[83. Official church bodies support Palestinian rights

The National Christian Leadership Conference for Israel (NCLCI) which Edith Parker has referred to in her July 3 letter [82] is not an official church body and members of its executive board represent themselves, not their churches.

There are two official church bodies at the national level:

The National Council of Churches (NCC) consisting of Protestant and Orthodox churches. Its Governing Board adopted on November 6, 1980 a Policy Statement on the Middle East, recommending, "recognition by the Arab states and by the Palestinian Arabs of the state of Israel with secure, defined and recognized borders; and recognition by Israel of the right of national self-determination for Palestinian Arabs and of their right to select their own representatives and to establish a Palestinian entity, including a sovereign state. ...the future status of Jerusalem should be included in the agenda of the official negotiations." and

The National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB). It adopted in November 1989 a lengthy pastoral letter entitled Toward Peace in the Middle East. It calls for recognition of Israel's right to existence within secure borders, noting that "Israel's security needs must be reconciled with Palestinian needs for self-determination." It also calls for recognition of Palestinian rights, including "their right to choose their own leadership ... and the right to a clear, legitimated title to their territory, not dependent on the authority of others." It stresses the importance of UN Resolution 242, the thrust of which is "to assert the formula of land for peace."

There is a third group made up of diverse and independent churches. TV evangelists fall in this category. Their Armageddon theology translates into blind support for Israel, illustrated in this absurd statement by Jerry Falwell "God deals with nations in relation to how nations deal with Israel." This Christian Zionism, according to the theologian Rosemary Redford Ruether, "claims that slavish support for the state of Israel, and refusal of all criticism of its policies, is the only legitimate expression of Christian repentance for anti-Semitism. But this is both false friendship and false repentance."

The support for Israel given by the overwhelming majority of Christians is never unconditional and always takes into account the rights of the Palestinian people.

July 14, 1992]