United Church of Christ Softens Position on Israel

Since 2005, the UCC has been among the most shrill of the Mainline Protestant churches on the subject of Israel. The Church passed two vehemently anti-Israel resolutions that year. Two years later there has been something of a shift. The Church’s governing body moved forward a resolution calling for “balance” on the Middle East.

I write in The New York Sun of the shift:

“One of [the prior resolutions] — the ‘Tear Down the Wall” resolution — called for the dismantling of the security barrier between Israel and the West Bank. The other — the divestment, or ‘Economic Leverage,’ resolution — urged church members to divest from companies that do business in Israel.

‘Because the ‘Tear Down the Wall’ resolution focused solely on the actions of Israel, we also have a responsibility to more fully understand and name the ways other nations and forces have contributed to the situation,’ the resolution reads.

It also mentions Palestinian Arab children ‘being exposed to hatred and intolerance in textbooks and the media” and violence between “Fatah and Hamas, especially in the Gaza strip, in spite of the fact that Israel disengaged from Gaza in September 2005.’

The UCC’s Committee on Reference referred the measure to the executive council for implementation. It would establish a task force to study the ’causes, history, and the context of the conflict,’ which will report to the next gathering of the synod in 2009.”

Incidentally, Senator Obama, a UCC member who spoke to the group on Satuday, distanced himself from the Church’s position on the Middle East: ” ‘Senator Obama has been a consistent and stalwart supporter of Israel, our strongest ally and only democracy in the Middle East, throughout his career in public service and his entire life,’ a spokeswoman for the campaign, Jennifer Psaki, said. ‘While he is a proud member of the UCC church and values its tradition of openness and diversity, he strongly disagrees with the portrayal of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict presented by individual members of the church.’ ”

2 Responses to “United Church of Christ Softens Position on Israel”

  1. Gary Aknos Says:

    Nice article Seth! Kudos!

    Check out http://www.ucctruths.com/ – big church/state rift going to hit the fan because of Obama’s campaign speech to the UCC.

  2. stephanie margo davis Says:

    “United Church of Christ Softens Position on Israel”

    Why how very ecumenical of them!!!!

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