ADL Assails United Church Of Christ for Ignoring Israeli Suffering in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
New York, NY, June 6, 2007 … In reaction to a statement by the United Church of Christ (UCC) and the Disciples of Christ (DoC) on the 40th anniversary of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called it "unfair and one-sided" and asked, "As people of God, how can you justify ignoring that Israelis…have suffered from decades of suicide bombings?"
In letters to the church leadership, Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, said, "In focusing on Palestinian suffering, you demonstrate that you place the onus for the Arab-Israeli conflict solely on Israel. By emphasizing the effects of the conflict on the Palestinians, you devalue the loss of Israeli life and the suffering inflicted on the people of Israel as a result of years of unrelenting terror attacks."
The UCC/DoC message stated that for the last 40 years, "the Palestinian people have lived under occupation, while "the Israeli people have lived with an ongoing debate..." It discussed the suffering of generations of Palestinians, referring to checkpoints, curfews, home demolition, but in referring to any effect on Israelis said, "Generations of Israelis have experienced mandatory military service in the West Bank, Gaza, the Sinai, and the Golan Heights."
"As people of God, how can you justify ignoring that Israelis, young and old, women and children, have suffered from decades of suicide bombings -- suicide bombings on public transportation as they commute to school and work, in the middle of their cities -- at shopping malls and restaurants?" Mr. Foxman asked. "How can you discount the events that led to the Six-Day War and the unsuccessful attempts by the State of Israel to negotiate a peace treaty after the war that would have meant the return of Gaza and the much of the West Bank decades ago?"
Mr. Foxman added that, "At a time when Israeli citizens are targeted by rockets and the elected Palestinian leadership supports the eradication of the State of Israel and the use of terrorism to this end, it is particularly unfortunate that a religious organization which says it is committed to a resolution to this conflict has abandoned the course of objective, credible advocacy for the protection of all parties, which is so essential to a constructive and lasting path to peace."
The UCC/DoC statement was signed by Rev. John H. Thomas, General Minister and President of the UCC, Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins, General Minister and President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Rev. Cally Rogers-Witte, Executive Minister, Wider Church Ministries, Co-Executive, Common Global Ministries Board, and Rev. Dr. David Vargas, President, Division of Overseas Ministries, Co-Executive, Common Global Ministries Board.
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.