August 15, 2007
Contact: Sr.Ruth Lautt, O.P., Esq.
New York, New York
Christians for Fair Witness on the Middle East condemns The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's (ELCA) Churchwide Assembly for passing a resolution regarding its "Strategy for Engagement in Israel and Palestine" which includes consideration of purchasing products produced in the Palestinian territories while at the same time boycotting products produced in Israeli settlements.
"We are distressed that the ECLA chose to adopt such a shallow and unreflective stance on such a complex situation," said Fair Witness Executive Committee member Rev. Dr. Roy W. Howard. "Any truly responsible 'engagement' in the Arab/Israeli conflict must take into account a more than sixty-year history of Arab aggression against the Jewish state, the refusal of the Arab nations to welcome Palestinian refugees, and the failures of the Palestinian leadership, including its failure to curb terrorism and the recent Hamas v. Fatah violence. By focusing solely on the alleged misdeeds of Israel, the ECLA reveals a disturbing bias and lack of integrity, and does nothing to forward the cause of peacemaking in the Middle East."
"The fact that this resolution expressly excludes a call for selective divestment in no way redeems it," according to Sr. Ruth Lautt, Fair Witness National Director. "The spate of recent statements regarding the Arab/Israel conflict coming from mainline Protestant denominations offends us not merely in the specific economic, or other, devices used to unfairly target the Jewish state. Equally offensive is the one-sided, biased anti-Israel view that these resolutions betray."
"If the American churches wish to become effective peacemakers they must cease from issuing these simplistic proclamations which do nothing to bring peace to a troubled and violence-prone region, but rather bring about anti-Israeli sentiment," adds Fr. James Loughran, S.A., Director of the Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute and Fair Witness Executive Committee member.
Sr. Ruth Lautt, OP, Esq.
Christians for Fair Witness on the Middle East
475 Riverside Drive, Ste 1960
New York, NY 10115
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