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Presbyterians, Jewish Leaders Discuss Israel

In the face of mounting criticism of the Presbyterian Church (USA) controversial vote to withdraw selected investments from Israel, pro-Israel Presbyterian leaders met with Jewish officials to discuss how to neutralize the church action before the divestment process begins in March 2005.

About 25 clergy and laypeople met at Auburn Theological Seminary in Manhattan, N.Y., on September 14 in response to concern on both sides about the potential domino effect that the divestment vote could have on other mainline Protestant churches’ policies toward Israel.

Presbyterians attending the meeting were part of an ad-hoc group called “Presbyterians Concerned for Jewish-Christian Relations.” The group, a dormant 20-year-old committee, was revived last month because of the divestment controversy and three other perceived anti-Jewish resolutions unexpectedly approved by the Presbyterian Church’s General Assembly in July, concerning messianic congregations, “Christian Zionism” and Israel’s security fence.

Attending the meeting were Rabbi Gary Bretton-Granatoor of the Anti-Defamation League, Rabbi James Rudin of the American Jewish Committee, Rabbi Daniel Brenner of the Auburn Theological Seminary and Rabbi Yitzchak Edelstein of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.




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