ADL Pulls Out of Interfaith Dialogue Over Letter Urging Rethink of U.S. Aid to Israel

Withdrawal announced in protest at letter sent by Christian leaders to Congress, urging a reevaluation of U.S. military aid to Israel.

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The Anti-Defamation League on Wednesday announced that it was withdrawing from a national Jewish-Christian interfaith dialogue in protest at a letter sent by Christian leaders to Congress on Monday, which called for a reevaluation of U.S. military aid to Israel.

The letter, signed by leaders of the Lutheran, Methodist, UCC churches, and the National Council of Churches, called for an investigation into possible violations by Israel of the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act and the U.S. Arms Export Control Act, which would make Israel ineligible for U.S. military aid.

ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman said the organization had pulled out of the October 22 event as those behind the letter, which he described as a "biased attack" against Israel, had failed to provide any warning to Jewish participants in the planned interfaith dialogue before it was sent out to members of Congress.

“In light of the failure of any of the church leaders to reach out to us, we have decided not to attend this interfaith meeting,” said Foxman. "The blatant lack of sensitivity by the Protestant dialogue partners we had been planning to meet with has seriously damaged the foundation for mutual respect, which is essential for meaningful interfaith dialogue,” he added.

Monday's letter stated: "As Christian leaders in the United States, it is our moral responsibility to question the continuation of unconditional U.S. financial assistance to the government of Israel. Realizing a just and lasting peace will require this accountability, as continued U.S. military assistance to Israel -- offered without conditions or accountability -- will only serve to sustain the status quo and Israel’s military occupation of the Palestinian territories."

The letter was criticized by a number of Jewish groups after it was sent out.

Foxman called on other Jewish organizations to follow the ADL's lead and withdraw from the event: “We hope that other Jewish organizations will understand the level of disrespect the American Jewish community is being shown here and join us in withdrawing from the interfaith gathering."

ADL national chairman Abraham Foxman.Credit: Dan Keinan

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