ADL Welcomes Effort By United Church of Christ to Give Israel a Fair Hearing
New York, NY, June 26, 2007 … The United Church of Christ's acknowledgment that it has advocated an unbalanced and one-sided policy against the state of Israel is "a welcome development," according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which noted that past policy declarations "were based on unfair and biased assumptions."
A new resolution adopted by the General Synod of the United Church of Christ (UCC) on June 24 calls for the group to undertake an in-depth and balanced study of the Middle East conflict, and to factor in previously ignored key issues such as the teaching of hate and violence in schools and through the media, Israel's disengagement from Gaza, and the rising internecine violence between Hamas and Fatah. The resolution was approved at the UCC's General Synod meeting in Hartford, Connecticut.
"We are heartened that members of the United Church of Christ have come to recognize that Israel deserves a fair hearing and that some of their policy declarations in the past were based on unfair and biased assumptions," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "It is a welcome development, and the start of a healthy process toward a better understanding of a very complex and complicated history.
"We hope that other mainline Protestant churches will consider a similar process of re-evaluating their positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and adopt a more balanced approach," added Mr. Foxman.
The UCC plans to establish a task force to study the "causes, history and the context of the conflict" in the Middle East. A report will be delivered to the synod in 2009.
Just three week ago, the UCC and Disciples of Christ issued a statement on the 40th anniversary of the Six-Day War that placed the onus for the Arab-Israeli conflict solely on Israel.
Two UCC resolutions adopted in 2005 also focused solely on actions by Israel. The first, known as the "Tear Down the Wall" resolution, called for dismantling of the Israel's security barrier without evaluating the reasons why it was erected or mentioning Palestinian suicide bombings. The second "Economic Leverage" resolution urged church members to divest from companies that do business in Israel.
The new UCC resolution states: "…members of the United Church of Christ must develop a broader understanding of the violence that plagues this part of the world. We cannot raise our voices only to point out the transgressions of one side…. We also have a responsibility to more fully understand and name the ways other nations and forces have contributed to the situation."
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.