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October 22, 2014 | 28th Tishrei 5775

Divestment And Other Economic Actions As Obstacles To The Advancement Of Middle East Peace

PASSED – November 2005

Submitted by Temple Emanuel, Greensboro, NC, and the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism to the 68th Union for Reform Judaism General Assembly

Background

The Union for Reform Judaism is deeply committed to supporting efforts to bring about a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that will fulfill the national aspirations of both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples within the context of peaceful coexistence and mutual recognition. These efforts would allow both peoples to live in peace, dignity and security, relieved of the suffering of generations of violence. Difficult compromises will be required for both sides to come to mutual agreement.

We deeply deplore efforts that blame Israel for the failure of the peace process or that seek to use economic actions against Israel, including singling out for divestment companies working in or doing business with Israel. These efforts are more likely to hinder rather than advance the peace process. Their very aim is to weaken Israel exactly at the time the state must feel strong enough to take real risks. Israel’s adversaries may interpret such actions as endorsing continuation of their strategies of rejectionism and terror. In addition, the one-sided nature of these actions undermines their credibility. They resonate as discriminatory and conjure memories within the Jewish community of the anti-Israel boycott of past years that sought to de-legitimize the very existence of the State of Israel.

We note with pride the substantial role played by leaders of the Reform Movement in addressing these initiatives, both at the national level and within local communities. At the national level, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, and the Joint Commission on Interreligious Affairs of Reform Judaism have taken the lead in convening prominent interfaith leaders to convey our concerns and have provided helpful tools for local communities. Rabbis and congregants at the local level have reached out to clergy and lay members of different denominations to educate and sensitize them to our perspective on these troubling issues. These efforts have made a significant impact on the nature and course of the debate taking place in the interfaith arena.

Therefore, the Union for Reform Judaism resolves to:

  1. Oppose efforts to impose economic sanctions on Israel or on companies working in or doing business with Israel.
  2. Urge religious, civic, labor, academic and other institutions to oppose divestment and other economic sanctions against Israel as tools to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to support efforts to change such policies where they have been adopted;
  3. Encourage those seeking peace to focus their efforts on reconciliation, including the many meaningful coexistence programs that are necessary to foster a generation of Israelis and Palestinians who will work and live side by side and move beyond the teaching of hate and violence; and
  4. Provide leadership in this area and encourage our congregations to engage in dialogue within local communities to build understanding, to develop bridges of communication with those in a position to influence their own organizations’ institutional policies and to explain the counterproductive impact of divestment policies.

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