Israeli ‘apartheid’ is antithetical to our values, Chicago Episcopalians say, by nearly 3 to 1 | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Israeli ‘apartheid’ is antithetical to our values, Chicago Episcopalians say, by nearly 3 to 1

If you are looking to measure the past year’s dramatic rise in Americans’ awareness and rejection of the Israeli system that oppresses Palestinians, the November 20 vote by the Episcopalians of Chicago offers a metric. The annual convention of their diocese resolved, 72 percent to 28 percent, to call out Israel as meeting the legal definition of apartheid and to condemn that as “antithetical” to their values [text of the resolution below]. Just last year, in contrast, they had declined to pass virtually the same resolution, voting 58-42 against.

The Chicagoans’ big shift is part of a gathering wave of similar statements by so-called mainline, largely liberal, Christian denominations. Thus, only days earlier, Atlanta’s Presbyterians also declared — by a whopping 95 percent — that Israel meets the legal definition of apartheid.

But while the Chicago metric and Atlanta’s breakthrough may show that these denominations — which represent millions of churchgoers — are fed up with waiting for Israel to act like the democracy it claims to be, it’s still unclear whether this means the churches will become a stronger force for change. The question remains open whether their members will so take to heart the Palestinians’ cause that they will push church leaders to overcome their natural reluctance to wade into an acrimonious controversy in a dedicated way against longtime pro-Israel allies in the Jewish mainstream and in the Democratic Party establishment.