Written by Anthony Moujaes
Leaders of the United Church of Christ are joining other Christian leaders representing U.S. churches and religious organizations in a two-page letter to Congress, asking that Israel be held accountable for potential human-rights violations through its use of U.S. military aid.
The letter, signed by UCC president and general minister the Rev. Geoffrey A. Black, and the Rev. James A. Moos, executive minister for the UCC’s Wider Church Ministries and co-executive of the UCC/Disciples Global Ministries, has the support of 13 denominations and organizations in the United States. The ecumenical leaders write that both sides share responsibility for their actions, but U.S. military assistance to Israel threatens long-lasting peace in the region. The letter to Congress also outlines examples of civilian deaths, Israeli restriction of Palestinian political expression and movement, demolition of Palestinian homes, and use of prohibited weapons in civilian areas.
The UCC has sought to constrain the militarization of the Middle Area after the passage of a 2005 General Synod resolution, said Dr. Peter Makari, area executive to the Middle East and Europe for Global Ministries.
“The UCC has been consistent in its condemnation of violence, regardless of its source,” Makari said.
The UCC joins its ecumenical partners “in expressing the concern that U.S. assistance to Israel has been and remains unconditional, is in violation of U.S. law on foreign assistance, and contributes toward the continuation of a military occupation of Palestinian lands, which is antithetical to efforts to promote peace between the Palestinians and Israelis,” Makari said.
The churches and religious organizations, committed to seeking a just peace between Palestinians and Israelis, also point to what they write is a “troubling and consistent pattern of disregard by the government of Israel for U.S. policies that support a just and lasting peace. Specifically, repeated demands by the U.S. government that Israel halt all settlement activity have been ignored.”
The Christian leaders are asking Congress to make U.S. military assistance to Israel contingent on compliance with our country’s laws and policies, pointing out, “as Israel is the single largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid since World War II, it is especially critical for Israel to comply with the specific U.S. laws that regulate the use of U.S.-supplied weapons.”
Global Ministries is a common witness of the UCC and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) responsible for nurturing relationships with international partners on behalf of the two denominations. Since 1989, the UCC and the Disciples have been in a full communion ecumenical partnership.
Global Ministries posted the full text of its letter to Congress.