Jewish Groups Urge Protestant Churches to Reject Sanctions Against Israel
Update: While this letter was being prepared and circulated, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America distributed a document demonstrating that the concerns of the Jewish community were heard, understood and incorporated into their thinking about the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While the notion of divestment is still in the air in the mainline Churches, the Lutherans have constructively turned the concept upside down and focused on ways of using economics to better the atmosphere for peace-making. They have suggested to their member churches that "Constructive Investment" should be employed and they circulated a list of Israeli and Palestinian organizations that support peace-making.
New York, NY, April 22, 2005 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today joined with six Jewish communal and religious organizations in calling on the leaders of mainline Protestant churches to reject negative economic and political sanctions against the State of Israel, which "undermine peace, foster prejudice and give hope to extremists on every side."
In a letter to the Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, the National Council of Churches, Presbyterian Church (USA), United Church of Christ and United Methodist Church, the coalition of organizations conveyed the Jewish community's distress at the facture in their relationship caused by the Presbyterian Church (USA)'s decision to begin a process of divestment from companies doing business in Israel.
"The Jewish community is committed to engage in dialogue, even with those with whom we disagree – that is the very nature of dialogue," the letter stated. "Yet, any Protestant denomination that would consider the weapon of economic sanctions to be unilaterally and prejudicially used against the State of Israel, or those who would hold the State of Israel to a standard different from any other sovereign state, creates an environment which makes constructive dialogue almost impossible….
"At this fragile time in the Middle East peace negotiations, all who seek peace should be focused on continued economic and political engagement, and what can be done to support efforts to peace and confidence building. We call on our Christian colleagues to reject all negative economic and political sanctions, for they undermine peace, foster prejudice and give hope to extremists on every side."
Signatories to the letter include ADL, the American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress, The Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Orthodox Union, Union for Reform Judaism and United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.
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.