New Dialogue Aims to Repair Christian-Jewish Relations

June 8, 2005

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

On June 8, 2005 The Christian Science Monitor reported, "In the post-9/11 world, where religion infuses events with more intensity, the demands on interfaith dialogue are rising. For American Jews and mainline Christians who have worked during the past year to renew a dormant national dialogue, the stakes are especially high. They are seeking to come to terms with major differences over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - a necessary first step toward restoring their historical alliance on issues of civil liberties and social justice in the United States. Their effort hit a snag last summer. Some churches, upset about the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, began asking whether they should use economic leverage - namely, divestment - in protest. This sparked an emotional reaction on the part of Jews across the country, raising ghosts of Christian-Jewish history and forcing leaders to move beyond the polite conversation stage. After several frank and wrenching sessions during the year, the dialogue - among leaders of about 15 major organizations, federations, and denominations - came close to a meltdown last month. But instead they agreed at a May 13 meeting in Washington to visit Israel and the territories together, to see the situation through one another's eyes and seek common ground for action."