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Press Release

Kairos USA 'A Poison Pill' For Christian-Jewish Relations

New York, NY, June 22, 2012 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called a new document produced by a group of American Christians that labels Israeli policies as inherently evil and excuses Palestinian violence, "a poison pill for Christian-Jewish relations."

The document, "Call to Action: U.S. Response to the Kairos Palestine Document: A Word of Confession and Faith from Christians in the United States" is part of an anti-Israel initiative put forward by a group of American Christian activists who promote boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel and claim to speak for all Christians in America.

"This document is a deeply cynical and biased response to the already seriously flawed original Kairos document," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "It amounts to a flagrantly one-sided, anti-Israel diatribe. The U.S. proponents of Kairos are doing a monumental disservice to those truly interested in bringing peace between the Israelis and Palestinians and are offering a roadmap to disrupting years of progress in interfaith relations between Christians and Jews at the grassroots level in America."

Kairos USA was issued earlier this week as an American Christian response supporting the original 2009 Kairos Palestine document. The original was a toxic mix of bad history, politically motivated distortions and dangerous religious and theological attacks against Judaism and Israel. It included the heinous charge that some of Israel's actions toward the Palestinians are "a sin against God."

The authors of Kairos USA distort the history of the region, demonize Israel and reject Jewish historical and theological connection to the land, according to ADL. Kairos USA denies Jewish self-understanding, engages in the theological equivalent of denying the religious legitimacy of Judaism, falsely blames injustices against Palestinians for fueling the radicalization of Islam, and promotes the anti-Semitic canard of a powerful American Jewish and Christian lobby stifling debate over Israeli policies.

"We in the American Jewish community encourage healthy debate on issues surrounding the Israel-Palestinian conflict, but we reject one-sided demagoguery," said Mr. Foxman. "This document is antithetical to peacemaking and is potentially a poison pill for relations between Christians and Jews in communities across America.

"We call on all people of good will, religious and non-religious, to reject the blatantly biased Kairos USA and join with those in the Jewish-Christian interfaith community working towards a balanced and accurate understanding of the issues, and promoting positive alternatives for a secure and fair peace for Israelis and Palestinians," said Foxman.

The Kairos USA Committee was composed by American Christians some of whom are well known as advocating anti-Israel positions cloaked in the rhetoric of peacemaking. They are: Gary Burge, Wheaton College; Pauline Coffman, Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA); Elizabeth W. Corrie, Candler School of Theology; Serge Duss, Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding; Rev. Cotton Fite, Episcopal Peace Fellowship/Palestine Israel Network; Tom Getman, The Getman Group; Rev. Steven D. Martin, New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good; Allison K. Schmitt, Kairos USA; Rick Ufford-Chase, Presbyterian Peace Fellowship; Rev. Donald Wagner, Friends of Sabeel North America; and Bishop Don Williams, United Church of Jesus Christ.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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