[ United Church responds to Canadian Jewish Congress decision to suspend participation in Canadian Christian Jewish Consultation ]
For Immediate Release, Wednesday, April 10, 2002
Toronto: The United Church of Canada receives with deep regret the announcement from the Canadian Jewish Congress of their decision to suspend participation in the Canadian Christian Jewish Consultation. We continue to be committed to dialogue and are available to resume conversation at any time.
The consultation has brought together, for over 30 years, representatives of Canadian churches including the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, the United, Anglican, Presbyterian and Lutheran churches with representatives of the Canadian Jewish Congress. The United Church of Canada through this time has deeply valued the opportunities to share information and positions on matters of common concern with Jewish colleagues in Canada.
Over the course of the years of the dialogue the events in Israel and Palestine have consistently been a matter of deep concern in the relationship, and in particular the events of the last 18 months have revealed significant differences between our communities. We believe the ability to name and address these differences in understanding and perspective are critical to dealing with the significant crisis, which concerns us all.
It is our conviction that there will be no peaceful solution that does not guarantee both peoples, Palestinians and Israelis, the right to exist in security and freedom in their own states. It is clear that no military solution can bring about peace. This means that any peaceful solution must be negotiated and built on the framework of international law. The resolution of the illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel must be addressed in any movement towards peace.
The United Church of Canada has frequently been accused of being silent in the face of suicide terrorism. As the Moderator of the United Church stated in her recent letter to the National Post, the Church deplores all acts of terrorism, those that are individual and those that are state sponsored, by both Israelis and Palestinians. The letter also stated our deep sorrow over the tragic deaths of so many people both, Israelis and Palestinians. It also reaffirmed our passionate concern for the security and well being of Israel.
The United Church deplores the recent outbreak of antisemitic attacks on Jewish persons and property throughout the world and alarmingly present in Canada. We repudiate any suggestion that disagreement with the policies of the state of Israel should lead to attacks against the Jewish people.
The United Church of Canada has always cherished the opportunity to engage in dialogue with the Jewish community. We stand in solidarity with them in their concern for security and peace for Israel. At the same time we lift up the rights of the Palestinian people for peace with justice. Holding these two positions together we realize has created significant challenges for the Canadian Jewish Congress. We express our hope that our common desire for peace will overcome our differences.
For further information, please contact:
Mary-Frances Denis ,
The United Church of Canada
Tel: 416.231.7680 ext. 2016
The United Church of Canada, 10-Apr-2002 www.united-church.ca/news/2002/0410.shtm