The Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the Israel Action Network issued the following statement today in response to the United Church of Christ’s General Synod approval of a “deeply skewed” resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that calls for boycott and divestment.
The United Church of Christ (UCC) decision today (June 30, 2015) to recommend divestment from companies that sell defense equipment to Israel is deeply disturbing. Sadly, however, we are not surprised. In recent years, the UCC has been part of a chorus of churches that pin sole responsibility for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on just one side - Israel. While neither side is blameless in the conflict, a position that assigns exclusive accountability for the continuation of the conflict to the Jewish state is deeply skewed and raises troubling questions.
The newly elected General Minister and President of the UCC correctly acknowledged that the recently taken divestment action not only will cause deep pain but may also harm partnerships that are necessary to advance the cause of justice in the Middle East and beyond. We are saddened that the majority of delegates to this convention aligned with a sliver of the Jewish community who too often view the world through an anti-Israel prism. There should be no misunderstanding that such engagement does not represent authentic dialogue with the Jewish community. We take note that most members of the UCC were unaware of the divestment vote and many voices at the Synod called for further and broader study. We are heartened that many UCC colleagues at the local level remain in earnest conversation with Jewish colleagues in order to develop a nuanced understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
This UCC General Assembly Synod decision occurs in the face of relative silence to the humanitarian catastrophe currently facing Christians and other minorities in many other Middle East countries as well. The resolutions evidence a lack of recognition of the steps Israel takes to protect religious minorities in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. Israel is the only country in the region with a growing indigenous Christian population.
Despite this distressing decision, we are confident that many Christians and Jews in communities across the country will reject this divisive move in favor of a more constructive path that supports peace and reconciliation through a negotiated two-state solution, and rejects delegitimization and divestment.
The Israel Action Network (IAN) is a strategic initiative of The Jewish Federations of North America, in partnership with the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), created to counter the assault on Israel’s legitimacy and proactively lead the conversation about the Jewish, democratic state of Israel.
JCPA, the public affairs arm of the organized Jewish community, serves as the national coordinating and advisory body for the 16 national and 125 local agencies comprising the field of Jewish community relations.