Israel, Palestinians & Mid-East

Dialogika Resources

AJC Disheartened by UCC, Disciples of Christ and ELCA Embrace of Palestinian Document Delegitimizing Israel

December 15, 2011 – New York – AJC today called on three Protestant churches to disassociate their organizations from the Bethlehem Call, a Palestinian document which appears on the churches’ websites and endorses efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel.

“By embracing positions which actively undermine the peace process, our American Christian interlocutors set themselves apart from those who genuinely are working to achieve a permanent Israeli-Palestinian peace,” said Rabbi Noam Marans, AJC Director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations.

The United Church of Christ, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America are showcasing, in official statements and featured blogs, the harmful Bethlehem Call adopted at a recent meeting of Palestinian liberation theologians. The Bethlehem Call expands upon the unbalanced and theologically problematic Kairos Palestine document, which is repeatedly cited in the Call.

The Bethlehem Call charges Israel with “ethnic cleansing,” “geo-cide [sic] of Palestinians,” and “crimes against humanity.” It also calls upon American churches to divest from companies doing business in Israel while ignoring Israel’s most basic security needs.

“Promotion of the incendiary Bethlehem Call document is deeply disappointing and harms efforts to achieve peace,” said Rabbi Marans. “Instead, we urge the churches to encourage Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to return without further delay to direct negotiations with Israel, the only path to achieving a sustainable peace.”