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Clergy Condemn BDS

February 2, 2012 By:
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A group of more than a dozen Christian clergy members have signed on to a statement condemning this weekend's Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Conference at the University of Pennsylvania.

According to the statement, the BDS movement "does not explicitly support the internationally recognized goal of two states, Israeli and Palestinian, living side by side in peace and security -- and therein rests an implicit rejection of the right of self-determination of the State of Israel as a Jewish homeland."

The Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia spearheaded the effort to craft a statement, with the help of the local chapters of the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee.

Adam Kessler, executive director of the JCRC, said that the language of the page-long statement was largely crafted by the clearly members themselves. For a full version, click here.

The 14 signers consisted mostly of Main Line Protestant clergy members, including: Rev. William Borror, pastor of the Media Presbyterian Church; the Rev. Cynthia Jarvis, minister of the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, Rev. David A. Canan, rector of the Trinity Episcopal Charch; and Rev. James Pollard, pastor of the Zion Baptist Church of Ardmore.

Dr. Philip Cunningham, director of the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations at St. Joseph's University and William Madges were the lone Catholic signers of the statement.

Nationally, the Presbyterian church and several other Main Line Protestant groups have repeatedly raised the issue of targeted divestment of certain Israeli products and companies. Locally, Borror has been among the movement's leaders in combating such efforts.

The clergy members also stated that "without a clear recognition of both Palestinian and Israeli narratives, there can be no stability in the region."

The members also said in their statement that the BDS movement "stresses the rights, not responsibilities, of the Palestinians, and the responsibilities, not rights, of the people of Israel, for example by failing to acknowledge that the Palestinian leadership shares in the responsibility for the failure of past negotiations."

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