Concerned Over One-Sided Report on Israel ADL Urges Dialog with Episcopal Church
New York, NY, September 27, 2004 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed its concerns to the Episcopal Church about a new report from the Anglican Peace and Justice Network that places the blame for the Israeli / Palestinian conflict almost exclusively on Israel.
In a letter to Rev. Canon Brian J. Grieves, Director of Peace and Justice Ministries, Episcopal Church USA, Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, and Rabbi Gary Bretton-Granatoor, ADL Director of Interfaith Affairs, decried the one-sidedness of the Ministries' "Give Sight to the Blind and Freedom to the Captives" report and offered to engage in a dialog to correct the report's misconceptions regarding the conflict.
It was with great shock and sadness that we read the report of the Anglican Peace and Justice Network "Give Sight to the Blind and Freedom to the Captives." We are concerned about the utter lack of balance in this report. There is no evidence of any understanding on the part of the writers of the role the Palestinians have played in their own sad situation.
The ineffective and corrupt leadership of the Palestinian Authority, its unwillingness to negotiate in good faith, its inability to distribute the largess of the European Union, the US and churches like your own, and account for that distribution, is the root cause of the sorry state of the Palestinian people. Israel has steadfastly agreed to the creation of a Palestinian state, and there has yet to be a clear and decisive statement from the Palestinians on Israel's right to exist.
Your report focuses on the "occupation" – an overly-simple and politically-loaded designation – as the reason for "draconian conditions." Who has responsibly represented the Palestinian people in negotiating borders? Which borders? The green line has not been internationally recognized in the past. Why now?
Further, in an Associated Press report we read, "The group toured the West Bank, meeting with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Palestinian church representatives. The group also met with an Israeli social activist and several Israeli Arabs, but no government officials. Dinsmore said Israeli Foreign Ministry officials were unable to meet the delegation because of the Jewish holidays." So how could you say "…we conclude…that there is little will on behalf of the Israeli government to recognize the rights of the Palestinians to a sovereign state." To whom did you speak? Upon which policy of the Israeli government is that assertion made? You conclude, prior to the enumeration of your recommendations, that "…it is the Occupation…that foments the violence and fuels the conflict." We, respectfully, disagree – it is the leadership of the Palestinian Authority that foments the violence and fuels the conflict.
It is clear that we disagree, passionately, about a land and peoples for which both our communities profess love and concern. If anything, this disagreement is a call for dialogue and understanding. Thus far, we have far too little of both. Perhaps, we can use this as an opportunity to begin the difficult work together. We hope that you will accept our invitation to discuss this in greater detail.
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.