United Church of Christ's Israel Divestment Action "Troubling"; Contravenes Months of Interfaith Dialogue
New York, NY, July 6, 2005 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is troubled and dismayed that the leadership of the United Church of Christ (UCC) has adopted an "economic leverage" resolution against Israel, while at the same time calling on Israel to "tear down" its West Bank security barrier.
Despite months of discussions with Jewish leaders concerned about the implications of any divestment vote against Israel, the Church's General Synod nevertheless adopted resolutions yesterday in Atlanta to support such action.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, and Rabbi Gary Bretton-Granatoor, ADL Director of Interfaith Affairs issued the following statement:
We are dismayed because what we are hearing on the ground from the people in the pews is that they were seeking a more balanced approach that would not single out Israel, but also include the Palestinian Authority. The United Church of Christ leadership has chosen to ignore these voices and put forth a resolution that broadens economic leverage to specifically include divestment, while calling on their individual churches and members to consider divestment tactics.
It is deeply troubling that the UCC leadership has taken such an aggressive stance against Israel by analogizing the occupation to violence and calling on Israel to "tear down the Wall." That kind of overheated rhetoric unfairly demonizes Israel while significantly downplaying the four-year campaign of Palestinian terrorism that goes to the heart of Israel's security measures in the West Bank and Gaza.
It is disappointing and disturbing that while assuring us of the importance of interfaith dialogue, the UCC leadership has taken actions that ignore the primary concerns of the Jewish community, especially at a time when the Israelis are taking painful steps toward peace, including disengagement from Gaza.
We acknowledge that the UCC has spoken out against anti-Semitism and recognized Israel's right to safe and secure existence.
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.