Presbyterians, Jews Seek to Mend Fences after Investment Split

December 5, 2006

Author: Peter Smith

Source: The Courier-Journal

Several top Presbyterian and Jewish leaders have pledged to work more closely together to avoid a repeat of the recent bitter fight over whether the church would pull some investments from Israel.

"We affirm that peace for Israel and the Palestinians should be built on the foundations of security, justice and the establishment of two viable states," said a joint statement issued yesterday in the wake of a Nov. 29 meeting at the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s headquarters in Louisville. "Our specific approaches to peace differ, but we believe that we can, and must, be strong advocates together -- and together with other Christian and Muslim colleagues -- for a renewed peace process," it said.

The statement was signed by the Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick, the Presbyterians' stated clerk; and top officials in three denominations -- Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist -- that represent the center and left of American Judaism and a majority of religious Jews here.

The statement sought to heal the strains between the groups -- long allies on interfaith endeavors -- that followed the decision by the Presbyterians' 2004 General Assembly to move toward pulling investments from companies operating in Israel.