Jewish and Christian groups at impasse over U.S. aid to Israel

WASHINGTON — An established interfaith group is in danger of disintegrating as major American Jewish groups and prominent mainline Protestant … Continued

WASHINGTON — An established interfaith group is in danger of disintegrating as major American Jewish groups and prominent mainline Protestant churches differ over U.S. aid for Israel — a long-standing argument that the group was established, in part, to diffuse.

Leaders of Reform and Conservative Judaism, the American Jewish Committee, and other Jewish groups sent a letter Wednesday (Oct. 17) to their Christian counterparts on the Christian-Jewish Roundtable saying they would not be attending a long-planned Oct. 22-23 meeting.

At issue is an Oct. 8 letter that many Christian leaders — from the National Council of Churches, the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and other denominations — sent to Congress, asking that U.S. aid to Israel be re-evaluated in light of the Jewish state’s alleged human rights violations.

Israel has long been the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance, almost all of which is military aid and contracts, according to the Congressional Research Service.

“As Christian leaders in the United States, it is our moral responsibility to question the continuation of unconditional U.S. financial assistance to the government of Israel,” the letter from the Christian leaders read, criticizing Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

“Realizing a just and lasting peace will require this accountability, as continued U.S. military assistance to Israel — offered without conditions or accountability — will only serve to sustain the status quo and Israel’s military occupation of the Palestinian territories.”

The Jewish groups withdrew from the planned October meeting and are now asking the Christian members of the roundtable for a different meeting: to discuss the letter and “reset the framework for ongoing dialogue.”

“There is no question in our minds that this is an unbalanced demonization of Israel completely lacking in context,” said Rabbi Noam Marans, the interfaith director at the American Jewish Committee.

“It pretends that Palestinian human rights violations do not exist, but above all, our concern is that when the world currently is focused on the Iranian nuclear threat, Christian leaders have chosen to mount another political attack on Israel,” Marans said.

Marans said he isn’t sure whether the eight-year-old roundtable will survive the congressional letter flap. “The current conversation with some Christian leaders is unacceptable and needs to change,” he said.

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  • aby

    In other words those Rabbis involved in the “imterfaith” group will play as long as their favorite child(Israel) is not questioned. They naively try to deflect the whole issue by shouting WOLF (Iran and the Bomb) and by wanting to change the rules of the game.

  • Kingofkings1

    Do the rabbis know israel has a nuclear arsenal?

    Do they also know that criticizing Israeli policies doesn’t necessarily mean one is anti-israeli.

    There is a lot of criticism of US policies in the US house and senate. It doesn’t mean our reps and senators are anti-American. That is how we reach a consensus that satisfies everyone (usually). If we cannot question israeli policies, especially those that are repulsive such as oppression, hate, and apartheid (which Desmond Tutu has characterized as worse than South African policies at its worst), who are we benefitting?

  • politicaljules

    Israel’s policies are questioned by the hour. There has been no other country that has been as scrutinized, and micromanaged by the UN as Israel. And time and time again there is no wrong doing. The claims have been twisted and lied about but the Truth always prevails.

    While murderous dictators and sick islamic practices and violence are constantly ignored by the organizations that attack Israel for nothing…. When an American ambassador is murdered and there is zero outrage by the international community…. NOW we know they are liars who are not on America’s or Israel’s side.

    Enough is enough. It is time for America to condemn the true criminals and stop sending foreign aid to those who hate us.

    We shall overcome. God Save America. God Bless Israel.

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