< link rel="DCTERMS.isreplacedby" href="http://bokertov.typepad.com/ btb/" >

Saturday, July 24, 2004

ADL: Engage the Presbyterians
B'nai B'rith: Disengage

Sound familiar?
The Forward, By Eric J. Greenberg

The recent decision by the Presbyterian Church (USA) to divest from Israel has triggered a debate between Jewish organizations over whether to end all contact with the Christian denomination.

B’nai B’rith International issued a statement this week calling on the Jewish community to end all dialogue with the church. In addition to deciding to divest and comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa, delegates at the church’s General Assembly earlier this month refused to stop funding messianic congregations designed to target Jews for conversion.

The Presbyterian Church (USA) is the ninth-largest Christian group in the United States, boasting between 2 million and 3 million full-time members.

Calling the church’s resolutions "hostile and aggressive declarations against the Jewish people and the State of Israel,” B’nai B’rith said that Presbyterian leaders had "shattered nearly 50 years of interfaith dialogue.”

"For a dialogue to take place between two parties — interfaith or political — both sides must accept the right of the other to exist,” the release declared.

B’nai B’rith spokesman Steven Gotfried told The Forward his organization is calling on Jewish groups that engage in interfaith dialogue to "join in boycotting dialogue with the Presbyterian Church until they rescind their offensive actions.”

Officials at the Anti-Defamation League also issued a highly critical statement regarding the resolutions, but called for a "face-to-face” meeting with Presbyterian leaders.