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CRC Leader Disconcerted by Jerusalem Declaration


According to Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), the declaration by United States president Donald Trump that the U.S. will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is a grave threat to future peace. The Christian Reformed Church is a partner member of CMEP.

Rev. Reginald Smith, director of the Christian Reformed Church’s Office of Social Justice and Office of Race Relations, said, “The president’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital is disconcerting. From the trip to the Middle East, I found grave problems with Israel’s relationship with our Palestinian brothers and sisters. The president’s move overshadows courageous efforts by Jews, Christians, and Muslims who are working for peaceful solutions in the region.”

Smith was referring to a recent trip he took to the Middle East with Rev. Shannon Jammal-Hollemans, racial justice team leader for the OSJ and RR, and Colin Watson, Sr., the CRC’s director of ministries and administration. Funded by a grant, they visited Egypt, Israel, the West Bank, and Lebanon. The group met with representatives of Churches for Middle East Peace, spoke with people in Israel and the West Bank, and met Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.

“We continue to pray for peace and the wellbeing of all residents of the Middle East at this difficult time,” Watson said.

According to its literature, CMEP promotes a shared Jerusalem by Palestinians and Israelis and pursues an end to the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, West Bank, and Gaza. CMEP executive director Rev. Mae Elise Cannon said, “Rather than being a broker for peace, the U.S. will be undermining trust and making the resumption of meaningful negotiations and achieving a viable solution all the more difficult, if not impossible.”

CMEP, a coalition of 27 national church denominations and organizations, encourages U.S. policies that actively promote a comprehensive resolution to conflicts in the Middle East with a focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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