On July 18, the United Church of Christ General Synod passed a resolution that labelled Israel as an apartheid state, after more than three-quarters (83 percent) of delegates voted in favour. In clearly stating that it “reject[ed] Israel’s apartheid system of laws and legal procedures”, it became the first major U.S. denomination to take this position.
The UCC affirmed the right of Palestinian refugees to return to Palestine and the constitutional right of Americans to protest Israel’s actions through BDS. They rejected “the idea that any criticism of policies of the State of Israel is inherently antisemitic” and any theology or ideology, particularly Christian Zionism, that “would privilege or exclude any one nation, race, culture, or religion”. They advocated “cessation of U.S. military aid to Israel” until Palestinian rights are “fully realized and protected”. They faulted a number of US policies including moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, and they endorsed Palestinian Christian leaders’ landmark declaration of 2020 entitled “Cry for Hope: A Call for Decisive Action.”
The resolution expressed hope other Christian denominations would follow its example and denounce “continued oppression of the Palestinian people” while supporting full equal rights for Palestinians.