Reform Movement Focuses on Follow-Up To UN Vote Upgrading Palestinian Status

In a new policy statement adopted by the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Reform Jewish Movement addressed the full array of issues flowing from the decision of the UN to upgrade the official status of the Palestinians.

The statement, adopted overwhelmingly after a full debate by more than 200 board members at yesterday’s meeting of the Union of Reform Judaism’s North American Board of Trustees, “Condemn[s] the Palestinian Authority for the unilateral decision to seek upgraded status at the United Nation as counterproductive to the cause of peace, and express[es] … deep concern to those countries that supported the upgraded status, and to those who abstained.”

The resolution, which is available here, was supported by the Zionist arms of the Reform Movement, ARZA and ARZA Canada.  The Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) fully endorsed the resolution last night.

The resolution “Commend[s] the U.S. and Canada for their forceful and consistent efforts to prevent consideration of, and for their votes against, the General Assembly’s decision to upgrade the Palestinian’s status.” It further urges the “United States and Canada to act assertively in facilitating a return to negotiations and to take other steps that would strengthen the prospects for a negotiated two-state solution.”

The URJ and the CCAR also reiterated longstanding concern about Israeli settlement building, and expressed opposition to the Israeli government’s plans to move forward with building in the critical E1 area. The resolutions note that “Settlements in E1 – the area connecting Jerusalem to a city which is one of the larger Israeli settlements – would split the Ramallah region off from Bethlehem, effectively cutting the West Bank in two and making a contiguous Palestinian state virtually impossible.” It further said that “Building there makes progress toward peace far more challenging, and is difficult to reconcile with the Government of Israel’s stated commitment to a two-state solution. At the same time, we recognize that this week’s action – beginning the permitting process for new settlement – is only the first step in a long, and by no means inevitable, process.”