Jewish group rebukes UCC resolution claiming Israel uses ‘imperialistic theology’ against Palestinians

Palestinians run for cover from tear gas fired by Israeli security forces at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound on May 10, 2021.
Palestinians run for cover from tear gas fired by Israeli security forces at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound on May 10, 2021. | Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images

A prominent Jewish organization has rebuked a resolution passed by the United Church of Christ that accuses Israel of using “an imperialistic theology” to oppress the Palestinian Territories.

At the UCC’s 33rd General Synod, held virtually on July 11-18, delegates adopted a resolution titled “Declaration for a Just Peace Between Palestine and Israel” in a vote of 462-78, and 18 abstentions.

“The Declaration … rejects a future imposed by military power, illegal occupation and dispossession, or unilateral annexation of land and the use of an imperialistic theology as justification,” reads the summary of the resolution in part.

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“The Declaration pronounces Israel’s continued oppression of the Palestinian people a sin, incompatible with the Gospel.”

The resolution goes on to compare Israel’s actions in the Palestinian Territories to Jim Crow segregation in the United States and rejected the claim that Israel has “a divine right to the land.”

In addition to the condemnations of Israel, the resolution also declared that “all people living in Palestine and Israel are created in the image of God and that this bestows ultimate dignity and sacredness to all.”

In a statement released Monday, the UCC national officers acknowledged that the resolution might “cause tension in some of our interreligious relationships, especially in the American Jewish community.”

“Let us be clear: we remain committed to dialogue and engagement with interreligious partners and will remain as vigilant as ever in our condemnation of anti-Semitism and other forms of religious-based bigotry and discrimination, just as we oppose violence in all its forms, wherever it is perpetrated,” they stated.

“Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. military aid, receiving more U.S. military aid than all other countries in the world combined. So, we as U.S. citizens and as a U.S. church opposed to militarization, have a special responsibility to speak out on this, just as we have been critical of U.S. military engagement and military aid in other parts of the Middle East and around the world.”

The American Jewish Committee, a prominent Jewish organization, has denounced the UCC resolution, saying in a statement that it “demonizes Israel, fails to offer a credible path to Israeli-Palestinian peace, and undermines advances in Christian-Jewish relations.”

The AJC pointed out that the UCC resolution made no mention of Hamas, the major Islamic terrorist group that has controlled the Gaza Strip for years and has violently attacked Israel on multiple occasions with the intention of destroying the nation.

“The resolution ignores inconvenient truths in the history and context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; innumerable peace proposals and initiatives rejected by Palestinians with violence; and ongoing security threats to Israel,” stated AJC.

“In its accusations, the resolution uses terms like ‘sin’ and ‘apartheid.’ The resolution dangerously describes the ‘oppression of the Palestinian people’ and an unqualified ‘Israel’s occupation of Palestine’ as theologically motivated."

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