Jewish groups canceled an annual interfaith meeting scheduled for today and tomorrow, known as the Christian-Jewish Roundtable, in protest of a letter Protestant and Catholic leaders sent to Congress earlier this month. Jewish representatives said there had been a “lack of communication” prior to the release of the letter, which called for an investigation into “Israeli human rights violations committed against Palestinian civilians.”
In the letter, Christian leaders asked Congress to make U.S. military aid to Israel dependant upon Israel’s curbing of rights violations—identified as the killing of Palestinian civilians, suppression of peaceful protests, and house demolitions in the West Bank. Signers included representatives of the United Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church (USA), United Church of Christ, National Council of Churches USA, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, American Baptist Churches USA, and other Protestant and Catholic groups.
“The participation of these leaders in yet another one-sided anti-Israel campaign cannot be viewed apart from the vicious anti-Zionism that has gone virtually unchecked in several of these denominations,” responded Rabbi Steve Gutow, president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.
Along with the JCPA, the American Jewish Committee and five other Jewish groups criticized the Christian leaders in a statement last week, canceling the scheduled roundtable and calling for a separate meeting of senior officials from both traditions to “determine a more positive path forward for our communities.”