The Anti-Defamation League commends the International Council of Christian and Jews (ICCJ) for its comprehensive statement about the Israel-Palestinian conflict, which calls on religious institutions and groups to refrain from issuing one-sided declarations in attempting to promote a resolution to the dispute.
The statement by ICCJ, one of the world’s oldest and most respected international Christian-Jewish organizations, urges religious bodies and leaders to recommit themselves to promote understanding and reconciliation, and pursue the hard work of authentic interfaith dialogue.
“ICCJ believes that one-sided declarations only provoke insecurity and fear and do not increase the likelihood of peace,” says the statement, titled “Reflections on the Role of Religious and Interreligious Groups in Promoting Reconciliation about and in the Troubled Middle East.”
“Regrettably, it seems to us that some recent statements emanating from the Middle East and elsewhere are becoming more intransigent."
“We recognize that intractable political and legal disputes will be resolved not by religious groups living thousands of miles away, but by political and diplomatic leaders and citizens on the ground, with the aid of the international community,” the ICCJ statement says. “We believe that people discussing the Middle East need to recognize the complex history that led to the present situation and be open to hearing multiple narratives. They should be aware that what is a minority perspective in one context can become the majority perspective if the context shifts.”
A particularly valuable section of the 16-page document shows how various people use the same words or phrases with very different meanings, which only confuses conversations about these complicated topics.
Declaring that despair is not an option, ICCJ calls on everyone committed to interreligious amity that cares the ‘Holy Land’ to pursue the difficult path of dialogue and to help foster mutual esteem and respect as the only sure road to reconciliation. “We are convinced," the statement says, “that Jews, Christians and Muslims have the capacity and indeed the responsibility before God to draw upon their respective religious heritages in the service of peace and human reconciliation.”
In a written statement, ADL Interfaith Director Rabbi Eric J. Greenberg said: “The ICCJ report titled is a thoughtful and balanced reflection that offers constructive and reasonable suggestions for how people of faith should discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A particularly valuable section shows how various people use the same words or phrases but with very different meanings, which only confuses conversation about these complicated topics.
“The report comes at a time when some Protestant churches continue to propose biased boycott and divestment resolutions against Israel, in effect blaming only the Jewish State for the conflict. Worse, such proposals sometimes employ hateful religious imagery against Israel, for example, comparing the Palestinians to Jesus, and Israel to the Romans who crucified him. The ICCJ report declares instead that any particular proposals for action with regards to the Israel-Palestinian dispute, "should be assessed as to whether they will increase feelings of fear and insecurity, will polarize, or seem to represent only one of the many narratives of the conflicts."
"We commend the authors of the ICCJ statement. It encourages a mutually respectful consideration of a complex conflict and should be a must-read for all religious bodies engaged with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”