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Joint Letter to the Episcopal Church

The Anti-Defamation League and a coalition of Jewish groups welcomed efforts by the Episcopal Church to engage in dialogue with Jewish leaders before taking a position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The following letter was issued after the Episcopal Church's Social Responsibility in Investments Committee circulated a memo suggesting that the church will take into account appeals by Jewish leaders before considering divestment as a weapon against Israel.

ADL views the Episcopal Church's efforts to engage in dialogue and to consider a more balanced approach to the conflict as encouraging in light of the recent decision by the Presbyterian Church USA to divest from Israeli companies, a step ADL and other Jewish organizations has condemned as highly politicized and one-sided.

ADL had met with leaders of the Episcopal Church in early October, urging them to take a more balanced position toward the Mideast conflict.

  November 9, 2004

The Reverend Canon Brian Grieves
Director, Peace and Justice Ministries
The Episcopal Church
815 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017

Dear Rev. Grieves:

Thank you for sharing with us the corporate engagement process for the Episcopal Church. We appreciate the openness to dialogue that is expressed in this process and welcome the opportunity to continue the important conversations we are having about the situation in the Middle East. We all agree that our common goal is a two state solution: Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. We listen attentively to your passion for peace and your concern over the suffering of Israelis and Palestinians alike.

We differ, of course, on the origins of the conflict and, as a result, the surest path to peace. We appreciate the opportunity to share our perspective with you in the near future, as we are preparing a document that expresses our collective point of view. We are concerned about approaches to investment that are directed on this conflict alone and find no parallel to the many other crises and conflicts around the globe. That said, we are heartened by the move toward balance that is reflected in this process, the focus on engagement rather than divestment, the clear statements about Israel's right to exist, and the repudiation of violence.

We welcome the opportunity to continue our important conversations and join in a shared commitment to make our world as it is into the world it could and should be.


Dr. David Elcott
American Jewish Committee
Ethan Felson
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Rabbi Gary Bretton-Granatoor
Anti-Defamation League
Mark Pelavin
Union for Reform Judaism
Mark Waldman
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism

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