B’nai B’rith International is appalled, but sadly unsurprised, by the latest expression of bigotry against the world's only Jewish state—and indifference to the lives of its citizens of all backgrounds—by two "ecumenical" groups with a long history of finding in agitation against Israel a convenient rallying cause and springboard for greater public visibility.
The Geneva-based World Council of Churches (WCC) and the New York-based National Council of Churches (NCC) held a joint "consultation" this week near Washington, D.C., ostensibly intended to mobilize on promoting Israeli-Palestinian peace. But the groups made overt their utter disinterest in balance, nuance and constructiveness, preferring instead to find a scapegoat for continued conflict in Israel, the Middle East's sole democracy and a rare regional country home to continuously growing Christian and other minority populations.
The WCC and NCC— which clearly do not represent all Christians, many of whom see care for Jews and Israelis as vital, not antithetical, to advancing peace and justice—know that their continued anti-Israel agitation will not result in adverse effects for Christian inhabitants of and visitors to that country.
Conversely, the embracing of vicious anti-Israel dogma is considered all too obligatory in many Middle Eastern and other states, not least those home to vulnerable Christians. Thus, a small number of Christian organizations apparently see fit to join in unjustly and obsessively attacking Israel while remaining quiet on the records of so many counterparts, in the region and beyond, with immeasurably less honorable records in making sacrifices for peace and upholding human rights.
A statement by the heads of the WCC and NCC, issued after their consultation, asserted that "no people should be denied their rights for generations" and that Israel "has commanding power... and, thus, bears special responsibility for taking the initiative" to achieve peace. It also singled out the United States with a specific call to curb vital defense aid to Israel and to ensure impunity for campaigns urging economic discrimination "to influence policy in Israel."
No similar pressure tactics were advocated— and no specific criticism or demands were leveled—at any Arab government or group, or their backers. Israelis are not seen among those denied rights, and the dozens of Muslim states, let alone violent non-state actors answerable to no one, are not seen to wield any power or serious obligations.
By maintaining this posture of double standards and one-way vilification, the WCC and NCC have again shown themselves to be unprepared to contribute to actual peacemaking—and complicit in morally corrupt efforts to isolate, demonize and harm the world's only Jewish country.