COLUMBUS, Ohio – State Representatives Candice Keller (R-Middletown) and Darrell Kick (R-Loudonville) watched as House Concurrent Resolution 11 (HCR 11), which recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, passed out of the Federalism Committee on Wednesday. The vote was 7 to 2, with the only two Democratic members present, Reps. Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati) and Joe Miller (D-Amherst), voting “no.” Also opposed to HCR 11 was the United Church of Christ which offered public testimony.
Pamela Beck spoke on behalf of the United Church of Christ Palestine-Israel Network (UCC-PIN). In her testimony, Beck admits to founding UCC-PIN-Ohio and being “…an active supporter of Jewish Voice for Peace.” The Anti-Defamation League position on the organization states:
Jewish Voice for Peace is a radical anti-Israel activist group that advocates for a complete economic, cultural and academic boycott of the state of Israel. JVP rejects the view that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a tragic dispute over land which has been perpetuated by a cycle of violence, fear, and distrust on both sides, in favor of the belief that Israeli policies and actions are motivated by deeply rooted Jewish racial chauvinism and religious supremacism.”
Beck claimed the information provided in the Resolution was “inaccurate” and “deceptive.” She quoted the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, a liberal Jewish group, that told Congress just last week, “…the Reconstructionist Jews recognize that Israel abuses, illegally imprisons and kills Palestinian children, among numerous other violations of Palestinian (Christian and Muslim) human and civil rights.”
“The situation for Arab Christians and Arab Muslims in Israel and the Occupied Territories is desperate,” Beck wrote in her testimony. “The freedom and the livelihood of Palestinians – Muslims and Christians who live well together — is being destroyed.”
Michael Goldstein, General Counsel and State Director from Proclaiming Justice to the Nations Ohio Chapter, was a strong supporter of the Resolution in the last General Assembly. He and his organization were unable to speak on behalf of HCR 11, but he told The Ohio Star in an email that they remain strong advocates. He also had quit a bit to share about the UCC.
In June, 2015 the UCC held its world-wide General Synod 30 at the Cleveland Convention Center. Up for an approval vote at that convention were about 40 single-spaced pages of BDS anti-Israel resolutions. My wife, Beverly, who ran for Congress against Marcia Fudge the following year and again in 2018, created a flyer opposing the resolutions, and together with many volunteers we handed them out to church members as they entered the Convention Center. The organizers tried to get the police to make us leave the sidewalk outside the Center, but the police declined to do so. Through the doors we saw organizers taking our flyers away from members who were holding them.”
Goldstein also wrote, “In my opinion, the UCC one of the most virulently anti-Semitic Christian denominations. Some of their members did testify against HCR 10, and their testimony was almost entirely non-factual.” HCR 10 from the 132nd General Assembly condemned anti-semitic acts including the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Another organization that has denounced UCC as anti-semitic is The Algemeiner, a New York-based, Jewish-focused paper. In March they wrote, “It [UCC] weighs in on the side of the Palestinians against Israel every time that it opens its mouth about the conflict.”
Reps. Keller and Kick introduced their Jerusalem-supporting Resolution in response to President Trump’s announcement of formal recognition of Israel’s capital nearly two years ago.
“‘On December 6th, 2017, at my direction, the United States finally and officially recognized Jerusalem as the true capital of Israel. Today we follow through on this recognition and open our embassy in the historic and sacred land of Jerusalem.’ #USEmbassyJerusalem,” the White House tweeted.
In the House Federalism Committee, neither Beck’s opposition nor that of the two men who also spoke against the resolution were able to dissuade the majority of committee members from approving HCR 11. It now waits to be heard by the full House for a vote. If approved the Resolution will go to the Senate for consideration.
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