Nothing said about $600 million aid to Palestinians
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has criticized the leadership of the American Lutheran, Methodist, UCC churches and the National Council of Churches, who wrote to Congress on Monday, calling for Congress to consider ceasing U.S. military funding for Israel. These church leaders did not call for aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) to be reviewed or curtailed despite the PA’s refusal to negotiate with Israel and fulfill its commitments under the Oslo agreements to arrest terrorists, dismantle terrorist groups or end incitement to hatred and violence against Israel.
In their letter to Members of Congress, the fifteen church leaders said, “As Christian leaders in the United States, it is our moral responsibility to question the continuation of unconditional U.S. financial assistance to the government of Israel. Realizing a just and lasting peace will require this accountability, as continued U.S. military assistance to Israel – offered without conditions or accountability – will only serve to sustain the status quo and Israel’s military occupation of the Palestinian territories … We request, therefore, that Congress hold Israel accountable to these standards by making the disbursement of U.S. military assistance to Israel contingent on the Israeli government’s compliance with applicable U.S. laws and policies.
The church leaders, who said they were writing “as Christian leaders representing U.S. churches and religious organizations committed to seeking a just peace for Israelis and Palestinians, … [our organizations have ]worked alongside our Palestinian Christian sisters and brothers to help build a peaceful and resilient Palestinian civil society …. [We] express our grave concern about the deteriorating conditions in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Unfortunately, unconditional U.S. military assistance to Israel has contributed to this deterioration, sustaining the conflict and undermining the long-term security interests of both Israelis and Palestinians.” The letter called on Congress to hold hearings “to examine Israel’s compliance, and we request regular reporting on compliance and the withholding of military aid for non-compliance. The letter also decried what it called a troubling and consistent pattern of disregard by the government of Israel for U.S. policies that support a just and lasting peace,” citing Israel’s failure to halt settlement activity despite repeated U.S. government requests (‘Religious leaders call on Congress to reevaluate military aid to Israel,’ Jewish Telegraphic Agency, October 9, 2012).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “These church leaders are basically saying that Israel should be bullied by financial pressure into concessions to the unreconstructed, terror-supporting Palestinian Authority (PA), which does not accept Israel as a Jewish state and has not fulfilled its 19-year old commitments under the signed Oslo agreements to arrest terrorists, dismantle terrorist groups and end the incitement to hatred and murder that suffuses the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps. In fact, the PA refuses to negotiate at all and has not done so for several years. Indeed, it is shocking that, despite all these things, these church leaders have not criticized the $600 million in U.S. aid to the PA or called for the PA to fulfill its signed commitments.
“At a time when Americans are being assaulted in countries across the Middle East (other than Israel) and at a time when Egypt, the most populous Arab state, has fallen under the domination of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, whose leaders have spoken with gusto about the coming demise of America, these church leaders are obsessed with penalizing and pressuring one country – Israel. Their preoccupation with and animus against the Jewish state seems boundless and is not disguised with pompous and insincere talk about their ‘moral responsibility’ to call for restricting aid to Israel.
“Have these church leaders felt morally impelled to write to the governments of Egypt, Iraq or Sudan about the perilous predicament of their historic Christian communities?
“If morality truly interested these church leaders, they would be writing to Congress to cut off aid to Egypt, in which the Coptic Christian minority has for years been subjected to church bombings, killings, discriminatory legislation and inequality before the law. They would be critical of the Obama Administration having recently given Egypt an additional $1 billion in aid beyond what it already receives annually from the American taxpayer..
“They would not want to penalize Israel, which provides essential freedoms to its Christian minority, a minority which is also the only secure and growing Christian community anywhere in the Middle East today.
“It is a sad spectacle when the leadership of these churches does not reflect the reality of American Christians and Americans in general whom, as repeated polls demonstrate, have a keen sense of friendship and sympathy for Israel and, far from wishing Congress to harm Israel in any way, would like the U.S. Government to be strongly supportive of Israel.”