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Reform Movement Deeply Concerned by Congressional Letter from Christian Denominational Leaders

Rabbis Jacobs, Saperstein and Stein: "Unfortunately, by calling for hearings only on aid to Israel and not mentioning the aid given by the U.S. to the Palestinian Authority or other regimes in the region that contribute to the state of relations between Israel and her neighbors, the letter can be used by those who seek to drive a wedge between the U.S. and Israel."

Contact: Sean Thibault or Raechel Banks
202.387.2800 | news@rac.org

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 10, 2012 -- In response to a letter sent recently by Christian leaders to members of Congress calling for an investigation of U.S. aid to Israel, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union of Reform Judaism; Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism; and Rabbi Jonathan Stein, President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, issued the following statement:

"We are deeply concerned by the letter sent recently to members of Congress by a group of Christian denominational leaders calling for an investigation of aid to Israel. The letter mischaracterizes the situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories, wrongly holds only Israel accountable for problems in the region, and does not advance the regional and security interests of the U.S. Rather than foster the cause of peace that we all share, this letter has the potential to sow division.

The letter ostensibly tries to make a case that appears fair in its characterization of the situation between Israel and the Palestinians. Unfortunately, by calling for hearings only on aid to Israel and not mentioning the aid given by the U.S. to the Palestinian Authority or other regimes in the region that contribute to the state of relations between Israel and her neighbors, the letter can be used by those who seek to drive a wedge between the U.S. and Israel. In the pursuit of peace, we must not place responsibility on just one side.

U.S. foreign aid to and support for Israel is in America's best interests and a wise investment. Not only is Israel a staunch American ally, sharing interests and values, but it also is the only fully democratic nation in the turbulent Middle East. We must never be afraid to speak frankly when we have disagreements, but we must also remember the need to stand united as a faith community and beyond in support of peace, rather than divided over who is to blame."

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1,800 Reform rabbis. Visit www.rac.org for more.



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