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March 28, 2014 2:22 pm

Jewish Groups Renew Dialogue With Mainline Protestant Leaders

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An IDF Caterpillar D9—a machine that often comes under fire when the Presbyterian Church considers divestment from companies doing business with Israel. Photo: MathKnight. The heads of several Jewish and Christian organizations and denominations met in New York City on Thursday in the first such gathering since they severed ties in October 2012, when several mainline Protestant groups wrote to Congress calling for the investigation of alleged Israeli human rights abuses and the end of U.S. aid to Israel.

After their summit on Thursday, the participants issued a joint statement reaffirming their commitment to establishing a “national dialogue of Christian and Jewish leaders.”

“We affirm a strong commitment to continue working together on domestic and international issues of common concern. We will aspire to genuine and ongoing dialogue related to Israeli-Palestinian issues, seeking to identify and discuss, in respect and humility, areas of real or potential disagreement and of real and potential cooperation,” they said.

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The Jewish leaders—from the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee, B’nai B’rith International, Union of Reform Judaism, Rabbinical Assembly, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, and Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism—met with heads of a number of mainline Protestant denominations, including the Evangelical Lutheran Church, United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, and Presbyterian Church USA.

Over the course of the last decade, several mainline Protestant denominations have been highly critical of Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians, and some have even expressed support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.

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