Revelations: Quick Takes on Top News

Jewish agencies condemn church groups' resolution on Israel

(RNS) Two major Jewish advocacy groups denounced as one-sided and unfair a resolution by the World Council of Churches and the National Council of Churches  urging Israel to withdraw from territories it occupies.

The American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League characterized the resolution as “profoundly” disappointing.

“What could have been a powerful plea for peacemaking turned reflexively into a familiar and factually feeble denunciation of Israel from two groups with a long history of anti-Israel bias,” the American Jewish Committee said on its website.

On Wednesday (Sept. 14), the WCC and the NCC passed a statement calling for an end to the occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, saying peace cannot be established until Israel does so. In fact, Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005.

WCC General Secretary Olav Fykse Tveit and NCC General Secretary and President Jim Winkler said, “We are also well aware that Israel is the occupying force and has commanding power over the people of Palestine and, thus, bears special responsibility for taking the initiative.”

The joint WCC and NCC statement comes after the Presbyterian Church USA passed a similar resolution, pressuring Israel to withdraw from those territories.

The joint statement also asks the U.S. government to reconsider its proposed $38 billion military aid package to Israel and to end the current wave of legislative efforts to penalize nonviolent economic measures intended to influence policy in Israel.

The Anti-Defamation League said that by unfairly focusing on Israel, the churches are removing the responsibility from Palestinian or Arab parties embroiled in the conflict to take steps toward peace.




  1. What’s disappointing is seeing a respectable group like the Anti-Defamation League that should know better using the same kind of dangerous radical right wing Palestinian rhetoric that Netanyahu used when he bizarrely claimed recently Palestinians wanting to preserve their homes from Israeli attacks was a form of ethnic cleansing. It is not anti-Israel for Christians to support the basic human rights of the Palestinians but the Anti-Defamation League is engaging in anti-Palestinian racism if they’re attacking their rights to not be driven out of their homes by blatantly illegal settlements.

  2. You are as uninformed as the churches with their bizarre, factually incorrect statement.

    Netanyahu was 100% accurate on his claim of ethnic cleansing of Jews being the goal of the Palestinian Authority. There are almost 2,000,000 Arab citizens of Israel but:

    “Abbas pledges: There will be no Israelis in Palestine‘In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli — civilian or soldier — on our lands,’ says PA leader”

    (google that title to see the article)

    For your information, Jews were previously expelled from the West Bank and East Jerusalem, when Jordan illegally annexed in 1950. Not only were all the Jews expelled, but all 58 synagogues in East Jerusalem were destroyed, and tombstones from Jewish cemeteries were used by the Arabs as paving stones. Similar atrocities occurred in the West Bank.

    And 1950 was not the first time Jews were ethnically cleansed by the Arabs from the West Bank. For example, in 1929, after a horrific massacre of Jewish men. women, and children in Hebron, the remaining Jews of Hebron fled for their lives, leaving Hebron without Jews for the first time in millenia. This, incidentally, is why Hebron is so psychologically important to Israelis.

  3. The NCC and WCC are highly politicized groups with only the most tenuous connection to the precepts of the Gospel, as is not unusual in churchly bureaucratic behemoths. No church I have ever been associated with has been a member of either organization to my great relief and satisfaction.

  4. It’s not anti-Israel to support Palestinian rights, but the broader context is that the NCC-WCC statement was reflexively one-sided, so one-sided that it was wrong on basic facts like Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza a decade ago. The ADL correctly noted that it is unfair to simply place the onus on Israel and ignore anything the PA might be doing. Further, the statement’s assertion that peace cannot be obtained without a withdrawal from “East Jerusalem” is inconsistent with the Oslo Accords if that includes everything east of the Green Line, including all of the Old City. I have never seen a church justify terrorism, but that’s what the statement does when it says, “One cannot keep an entire people subject to pressure and violence for many years and not expect a violent reaction.” Finally, much of the organized BDS movement, which the statement refers to as “nonviolent economic measures,” is not intended “to influence policy in Israel.” It is intended to end Israel’s existence as a Jewish state because it seeks a one-state solution. Not all boycotts, divestments or sanctions agree with that, but without a distinction it just makes the statement look even more factually ignorant and reflexively anti-Israel.

  5. You can’t automatically equate criticism of the government of Israel to antisemitism. It is a cheap trick. Hamas and the Palestinians support terrorism and want to wipe out Israel. However, Israel’s occupation of captured territories and their support of Israeli settlements has been condemned by the UN and most of Israel’s allies. It is a stumbling block to any peace settlement. They need to give it up entirely or annex it as part of Israel, giving citizenship to the residents willing to live in peace.

  6. Here we have the “enlightened” international political arm of mainstream American churches taking a partisan stand against Israel, in favor of the Palestinians. Dig a little deeper RNS: you’ll likely find that these groups are funding the Hamas fignters who would love to bomb more Israelis like they did a few years ago. They don’t because the superior and determined Israeli military would clean their clocks!

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