ICCJ Executive Board letter on Methodist Church UK

The ICCJ is a pluralistic organization and our members hold differing views on many political and ideological questions. But we have gone on record, in our 2009 Berlin Document: "A Time for Recommitment", as supporting the two-state solution that will help bring justice and peace to the region.

We are committed to dialogue even among those in conflict with one another. Thus, for example, at our conference in Istanbul in June 2010, we held a panel discussion on the Palestinian Kairos Document, which included one of its authors. On the ground, our member organization, the Inter-religious Coordinating Council in Israel, works closely with groups like Rabbis for Human Rights and encourages interfaith dialogue in the service of peace.

It is therefore with some disappointment that we note the recent statement by the Methodist Church in the UK and its enthusiastic support on the part of the World Council of Churches. We feel that the testimonies presented, as well as the resources in the bibliography and filmography, do not represent the many dimensions of the conflict. Its call for boycott, divestment and sanctions, directed against one side of the conflict, is jarring, particularly as there is not a parallel call for investment in the forces on the ground that work for peace and dialogue. Lumping together the plight of the Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank, together with another issue--the complexities of the identity and status of Palestinians who are citizens of the State of Israel--feels like a regrettable attempt to erode the principle, to which we are committed, of a Jewish state and a Palestinian state living together in peace and security. Any attempt to delegitimize the idea of an independent Jewish state undermines the prospects of peace in the Middle East.

At the same time, the ICCJ reiterates its 2009 call to Jewish communities throughout the world to differentiate between fair-minded criticism of Israel’s policies and antisemitism and to encourage the State of Israel to fulfill its own stated ideals, by ensuring equal rights for its religious and ethnic minorities and by achieving a just and peaceful solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The present status quo is unacceptable but it will not be resolved by overlooking the complexities of the current problems and proposing simplistic or one-sided "solutions".

(Dr.) Debbie Weissman, president of the ICCJ, on behalf of the Executive Board