AJC Applauds as Methodists Eschew Divestment and Proselytizing

May 2, 2008 – New York -- The American Jewish Committee applauds the United Methodist Church’s (UMC) rejection of divestment from companies doing business with Israel.

"We thank our friends in the UMC who sought balance in their efforts to foster peace between Israelis and Palestinians," said Rabbi Gary Greenebaum, AJC's U.S. Director of Interreligious Affairs. “We’re glad to see that the moderation which has been the hallmark of our ongoing partnership was present at this important juncture.”

Delegates at the UMC general conference had been considering several resolutions that specifically targeted Israel for divestment. The conference decided to ignore each of these petitions.       

AJC remained committed to its ties to the UMC even when some within the church advocated strongly in favor of divestment. The UMC’s decision not to divest validates a deep commitment to dialogue and engagement.

"We feel confident that this positive step strengthens Methodist support for the peace process and strengthens Methodist-Jewish ties across the country,” said Greenebaum.

AJC also welcomed the United Methodist resolutions regarding proselytizing of Jews and Holocaust awareness.  On Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, the church rededicated itself to “find ways to support the work against anti-Semitism in the world today” as well as giving “special programmatic emphasis to Holocaust awareness” and urged observance of Yom HaShoah. 

The UMC also condemned “any and all forms of evangelism which are coercive in their nature, violent in their means, or anti-Semitic in their intent.”   

"We are deeply moved by the UMC’s critical look at Christian treatment of Jews in the past," said Greenebaum who attended the General Conference in Ft. Worth.

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