NEW YORK (Sep. 10)
Three national Jewish organizations have charged the National Council of Churches (NCC) with evasion of its moral and religious responsibilities when it endorsed outgoing UN Ambassador Andrew Young’s challenge to the United States and Israel to desist from their “no talk policy” with the Palestine Liberation Organization.
A joint statement released by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, the American Jewish Committee and the Synagogue Council of America, including the Interreligious Affairs Department of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations expressed regret that the NCC’s Executive Committee upheld Young’s position “without demanding that, as a precondition, the PLO abandori its covenant which specifically calls for the destruction of Israel” and ceases its “self-confessed acts of terrorism against innocent civilians throughout the world.”
“The failure of the Executive Committee of the NCC to demand the cessation of these acts and the rejection of the notorious PLO Covenant is to avoid the moral issue that religious organizations must not evade ” the joint statement said. “The repre sentatives of America’s largest grouping of Protestant and Orthodox Churches have failed to face the moral and religious issue underlying America’s no-talk policy with the terrorist Palestine Liberation Organization.”
The NCC’s Executive Committee, meeting here last Friday, paid “special tribute” to Young on the occasion of his resignation as the chief U.S. delegate to the UN. “surrounded by issues in the Middle East conflict which have been the special concern of the NCCUSA for many years.”
After nothing that Young, an ordained clergyman, is a former NCC staff member and “a long-time partner of this Council in its struggle for racial and economic justice,” the Executive Committee said:
“We find ourselves in fundamental agreement with the remarks he made to his UN Security Council colleagues on August 23, 1979, Consistent with his belief that dialogue is indispensable to peace, he challenged the United States and Israel to desist from their no-talk policy with the Palestine Liberation Organization, while at the same time challenging those nations hostile to Israel to have good relations with it. He underscored also the futility of a continued policy of mutual violence. A quite similar position has been expressed by the NCC over the years.”