For several years I met with a group of Christian and Jewish leaders to discuss how Christians and Jews can talk together about the Middle East. The underlying concern of the Jewish participants was why Mainline Protestant Churches seem, to the Jewish community, to be so unbalanced in their attitudes about Israel. Christian participants wondered why Jews seemed consistently uncritical of Israel. There were eight of us and we met monthly for several years. Some of the conversations were difficult: harsh things were said, some of which were later retracted. We hammered out a statement which delineated some understandings we had established. Two of the most significant were:
1. Not all criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic.
2. Christians do hope and expect more from Israel than other states; e.g. Iran, Saudi Arabia, precisely because we value Israel’s democracy, guarantees of civil liberties and judicial processes. American Christians want Israel to…
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