B’nai B’rith International commends the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops for rejecting an irresponsible and bigoted motion for anti-Israel divestment that the denomination’s House of Deputies passed earlier this week.
At the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, the House of Deputies voted to “end the Episcopal Church’s complicity in the 51 year old occupation” of Palestinian-claimed territories — singling out only one side of one conflict for punitive economic measures, ignoring all that Israel has sacrificed and attempted in a long pursuit of genuine peace, and disregarding the predominant, continuing responsibility of Palestinian leaders for the suffering of both Israelis and Palestinians.
B’nai B’rith thanks the House of Bishops for returning to a more responsible course on the question of economic warfare explicitly directed against Israel, and for also rejecting the profoundly odious charge of “apartheid” against the Middle East’s only pluralistic democracy and the world’s only Jewish state.
At the same time, in an echo of several other mainline denominations, the church considered a wildly disproportionate number of motions singling out Israel for opprobrium — roughly a dozen — with several being adopted. Among these was one wrongly blaming Israel for the deaths of Palestinian rioters and terror operatives, among others, deliberately put in harm’s way in Gaza by Hamas, the jihadist group that controls the territory. Failing to recognize the violence and fanatic doctrine of those openly committed to the murder of Israelis and to Israel’s destruction serves neither Palestinians nor peace.
In 2015, the Episcopal Church overwhelmingly voted down a resolution promoting anti-Israel divestment and boycotts at the church’s General Convention in Salt Lake City. Discrimination, stridency and hostility have no place in a healthy Christian-Jewish relationship and in pursuing a fair, lasting and comprehensive Middle East peace.