Church leaders call for Congress to investigate aid to Israel, not Palestinians

( Leaders from the Lutheran, Methodist, and UCC (United Church of Christ) churches signed a letter to Congress requesting that U.S. military aid to Israel be contingent on “compliance with applicable U.S. laws and policies.”

The letter’s 15 Protestant signatories noted that they have “witnessed widespread Israeli human rights violations committed against Palestinians, including killing of civilians, home demolitions and forced displacement, and restrictions on Palestinian movement, among others.” They expressed their “grave concern about the deteriorating conditions in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories which threaten to lead the region further away from the realization of a just peace.”

Roz Rothstein, CEO of the pro-Israel advocacy and education group StandWithUs, noted that the letter “blames Israel alone for the lack of peace and paints Palestinians as blameless.”

“It never even refers to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas that governs Gaza, whose founding documents call for the murder of Jews and the ‘obliteration’ of Israel, and who has fired over 10,000 rockets and mortars at Israel’s civilian communities since 2005,” Rothstein said in a statement.

She added that the letter “never condemns Palestinian Authority President Abbas for refusing to return to negotiations despite Israel’s repeated entreaties, and it never mentions Israel’s repeated efforts to make peace. It certainly never questions whether the U.S. should continue to give Palestinians hundreds of millions of dollars a year despite their refusal to promote peace. This is blatantly hypocritical.”

Similarly, Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) Chair Larry Gold said in a statement that while the letter does acknowledge that Palestinians share responsibility for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it includes “no call for investigation of Palestinian intransigence.”

Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt, director of Israel Advocacy at the Conservative Movement’s Rabbinical Assembly, said in a statement that Israel’s “readiness to pursue peace is not matched by the Palestinians, yet the document seeks to assign blame only to the Jewish state for the inability to progress in the quest for peace.”

Posted on October 7, 2012 .