Leaders of Conservative Movement Stand with Israel, U.S., Against Enhanced Palestinian Status at U.N.
NEW YORK – Today, the United Nations General Assembly voted to grant the Palestinian Authority’s non-member observer status at the UN. Calling the outcome a diversion to peace between Israel and the Palestinians, the leaders of the two international organizations of Conservative Judaism were critical of today’s UN vote, which grants the Palestinian Authority de facto statehood. The Rabbinical Assembly, the international umbrella organization for Conservative rabbis, and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the movement’s North American congregations, together issued the following statement:
Gerald Skolnik, RA President, said, “We speak for Conservative Jews across the United States and internationally when we emphasize in no uncertain terms that a vote on the Palestinians receiving enhanced status in the United Nations is counterproductive as long as Palestinian leadership continues to refuse to engage in direct peace negotiations with Israel.”
Julie Schonfeld, RA Executive Vice President, saluted the Obama administration for its support of Israel, “We are grateful that President Obama and his administration understand and respect the fundamental point of direct negotiations with no preconditions and stand with Israel. We call upon the governments of the United States, Israel and the Palestinian Authority, as well as the United Nations, to prioritize lasting peace in the Middle East and to return to direct negotiations with no preconditions. We pray for peaceful resolution culminating in a two-state solution achieved peacefully and cooperatively.”
Added Steve Wernick, Chief Executive Officer of the USCJ, “Peace in the Middle East must remain one of the top priorities of the UN, and until we know that the Palestinians are willing to participate in peaceful and productive negotiations with Israel, no international governmental body should reward them with increased recognition.”
USCJ President, Richard Skolnik, took note of the irony of today’s date. “Sixty-five years ago – to the very day – the United Nations approved the partition plan. Over half a century passed since the Palestinians passed on the chance at statehood. Today’s vote does not overwrite history.”