MONTREAL (May. 31)
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has been accused of bias by the Canadian Jewish Congress for a recent statement that in its title urges recognition of “The Rights of the Palestinian People.”
The bishops’ statement, signed by Archbishop James Hayes of Halifax, president of the conference, urges talks with the Palestine Liberation Organization as a means to try to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
It urges Ottawa “to foster all of the diplomatic steps likely to lead to a solution to the conflict, including talks with the PLO, and to urge the government of Israel to modify its position.”
The statement also requests that the Canadian government urge Arab states to recognize Israel’s right to exist in peace within secure boundaries.
The bishops urge Ottawa to support Israeli Palestinian negotiations within the framework of an international conference, and to provide funds for development projects in Palestinian communities.
Les Scheininger, the newly elected CJC president, issued a statement saying that the title of the bishops’ statement displays bias.
While supporting the bishops’ call for an end to violence and the recognition of Israel by its Arab neighbors, Scheininger said “the tragic loss of life on both sides has been the direct result of Arab violence.”
Scheininger also reiterated the standing Jewish call for the Vatican to extend diplomatic recognition to Israel.