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December 21, 2011

ELCA Adds Disclaimer to Blog Entry on Bethlehem Call

ELCA RE Bethlehem Call.jpg
An innocuous disclaimer indicates somebody "gets it."

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is one of the more intellectually robust mainline churches in the United States.

This is not to say the denomination’s witness about the Arab-Israeli conflict is perfect.

The denomination’s “Peace Not Walls” campaign routinely draws attention to alleged Israeli misdeeds while downplaying the bad acts of Israel’s adversaries.

Still, Snapshots is obligated to give credit where credit is due.

ELCA’s “Peace Not Walls” blog posted an entry publicizing The Bethlehem Call, the deeply hostile and incendiary statement issued by the same people who issued the Kairos Palestinian Document in 2009.

It also, however, posted links to two articles critical of the statement, one issued by the B’Nai Brith and the other by the American Jewish Committee.

On this score at least, ELCA’s blog did a decent job of living up to its stated purpose of showing “the breadth of views and opinions surrounding the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”

ELCA’s actions compare well in light of actions of the Global Ministries of the United Church of Christ and the Disciples of Christ whose website serves as a virtual clearing house of anti-Israel propaganda. Over the years, the Global Ministries of the UCC and the Disciples of Christ has become a mainstay of the international campaign of “deligitimization and criminalization” that is lauded and encouraged by The Bethlehem Call.

Apparently, somebody, or maybe several somebodies, at ELCA have started to think that they do not want to go down the same road as the UCC and The Disciples.

Good for them.

In addition to posting the responses from B’Nai Brith and the Disciples of Christ, the “Peace Not Walls” blog has also recently added a disclaimer clearly intended to distance ELCA from the Bethlehem Call’s hostile and incendiary message. The disclaimer states:

The blog of the Peace Not Walls campaign of the ELCA does not endorse the content of items posted or linked by authors. The document known as the ‘Bethlehem Call’ contains several elements not in agreement with ELCA policy concerning Israel and Palestine.

With this short and Innocuous statement, ELCA officials have made it clear that while they are committed to standing in solidarity with Palestinian Christians living in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, they are not going to sign off on or unreflectively re-broadcast every statement issued by the leaders of this community.

This is a good thing.

Posted by dvz at December 21, 2011 05:45 PM

Comments

The blog also contains links to two letters sent to Barak Obama. One letter is to voice ECLA support for Obama's request that Jerusalem negotiate with Abbas based on 1967 borders. The second letter voices strong ECLA support for the PA's request for full statehood admission in the UN. There is also a letter asking Congress to not block financial support to the PA after their recent UN bid.

Finally, the blog promotes a "click here" button that supports "Obama peace initiatives" that doesn't even require readers to read the anti-Israel policies that would undermine serious negotiations. While not endorsing or re-broadcasting every statement that is hostile and incendiary to the peace process, they continue to support a stance that stalls direct negotiations and a true path to peace.

Posted by: Anonymous at December 22, 2011 04:15 PM

THE EVANGILICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH IN AMERICA(ECLA) IS TO BE COMMENDED FOR NOT ENDORSING THE MISGUIDED INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN OF "DELIGITIMIZATION AND CRIMINALIZATION" OF ISRAEL, THAT IS LAUDED AND ENCOURAGED BY THE BETHLEHEM CALL. IT IS INCUMBENT ON ALL REPUTABLE CHURCH BODIES TO BE FAIR AND BALANCED IN REPORTING THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT SO THAT AN EARLY DIRECT NEGOTIATED SETTLEMENT CAN BE FOUND. THIS WAY A LASTING PEACE CAN RESULT.

Posted by: Josh Basson at December 27, 2011 04:23 AM

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