Dutch Church Council Warns Criticisms of Israel Must Not Forget the Holocaust

The Netherlands Council of Churches, in a statement of solidarity with Israel and the Jewish people against anti-Semitism, declared that criticism of certain Israeli policies must be tempered by the memory of the six million Jews who were annihilated during the Nazi era, which gives special meaning to the Jewish State.

The statement asserted that Christians must not deny the fundamental right of the State of Israel to exist and must not forget the special connection between the Jewish people and the Christian church. “The lasting loyalty of God to the Jewish people and his alliance with Moses has not been superseded by the advent of Jesus Christ,” the statement said.

It noted however that “after early great sympathy for the young State of Israel by which ancient prophecies seemed to be fulfilled, there has been an increasing negative attitude toward Israel since the seventies, caused, among other things, by Israel’s settlement policy and by its expropriation of Arab lands in Galilee.” Nevertheless, the statement cautioned that many Christians held an unrealistic view of Israel which was transformed into harsh criticism when their expectations were not fulfilled.

Other causes of criticism, it said, was the better understanding of the legitimate character of the Palestinian demands and the economic pressure by oil-producing countries. With respect to anti-Semitism, the causes inherent in the Christian tradition must be eliminated, the statement said. “West European Christians can be bridge-builders in bringing into being a real dialogue between Jews and Palestinians.”

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