Skip to comments.Episcopal Bishops Hit Anti-Israel Divestment Campaign
Posted on 06/29/2005 9:44:15 AM PDT by sionnsar
BOSTON, June 21,2005 U.S. Newswire-- Two prominent Episcopalian bishops are warning their church not to support the anti-Israel divestment campaign that is splitting Protestant churches in the U.S.
Divestment, they warn, places exclusive blame for the Arab/Israeli conflict on Israel, promoting an understanding that "is entirely inconsistent with the actual history of this long and tragic conflict."
Their warning comes in the form of an anti-divestment petition released in conjunction with the Judeo-Christian Alliance, an initiative of the David Project, a Boston-based group that promotes a fair and honest discussion of conflict in the Middle East.
The two bishops, Rev. Geralyn Wolfe of Rhode Island and Rev. Edward S. Little of Northern Indiana warn fellow Episcopalians that divestment "seems to justify the tactics of terrorists. This would only encourage the violence the church hopes to end, and the continued suffering of Arabs and Israelis for years to come."
JCA President Dennis Hale, Ph.D., an Episcopalian himself, says the willingness of the bishops to oppose divestment publicly indicates just how divisive the campaign has been for churches.
"For a long time, Protestant leaders have been forging close ties with those who are pledged to the destruction of Israel, falsely claiming to be pursuing 'peace and justice'," Hale says. "They are in fact prolonging this terrible conflict. Divestment is just another way of saying that Israel has no right to defend itself and therefore no right to exist."
The bishops' announcement comes days before the United Church of Christ's General Synod addresses two divestment proposals and another calling on Israel to dismantle the separation barrier that has saved hundreds of Arab and Israeli lives since 2003.
Dexter Van Zile, a member of the UCC and director of the JCA says the resolutions are a consequence of the propaganda spread by the denomination's leadership.
"UCC leaders have shamelessly fronted for Sabeel, an anti-Israel group that has dusted off the deicide charge against Jews and has directed its energy against the Israel," he says. In the next few days, Van Zile will release a report about Sabeel's teachings of contempt.
James Hutchins founder of http://UCCtruths.com, a Web site that confronts the political activism of the denomination's leadership, expressed concern about the UCC's connection to Sabeel.
"Sabeel's political rhetoric doesn't build bridges, it builds animosity and contempt," Hutchins says.
The petition can be seen at: http://www.judeo-christianalliance.org/EpiscopalPetition.htm.Contact: Dexter Van Zile of the Judeo-Christian Alliance, 617-428-0012
A PETITION ADDRESSED TO THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
We, the undersigned, members and friends of the world-wide Anglican Communion, urge responsible authorities in the Episcopal Church of the United States to reject all proposals to remove church investments from companies that do business with, or in, the State of Israel. We direct this proposal not only to members of the hierarchy of the Episcopal Church, but to lay leaders as well.
We make this proposal for the following reasons:
1. Divestment has been recommended to all churches belonging to the World Council of Churches, in a statement issued earlier this year (2005). It is therefore an idea that is likely to receive a respectful hearing among the leaders and many lay members of the ECUSA.
2. However, divestment is a policy that places exclusive blame for the Arab-Israeli conflict on Israel, a conclusion that is entirely inconsistent with the actual history of this long and tragic conflict.
3. Furthermore, by placing exclusive blame on Israel, the divestment campaign ignores the complex realities of the Middle East, and seems to justify the tactics of terrorists. This would only encourage the very violence that the church hopes to end, and the continued suffering of Arabs and Israelis for years to come.
4. At a time when there is at last some sign of progress in the Middle East, the Episcopal Church is being urged to take one side in the conflict, rather than encouraging all sides to negotiate in good faith.
5. We urge the Episcopal Church to affirm that, as Christians and as Americans, we are commited to a peaceful resolution of the claims of both sides in the Arab-Israeli conflict; that we support a two-state solution for the lands of the former Palestine Mandate; and that we reject all efforts to demonize and destroy the State of Israel.
The Right Reverend Geralyn Wolf, Bishop of Rhode Island The Right Reverend Edward S. Little, Bishop of Northern Indiana
Nah, there's probably more gay Palestinians than there are gay Israelis. The divestment will happen. /sarcasm
Kinda' like the Presbyterians last year. They hide it in a mass of routine stuff and slipped it in under the radar.
A number of us have told our preacher that we will be keeping a closer eye on things this year. Also that a number of us are ready to hit the doors if our bigwigs get as goofy as that other mainline church.
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