us in calling on Presbyterians to return to their commitment to positive outcomes and abandon the path to divestment, a path that will not foster reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians and that will only poison the well for positive interfaith relations between the Jewish and Presbyterian communities.

In the coming days, we will send the letter below to Presbyterian leaders and urge the PCUSA to join us in offering our hands as partners in peacemaking, including positive programs that will help foster a two-state solution, providing each people–-the Palestinian people and the Jewish people--a viable nation and the opportunity to live prosperously, independently, securely, and peacefully, side-by-side.

Please complete the form below to add your signature to this letter. 

June 2012

Dear Friends,

We, the undersigned tens of thousands of American Jews and supporters of peace in the Middle East join 1300 rabbis from throughout our country to reach out in hope to our Presbyterian friends and neighbors. We have close relationships, deeply treasured and shaped over many years. We are partners on many social issues including fostering peace between Israelis and Palestinians. We ask you to stand shoulder to shoulder with us in rejecting the counterproductive proposal to selectively divest from certain companies whose products are used by Israel. We feel honored in our hope by the Methodist General Assembly which, after much forethought and debate, decided to oppose such divestment by a 2-1 margin.

These are our feelings. Any place in which a single human being suffers, we all suffer. We know that your concern for the Palestinian people, some of whom are your Christian sisters and brothers, comes from a deep commitment to the alleviation of human pain. There is suffering enough in the land of our common inheritance on both sides of the conflict. A just solution demands peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians. We share goals of a just and lasting peace, an end to affliction, a two-state solution, and the protection of the dignity and security of all in the Holy Land. We must marshal our efforts together to bring about this peace.

We understand and respect your calling to invest in a morally responsible manner. A policy of divestment to pressure Israel, however, runs counter to these goals. Such a one-sided approach damages the relationship between Jews and Christians that has been nurtured for decades. It promotes a lopsided assessment of the causes of and solutions to the conflict, disregarding the complex history and geopolitics. Furthermore, it shamefully paints Israel as a pariah nation, solely responsible for frustrating peace.

For Jews, the use of economic leverages against the Jewish state is fraught with inescapable associations. They resonate in the Jewish consciousness with historic boycotts against Jewish companies and the State of Israel. They are experienced by Jews as part of a pattern of singling out Jews for attack. To determine and continue policies that knowingly tap into the deepest fears and pain of another is, in our tradition, a serious failure of relationship.

Divestment, and the specious Apartheid terminology that frequently accompanies it, polarizes people and communities so that the policy of divestment, and not peace, becomes the central issue. Divestment will undermine the ability of many Israelis to imagine peace. Decades of terrorism and rejection have left Israelis feeling threatened and isolated. Many of the major proponents of divestment do not support Israel’s right to exist – thus deepening this fear. Divestment as a policy is more likely to encourage those with more extreme aims than to foster reconciliation. Simply put, the bitter debate over divestment drowns out the real conversation about how to end the conflict.

At a time when politics in general have become so divisive, here and abroad, our efforts should be aimed toward reconciliation. Together and independently, Christians, Jews, and Muslims must give the parties to the conflict the confidence they need to move toward peace. There are many meaningful coexistence programs that are necessary to foster a generation of Israelis and Palestinians that will work and live side-by-side – moving past the teaching of hate and the resort to violence. As leaders of the Jewish and Protestant communities we need to deepen our understandings of the multiple narratives in the region.

We recognize the urgency of these efforts and the frustration on all sides with achieving our lofty goals. Our collective voices can play an instrumental role, working with the American government and others, to help Israeli, Palestinian, and other Middle Eastern leaders to prevent violence and attacks on civilians, support Palestinian state-building and economic development, promote positive investment opportunities, provide humanitarian aid through appropriate channels, protect existing agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and, most importantly, encourage a resumption of negotiations among the parties toward a two-state agreement that will help bring about peace, which is at the core of our traditions. We recommit to such efforts, independent of any other matter.

Yet quite honestly, were American Christian denominations to indict only Jews and Israel for the conflict with the Palestinians, they would justify the violence perpetrated against Israeli civilians – including children – as the unfortunate result of Israel’s unilateral guilt. In other words, Israeli victims would be responsible for their own suffering. Frankly, such a representation is anything but an expression of friendship and common purpose, and it would replace the closeness and comfort the Jewish community feels in existing relationships with distance, distrust, and disappointment.

The Scriptures that bind us reveal that G-d created all of us in the divine image - human dignity and equality is a core value of Jewish and Christian traditions. Further, our traditions call upon us to be peacemakers. In Hebrew, the word Shalom doesn't just mean "peace" but wholeness and completeness. Peace comes about by our labors to complete the work of creation. We must work towards the day when every human is granted the dignity, security, and beneficence that is the promise of the created universe.
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1-25 of 22813 signatures
Number Date Name Location
22813 Sat Jan 16 15:36:35 EST 2016 Edith Klatt Bremerton, WA
22812 Sat Feb 21 14:13:18 EST 2015 Judith Brickman1 Walnut Creek, CA
22811 Sat Feb 21 12:13:26 EST 2015 Robert Dietrich Richmond, CA
22810 Sat Feb 21 11:51:23 EST 2015 Selma Soss Walnut Creek, CA
22809 Thu Jul 24 16:55:06 EDT 2014 Danielle Sanchez Miami, FL
22808 Sat May 17 18:18:40 EDT 2014 Lester Penn Manchester, NJ
22807 Mon May 12 14:14:03 EDT 2014 Haya Luftig New York, NY
22806 Mon May 12 14:13:27 EDT 2014 Haya Luftig New York, NY
22805 Mon May 12 12:21:33 EDT 2014 Haya Luftig New York, NY
22804 Mon Jan 06 21:45:22 EST 2014 joe mogel worcester, MA
22803 Thu Dec 26 09:04:14 EST 2013 Samuel Shanes Highland Park, IL
22802 Thu Sep 12 15:38:16 EDT 2013 Susan Lazaroff Milford, PA
22801 Mon Feb 04 13:51:52 EST 2013 joshua Heffron NYC, NY
22800 Sat Feb 02 22:50:51 EST 2013 jenny Gefen mississauga, OH
22799 Wed Jan 09 11:27:58 EST 2013 Roy Edenson Richardson, TX
22798 Wed Jan 09 11:02:59 EST 2013 Roy Edenson Richardson, TX
22797 Sun Dec 23 22:58:03 EST 2012 forest emerson clarston, WA
22796 Wed Nov 28 10:09:38 EST 2012 Kyrios Cj Ohafia, MO
22795 Wed Nov 21 18:49:16 EST 2012 edith wattenmaker pittsburgh, PA
22794 Fri Nov 09 11:45:14 EST 2012 kaye pine melville, NY
22793 Tue Nov 06 09:53:17 EST 2012 Rochelle Rosenberg Virginia beach, VA
22792 Wed Oct 24 22:52:51 EDT 2012 Lee-Anne Wachtel Toronto, ON
22791 Tue Oct 16 18:50:29 EDT 2012 Fritzi Roth Southfield, MI
22790 Fri Oct 12 23:14:06 EDT 2012 Dr. Howard Rutman Los Angeles, CA
22789 Fri Oct 12 14:44:18 EDT 2012 Lee-Anne Wachtel Thornhill, ON
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