A church unwilling to learn the real facts about an issue and in particular the complicated situation in the Middle East, is a church without love and incubates hateful actions in their hearts. This description is in particular relevant to the United Church of Christ, who has divestment from Israel as one of the items on the agenda for their General Synod which will be held on 26-30 June 2015.
The United Church of Christ is only one of the member churches of the World Council of Churches which follow the ill advice of the WCC. The WCC never had any sympathy for the situation Israel and the Jewish people had to deal with – a total lack of a nuanced approach. To propose that Israel’s actions towards the Palestinians constitute “apartheid” is a lack of understanding what apartheid really was.
With Israel surrounded by enemies and by calling for the destruction of Israel, why is it so difficult to understand that Israel has to calculate every move and decision in an environment of existential threat? The unfortunate and extreme security measures to protect the citizens of Israel emanates from the violent attacks by Palestinians on ordinary people of Israel. The UCC should take note of what happened every time Israel compromised to make peace with the Palestinians – the withdrawal from Gaza was answered with rocket fire on Israel’s citizens.
Judith Yovel Recanati of the Israel Trauma Center for Victims of Terror and War estimates that 10% of Israeli’s suffer from Post Traumatic Stress as a result of war and terrorism. If the UCC has the love of God in their hearts, they would’ve shown more compassion and understanding.
Sadly, rather than pursue a peaceful coexistence alongside Israel, history records show Palestinians proliferated terror instead. Nevertheless, in 2000, Israel offered the Palestinians full sovereignty over 95 percent of the disputed territories, including East Jerusalem, with secured geographic contiguity. There was virtually nothing left for the Jews to give away. But the Palestinians said no. US Middle East envoy at the time said the Palestinians’ main objection was the insertion of one critical clause in the agreement: “This is the end of the conflict.” The Palestinians could not end the conflict with anything less than ending Israel.
I call upon the United Church of Christ to consider the following before castigating Israel as an apartheid state:
- Arab women in many Muslim countries enjoy no rights at all – in Israel they enjoy all.
- There is Arab representation in the Knesset and in the government, and there is an Arab Supreme Court judge.
- More than 2 million Israeli citizens are not Jews.
- There is complete freedom of religion, freedom of expression and a totally free press, used against Israel at times to her detriment.
- More than 300,000 Arab children attend primary and secondary schools in Israel; and Arab students and professors study, research and teach at Israeli universities.
- Arabic is an official language in Israel, even posted on all road signs.
- Under the so-called Israeli occupation, Palestinians have the highest percentage of university students, the lowest infant mortality and the longest life expectancy of any front-line Arab state.
I would suggest to the delegates of the General Synod of the United Church of Christ to search their own hearts before castigating Israel based on half truths, obvious lies and propaganda with hurtful intent.