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World Council of Churches Tells Wjc It Rejects UN Resolution Equating Zionism with Racism

August 7, 1985
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At an unprecedented meeting here between the World Council of Churches and the Latin American branch of the World Jewish Congress, the Church Council’s Secretary-General affirmed his organization’s categoric rejection of the United Nations resolution equating Zionism with racism.

Secretary-General Emilio Castro made his remarks during the first-ever meeting between representatives of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches and leaders of Latin American Jewry. Representatives of the Jewish communities of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Venezuela participated in the meeting with Christians from the United States and from various European and Asian countries.

The meeting was coordinated by Dr. David Goldberg, vice president of the WJC Latin American branch and the president of the DAIA, the representative body of Argentinian Jewry. The dialogue concerned the state of the Jewish-Christian relationship in Latin America. It stressed the importance of the existing cooperation between the WCC and the Jewish communities, and the desire of the participants to strengthen this link, particularly through mutual efforts for human rights and democracy.


In the first of the three introductory presentations, Rabbi Pynchas Brener of Caracas stressed the existence of a common Biblical tradition as the keystone of the Jewish-Christian relationship. He expressed his positive evaluation of the Council’s ongoing and firm rejection of any form of anti-Semitism. He also expressed the Jewish communities’ concern in view of certain attempts at proselytizing on the part of some Christian sectors. And he underlined the essential significance of the State of Israel in contemporary Jewish life.

Emilio Castro, who headed the delegation together with the Central Committee moderator, Heinz Joachim Held, also insisted on the urgent need to struggle against anti-Semitism. In expressing the categorical rejection by the Council of the UN resolution equating Zionism with racism, he added that the Council has constantly recognized the reality and legitimacy of the State of Israel, although it reserves the right to question certain actions of the Jewish State.


In the third introductory address, Archbishop Krister Stendhal of Stockholm, moderator of the Committee for the Church and the Jewish People, proclaimed what he called “the basic principle” of interreligious dialogue: “Not to give false testimony” against one’s neighbor. All participants in the dialogue must allow their partners “to define themselves.” He said, “Only by knowing what makes one’s neighbor unhappy, can one learn what makes him happy. Through dialogue that is precisely what we can learn.”

The wide exchange of views which followed among the some 40 participants at the meeting dealt with many of the problems common to Jews and Christians. Several of the Jewish participants stressed the need to understand the significance of the State of Israel, not only in political terms but through its deeper religious meaning, for Jews as well as for Christians.

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