Christian Leaders Attack Israel for Umpteenth Time
Doing my usual sweep of denominational web sites this morning, I thought I had spied evidence of change at the United Church of Christ. The headline read, “UCC joins Christian leaders in letter to Congress outlining human-rights violations in the Middle East,” and my first thought was, “finally! The UCC is going to address the persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt, the denial of religious freedom in Saudi Arabia, the crimes of the Assad regime in Syria, and the mistreatment of minorities in Iran. It’s about time!” Silly me:
Leaders of the United Church of Christ are joining other Christian leaders representing U.S. churches and religious organizations in a two-page letter to Congress, asking that Israel be held accountable for potential human-rights violations through its use of U.S. military aid.
The letter, signed by UCC president and general minister the Rev. Geoffrey A. Black, and the Rev. James A. Moos, executive minister for the UCC’s Wider Church Ministries and co-executive of the UCC/Disciples Global Ministries, has the support of 13 denominations and organizations in the United States. The ecumenical leaders write that both sides share responsibility for their actions, but U.S. military assistance to Israel threatens long-lasting peace in the region. The letter to Congress also outlines examples of civilian deaths, Israeli restriction of Palestinian political expression and movement, demolition of Palestinian homes, and use of prohibited weapons in civilian areas.
The UCC has sought to constrain the militarization of the Middle Area after the passage of a 2005 General Synod resolution, said Dr. Peter Makari, area executive to the Middle East and Europe for Global Ministries.
The UCC joins its ecumenical partners “in expressing the concern that U.S. assistance to Israel has been and remains unconditional, is in violation of U.S. law on foreign assistance, and contributes toward the continuation of a military occupation of Palestinian lands, which is antithetical to efforts to promote peace between the Palestinians and Israelis,” Makari said.
The letter is signed by many of the usual suspects–Gradye Parsons of the PCUSA, Mark Hanson of the ELCA, Peg Birk of the National Council of Churches, Sharon Watkins of the Disciples of Christ, etc. Once again, there is apparently only one human rights violator of note in the Middle East. So what else is new?
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