CCAR Statement Condemning the Vote of the United Church of Christ General Synod to Join the Global BDS Movement Targeting Israel
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
With sadness and dismay, we condemn the action of the United Church of Christ (UCC) to target Israel with divestment and boycotts. With this vote, the UCC has now taken sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and has explicitly joined the global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, a contemptible effort to delegitimize the State of Israel and deny the Jewish people’s right to statehood. We do thank and commend the small, brave, minority of delegates to the UCC General Synod who voted against the wrongful, self-defeating resolution.
We note with even greater revulsion the majority vote of the General Synod to brand Israel an apartheid state. We take cold comfort in the fact that the “apartheid” resolution failed for want of the two-thirds majority required for adoption. This vote most closely resembles the odious 1975 United Nations resolution equating Zionism with racism. Though later revoked, it marked the emergence of the U.N. as a venue of implacable anti-Israel hostility.
Reform rabbis are particularly saddened by this development, because of the long-standing and meaningful relationships that many of us and our communities have cherished, and will now be forced to re-evaluate with UCC clergy and congregations. We note with disgust that our UCC colleagues chose to consult a virulently anti-Israel organization, calling itself “Jewish Voice for Peace,” rather than their trusted friends and allies who lead the organized Jewish community. Like our UCC colleagues, Reform rabbis are deeply engaged with the plight of the Palestinians, and we strongly support the peace process to achieve two states for two peoples.
We affirm what the CCAR resolved in 2005: “We deeply deplore efforts that blame [only] Israel for the failure of the peace process or that seek to use economic actions against Israel, including singling out for shareholder actions or divestment, companies working in Israel. These shareholder efforts are more likely to hinder rather than advance the peace process. Israel’s adversaries may interpret them as endorsing continuation of their strategies of rejectionist and terror. In addition, the one-sided nature of these actions undermines their credibility [,. . .] thereby creating the perception that the sponsoring entities [in this case, the United Church of Christ] seek to delegitimize the very existence of the State of Israel.”
This decision is a shameful episode for the United Church of Christ.
Rabbi Denise L. Eger Rabbi Steven A. Fox
President Chief Executive
Central Conference of American Rabbis