A California pro-Jewish group is appalled that a group of
Christian leaders has sent a letter asking Congress to reevaluate
U.S. funding to Israel.
Several Protestant leaders are accusing Israel of human rights
violations, specifically related to the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act
and the U.S. Arms Export Control Act, and they are calling on
Congress to investigate U.S. foreign aid to Israel. 15 leaders of
U.S. churches, including Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian,
Disciples of Christ and United Church of Christ officials, along
with other faith-based organizations like the National Council of
Churches, have penned their support.
Dr. Roberta Seid, education research director for StandWithUs, is
troubled by this action.
"We see this letter as a disturbing escalation in the efforts of
Protestant anti-Israel activists," she comments. "They're now going
outside their churches to enlist congressional support for their
Seid asserts those Protestant leaders are using the same
misinformed argument touted by Israel's enemies.
"We're appalled that their letter uses the same irresponsible,
biased accusations that we hear from extremists on campus and
groups like Sabeel, who blame Israel alone for the conflict and
ignore Palestinian intransigents, and even ignore the Palestinian
terror group Hamas, even though it has fired 10,000 rockets into
Israel since 2005," the StandWithUs director notes.
If Israel is found to have violated the U.S. Foreign Assistance
Act and the U.S. Arms Export Control Act, it would no longer
be eligible for U.S. foreign aid.
So, Dr. Seid's group, "appalled at the letter's hypocrisy" and
"destructive" nature, is calling on people of faith to hold the
Protestant leaders accountable.
"These activists want to undermine the U.S.-Israel alliance,
which has brought so many benefits to both countries. They
undermine peace efforts, they never call for the P.A. to return to
negotiations, they're making a travesty of interfaith relations in
the U.S., [and] they ignore the 30,000 being killed in Syria and
the rampant persecution of Christians in the Middle East in the
wake of the Arab Spring," Seid lists.
She contends these activists cannot be "brokers" of peace and is
calling those of faith to take a stand for Israel.
"What we hope is that the people in the pews will hold these
misguided leaders accountable and restore the Protestant churches'
ability to usurp moral leadership and to be sincere peacemakers,"
The letter to Congress reads, "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 disbursements of U.S. military
assistance to Israel contingent on the Israeli government's
compliance with applicable U.S. laws and policies."