The Anti-Israel Bias of the United Church of Christ

Joseph Puder,

How the UCC guide is antithetical to justice and peace.

This last August, the United Church of Christ (UCC) offered its church leaders and parishioners a guide titled “Promoting a Just Peace in Palestine-Israel.”  The document is neither just, nor does it offer peace.  The guide begins with a reference to the 2009 Kairos Palestine Document titled A Moment of Truth, and it is explained to be a Palestinian-Christian call on churches of the world to “stand with the Oppressed in Palestine-Israel,” asking churches “Are you able to help us get our freedom back?”

One can view the UCC guide as naïve, but that cannot explain the inherent anti-Jewish and anti-Israel bias involved in this case.  The Kairos Palestine Document was written by Arab-Christians who are dhimmis or simply put, hostages in their Muslim – dominated societies.  In order to save their skin, rather dishonorably, they are willing to help Palestinian propaganda led by authoritarian figures who care little about their own people, let alone their Christian minority.  As case in point, the city of Bethlehem is now almost totally populated by Muslims.  The once majority Christian population was pushed out by oppression that involved intimidation, use of violence, extortion, rape and murder of Christians, not by Israelis, but by Palestinian Muslim gangs sanctioned by Arafat, Hamas, and the Palestinian Authority. This reporter asked the late Christian mayor of Bethlehem, Elias Freij, where are all the Christians of Bethlehem? He pointed a finger westward, and replied, “In Santiago de Chile.”  

In 2015, at the 30th General Synod of the UCC, a resolution was adopted titled “A call for the UCC to take action toward a just peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” That action appears to be a UCC resolution that calls for “divestment from companies which are complicit in and/or profit from human rights violations arising from occupation of the ‘Palestinian territories’ by the State of Israel, and for boycott of products produced in ‘illegal’ Israeli settlements located in occupied Palestinian territories.”

The worst possible human rights violation is murderous Palestinian terror, of which even infant Jewish-Israelis are not spared.  The UCC failure to even mention Palestinian terrorism is not only hypocritical, it reveals the deep seated hostility to the Jewish state. 

Individual Palestinian owned land in Judea and Samaria does exist, but there is no such thing as “Palestinian territories.” There is not a recognized Palestinian state nor has it ever existed.  Unless the “good people” of the UCC share the Muslim idea of a “Judenrein” Judea and Samaria, Israeli-Jews have the same right to settle on public lands as do Muslim-Arabs.  Why is it that Arab-Muslims can freely live in Israel but Jews cannot live in the cradle of the Judeo-Christian civilization, where Jews resided for millenniums?  Finally, the territories mentioned in the UCC resolution are not “occupied” but rather legally administered by Israel until a peaceful resolution can decide the disposition of the territories.

The guide’s first chapter titled “The Current Urgent Situation” shows a map of Palestine, which alleges creeping Israeli annexation.  The guide’s biased disposition toward Israel failed to mention that the Palestinian-Arabs rejected the 1947 UN Partition Plan that would have given them a state. Instead, they chose to annihilate the nascent Jewish state, following the horrors of the Holocaust.  The Jewish state had to defend itself against Palestinian terror squads, and regular Arab armies, with inferior arms and manpower. 

In May, 1967, Israel’s Prime Minister Levi Eshkol pleaded with Jordan’s King Hussein to stay out of the war following Egypt’s ejection of UN peacekeepers in the Sinai, and the closure of the Straits of Tiran to Israeli navigation.   The Jordanian army shelled Israeli airbases on the eve of the war and joined with Egypt and Syria in a war to “throw the Jews into the sea.”  As a consequence, the Old City of Jerusalem and the Jewish Quarter were liberated, as was the Etzion Bloc of Jewish settlements and the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) that the Jordanian Arab Legion occupied illegally in 1948.  

ucc_small The Anti-Israel Bias of the United Church of Christ Religion

That same chapter deals with the “so called Separation Wall,” but nowhere does the question of why Israel decided to erect the wall arise.  The clear answer is the murderous Palestinian-Arab terrorism against Jewish civilians.  Israel has the moral right and duty to protect its citizens.

According to the UCC guide, Israel denies water to the West Bank Palestinians.  This is an outright lie.  Under the Oslo Accords, Israel was required to supply 31 million cubic meters of water per year to the Palestinians which has been exceeded by a considerable degree.  According to statistics published by the Israeli Water Authority in 2012, Israel has provided an additional 53.3 million cubic meters per year to the Palestinian water supply.

The UCC guide claims that “Israel conducted full-scale bombardment of Gaza in 2008, 2012, and 2014.”  Yet, it does not tell the readers that Gaza, controlled by the Hamas Islamist terrorist group, has fired thousands of rockets at Israel, targeting Israeli civilians, including kindergarten children. Israel retaliated against these attacks, as any nation would do to defend its citizens.  Israel went through the pain of minimizing Palestinian civilian casualties by targeting only armed terrorists. Hamas, on its part, used women and children as “human shields,” placing its rockets in schools and hospitals, deliberately endangering its people, hoping for civilian casualties as a propaganda tool.  The UCC is now echoing that same propaganda.  Col. Richard Kemp, commander of the British Forces in Afghanistan had this to say about the IDF (Israel Defense Forces), “I believe that on the basis of everything that I’ve seen, that everything the IDF does to protect civilians and to stop the death of innocent civilians, is a great deal more than any other army, and it’s more than the British and the American army.”

The guide directs its members and activists to read the libelous Kairos documents and instructs them on how to go about boycotting Israeli products and divest from companies doing business in Israel.  The UCC, like the Nazis in Hitler’s Germany, are singling out the Jewish state for Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS), joining hands with the Palestinian propaganda machine.  Little thought has been given to the damage it would do to Palestinians in the West Bank, who depend on Israeli jobs.

Bassem Eid, a Palestinian Human Rights activist interviewed by this reporter, charged, “I would like to ask who appointed the BDS to speak on behalf of the Palestinians? The BDS movement is operating in Europe and the U.S., but has no presence in the West Bank and Gaza, or even in the Arab world.  These BDS people are exploiting the Palestinian suffering, and much like the UN and UNRWA, are making a nice living off our backs and our suffering.”

The UCC guide has gone one step further. It instructs its followers to engage in political action, including limiting arms sales to Israel, and overturning 16 U.S. anti-BDS legislations.  The legislators of these major states recognized the inherent anti-Israel bias and latent anti-Semitism embedded in the BDS campaigns, whether on campus or in mainline Protestant churches such as the UCC.  Singling out Israel, the only free democratic state in the Middle East, where religious freedom, human rights, and free speech are enshrined in law, is an abomination.  For the UCC to target Israel can only be explained as latent anti-Semitism given all the atrocities throughout the Middle East, where countless Christians have been slaughtered. “Promoting a just peace in Palestine-Israel” through boycott and divestment against Israel isn’t just, and it is most certainly not a vehicle for peace.