A group of Christian leaders urged the United Nations today to reconsider “the falsehood promulgated in its 1975 resolution declaring Zionism to be a form of Racism,” and called on the Christian community to appreciate the centrality and importance of the State of Israel, as affirmed by the Bible, for the Jewish people.
In a press conference at the Church Center for the United Nations, sponsored by the National Christian Leadership Conference for Israel (NCLC.J) a statement, endorsed by Christian leaders from all parts of the U.S., denounced anti-Semitism and urged Christians to rid themselves of prejudice and hostility “that have been alive among Christians for centuries.”
The statement, entitled “Forty Years Later: Christians Speak Out on Israel And Zionism, ” declared: “As we commemorate the 40th anniversary of the liberation of Europe and the rescue of the survivors of the concentration camps, we send an urgent message to our Christian brothers and sisters: Give special consideration to the meaning of Israel in the thought, faith and life of the Jewish people throughout their long history.
“We reject the notion that the State of Israel’s legitimacy is to be found in the sufferings of the Jewish people during the Holocaust. Yet, we do believe that the horrors of the Nazi era give special meaning to the rebirth of Israel in 1948. It is imperative that all who seek decency and justice among nations show a concern for the survival and well being of Israel.”
DISTORTIONS OF FAITH CITED
The statement continued: “Many Christians seem more comfortable with the concept of the ‘wandering Jew,’ condemned to eternal exile, than with the reality of a sovereign Jewish State. These distortations of faith contribute to unbalanced negativism in some Christian thinking toward the State of Israel, often with sad and disturbing effects.”
Charging that the Zionism-is-racism resolution is “a lie” the statement declared: “We see it as urgent that Christians speak out against the vicious anti-Semitism that hides under the cloak of anti-Zionism …. In the name of morality and truth, we call upon members of the United Nations to repudiate its resolution which declared Zionism to be a form of racism.
“For ten long years this infamous statement has cast a serious doubt on the UN’s adherence to the principles on which it was founded and has contributed to its loss of credibility. We urge leaders in the United States to do everything in their power to remove this scandalous blot from the record of the United Nations.”
COLLECTING SIGNATURES OF ENDORSEMENT
It was announced during the press conference that the NCLCI is undertaking an intensive campaign to collect signatures of endorsement from Christians across the U.S. for today’s statement, which will be presented to Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the General Assembly in October. The signatures will be collected from now until October.
Among the signers of the statement were: Bishop John Burt of the Episcopal Church in America; Dr. Ben Armstrong, executive director of the National Religious Broadcasters; Dr. Eugene Fisher, the Secretariat for Catholic-Jewish Relations, National Conference of Catholic Bishops; Rev. Edward Flannery, Our Lady of Providence Seminary, Rhode Island; Sister Rose Thering, Seton Hall University; Sister Margaret Ellen Traxler, Institute of Women Today.
The NCLCI is a network of individuals and organizations actively engaged in support of Israel. It was established in 1978.
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