Friday, October 26, 2012

Church leaders' letter to Congress generates support and criticism

Since the distribution of the church leaders' letter to Congress asking for accountability regarding US military aid to Israel a number of groups have joined in support. Others have criticized. Here's a rundown that includes both.

Adam Horowitz wrote for Mondoweiss that the ‘Ecumenical deal’ crumbled as the Christian denominations pressed on US aid to Israel. Mondoweiss is a news website devoted to covering American foreign policy in the Middle East, chiefly from a progressive Jewish perspective.

‘Ecumenical deal’ crumbles as Christian denominations press on US aid to Israel
   "Earlier this week the heads of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, Presbyterian Church (USA), United Methodist Church and 12 other Christian denominations wrote a letter to members of Congress "urging Congress to conduct an investigation into possible human rights and weapon violations by the government of Israel." As Annie Robbins reported the response from American Jewish organizations was swift (the American Jewish Committee for one said it was "outraged") and now the Anti-Defamation League has come out swinging.
   "Haaretz reports that the ADL has withdrawn from a national Jewish-Christian interfaith dialogue in protest over the letter. Abe Foxman explained, "The blatant lack of sensitivity by the Protestant dialogue partners we had been planning to meet with has seriously damaged the foundation for mutual respect.” He also called for other Jewish leaders to boycott the event as well."  [
Go to this link for the full article.] 


Kairos USA jumped in to provide links that allow everyone to contact Members of Congress in support of the church leaders' letter. Here's how to get to the Kairos links. 


The Friends Committee on National Legislation wrote in support of the church leaders' letter.

Here's a bit of Kate Gould's piece:
Unconditional US military aid fuels Israeli-Palestinian violence
    Amidst another week of deadly Israeli-Palestinian violence, fifteen faith leaders representing U.S. churches and faith organizations have called on Congress to condition U.S. military aid to Israel upon Israel’s “compliance with applicable U.S. laws and policies.” These leaders--representing Baptist, Lutheran, Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Orthodox, Quaker and other major Christian groups--agree that unconditional U.S. military assistance to Israel has contributed to “sustaining the conflict and undermining the long-term security interests of both Israelis and Palestinians.” 
    As a Quaker peace lobby that has advocated for Israeli-Palestinian peace for decades in Washington, the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) is proud to be a partner in this effort.  [Go to this link for the full story.]


Ali Abunimah wrote for Electronic Intifada ...

Lobby takes gloves off in assault on Christian leaders who questioned US aid to Israel
   Israel lobby groups are taking the gloves off, with an all out attack on Christian denominational leaders who earlier this month sent a mild letter to Congress asking for an investigation into whether Israel is using US military aid to abuse Palestinian human rights, in violation of US law.

   Today, a coalition of pro-Israel Jewish groups pulled the plug on a planned long-standing “interfaith dialogue” meeting in retaliation for the Christian leaders’ temerity to question US policy of unconditional support for Israel.
   This came as pro-Israel organizations threatened to use their muscle to get Congress to investigate “delegitimizers of Israel.”  [Read the full article here.]


Then Rabbi Alissa Wise and Rabbi Brant Rosen wrote in support of the Christian leaders in the Huffington Post. They are are the co-founders of the Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council. They called the Church leaders' letter "sensitively-worded and a faithful call..."

Rabbis Support Protestant Leaders' Call to End Unconditional Military Aid to Israel
   Last week, a letter was sent to Congress by several prominent American Christian leaders that called on lawmakers to "make U.S. military aid to Israel contingent upon its government's compliance with applicable US laws and policies." While most wouldn't consider it unreasonable for our nation to insist that an aid recipient abide by U.S. laws, a number of Jewish organizations nonetheless chose to attack the letter publicly, all but labeling it anti-Semitic, and pulled out of a planned Christian-Jewish Roundtable. (...)

   As fellow Jewish leaders, we are profoundly disappointed that some in our community have chosen to literally walk away from the table of dialogue. Actions such as these run directly counter to the spirit and mission of interfaith understanding. Indeed, true dialogue does not only occur in the areas in which both parties find agreement, but particularly in those difficult places where there is disagreement and divergence of opinion.  [Please read the rabbis' full commentary here.]

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1 comment:

EAPPI said...

Jewish Groups Leave Interfaith Conference After Protestants Accuse Israel of Human Rights Abuses

By Stoyan Zaimov , Christian Post Reporter