Saturday, November 22, 2008

Fair Witness Questions the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation

Contact: Christians for Fair Witness on the Middle East, +1-212-870-2320

NEW YORK, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation ("HCEF"), with offices in the United States and Bethlehem, has as its stated mission "to maintain the presence and growth of the Arab Christians in the Holy Land, and to develop bonds of solidarity between them and the Christians in the world."

Christians for Fair Witness on the Middle East was therefore surprised and disturbed by the content and tenor of HCEF's Tenth International Conference, held this past weekend in Washington, D.C., which seemed focused primarily on leveling one-sided accusations against Israel.

Legitimate criticism of bad Israeli policy such as continued settlement building was overshadowed by repeated unreasonable criticism of the Jewish state, while virtually ignoring Palestinian wrongdoing.

There were repeated charges of Israeli racism during the conference, as if Israel were the only country where discrimination against minorities exists -- but not one mention of virulent anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli incitement found in Arab and Palestinian media and school books.

Laments over the failed Oslo peace process omitted any mention of Palestinian rejection of the 2000/2001 peace offer and the ensuing six years of suicide bombing, creating the inference that the continuing occupation was all Israel's fault.

The first speaker, who received cheers and a standing ovation, referred to the founding of Israel in 1948 as a transfer of land from Palestinians to Israelis, as opposed to an attempt on the part of the international community to create a workable two-state solution in a land inhabited by two peoples, each with a legitimate claim. Her allegation that "after 1948 all Palestinians were forced to leave" is patently untrue -- twenty percent of Israeli citizens were and remain Arabs. This same speaker lightheartedly dismissed Palestinian terrorism, while complaining bitterly about the military measures Israel employs in response. Questioning whether some of these measures are excessive and cause unnecessary Palestinian suffering would have been legitimate, had the reality of Palestinian terrorism been addressed with equal fervor.

Much of the conference appeared based on misinformation and distorted facts which tended strongly to identify Israel as the sole or primary cause of conflict. "HCEF's stated goals and charities are laudable. However, I invite its leaders to explain the questionable content of this past weekend's conference," says Fr. James Loughran, S.A., who attended the conference.

SOURCE Christians for Fair Witness on the Middle East

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