The United Church of Christ and Israel-Palestine
The places of Israel and Palestine are dear to the United Church of Christ as Christians—because of the Biblical history centered there, because of the people (brothers and sisters in Christ, as well as Jews and Muslims) who are suffering there, and because of the call we accept to seek justice and pursue peace.
The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is one of the most enduring conflicts of our time.
Through its historic connection, the UCC remains deeply concerned about the violence perpetrated through acts of terror and by Occupation. Realities on the ground contradict the vision for resolution of the conflict we share. The UCC has participated in ministry with Palestinian Christians for decades, and engages in mission partnerships with Palestinian and Israeli organizations.
The UCC has been consistent in statements and positions on the Middle East through recent decades. In the setting of General Synod, delegates have been clear in their visions and hopes for Israelis and Palestinians, dating back to 1967.
In addition to voicing opposition of violence perpetrated in the region, the UCC General Synod has affirmed Israel’s right to exist within a secure and internationally recognize boundary (1987, 1991); asserted Palestinians’ rights to their own state in an independent, contiguous and viable state neighboring Israel (1987, 1989, 1991); called for the end of settlement expansion (1991, 1997); criticized the separation barrier (2005); and called for the use of economic leverage to promote peace (2005).
The 2015 General Synod adopted a resolution on actions for a just peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that calls the church to divest from companies that profit from the occupation of Palestinian land, boycott products made by companies that operate in illegal Israeli settlements, advocate to Congress to ensure Israel’s compliance in receiving $3.1 billion annually in military aid is compliant with U.S. laws in light of Israeli human rights violations in the occupied territories, study of the Kairos Palestine document and strengthening interfaith relationships with Jewish and Muslim communities.
All of the UCC’s General Synod resolutions related to Israel/Palestine can be found online.
UCC leadership joined ecumenical colleagues in 2012 in calling on Congress to examine Israel’s adherence to US law, related to the $3 billion worth of military aid the US send Israel annually. The denomination remains committed to interfaith relationship, having previously condemned anti-Semitism in all forms, affirmed its relationship with the Muslim community, and expressed solidarity with Muslims who have been vilified.
The UCC was well-represented at a major conference hosted by the Carter Center in Atlanta in April 2016. It was called, “Pursuing Peace and Strengthening Presence: The Atlanta Summit of Churches in the USA and the Holy Land,” which resulted in a final Summit declaration of commom committments.
A comprehensive summary of the UCC’s witness on peace between Palestine and Israel in the last 10 years, prepared by the national officers of the church, is available on the UCC website.