Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Is the ELCA anti-Israel?

I attended our Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Synod Assembly, where one of the resolutions that was adopted was the call for a "two state" solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Well, fair enough perhaps, but this is a substantial political ante by Israel. Did the resolution explicitly call for a similar concession by the political authority of the Palestinians, namely the recognition of the right of Israel to exist, and renounciation of terrorism? Nope.

Another major theme at the meeting was the "Separation Wall" that Israel is erecting between West Bank Palestinian regions, Jewish settlements, and Israel. The ELCA is calling for the immediate halt to construction of the wall, citing the hardship that it creating for many Palestinians. Attendees were shown a well-crafted video documenting the plight of Palestinian families, and appeal by the Jerusalem Bishop of the ELCA for American Lutherans to join in the opposition to the wall, and a comments by an official of the Israeli government.

Yes, it's causing such hardship. It's also helped to reduce the number of suicide bombings in Israel. And this seems to be the 800-pound gorilla that the ELCA leadership will not acknowledge in the discussion. Peace in the Mideast must begin with cessation of sixty years of Arab hostilities toward Israel. It's a simple request: stop the terror killings of Jews and abandon efforts to annihilate Israel. Simple - but not easy. The ELCA's reluctance to clearly recognize this essential ingredient to Mideast peace is baffling.

The ELCA's positions on advocacy in the Middle East can be found here.

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