GRAFTON, Mass. — UCC Clergy for a Just Middle East Peace is questioning the latest action from the United Church of Christ Global Ministries on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict which ignores the daily challenges Israel faces in a region overwhelmed by ethnic, religious and national violence and simplistically and unrealistically calls for a review of U.S. aid to Israel.
“A good deal of Global Ministries’ time is spent on an almost obsessive criticism of Israel, and very little or none on finding an actual solution to a serious geopolitical conflict,” says Rev. Jane Willan, UCC Clergy For A Just Middle East Peace Steering Committee member. “We should all be questioning that. I just do not believe our approach to what many of us realize is truly a complex conflict is productive or Gospel driven.”
“As messengers of the Gospel it is natural for us to identify with and try to champion the weaker side,” adds Rev. Joanne Marchetto, also a Steering Committee Member. “But if we continue to do this in a reflexive, unthinking way, or in a way that denies the factual and historic realities and complexities of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, then we just become part of the problem.”
“The United Church of Christ needs to present a more realistic perspective than Global Ministries has offered us,” adds Rev. Willan. “Even if blaming the parties were helpful, surely Israel is not the only party to blame in this conflict. We also need to see some suggestions of productive steps that can be taken towards a peace agreement which will end the occupation. Simply using whatever means are available to continually criticize, blame and condemn Israel is not a legitimate struggle for justice.”
UCC Clergy for a Just Middle East Peace invites all concerned members of the Church to join them in seeking a more balanced, nuanced and helpful approach to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Visit us at middleeastpeace.