Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) Update

By Eric Cherry

Last week the member groups of Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) (the Unitarian Universalist Association is one of 24 national religious denominations and organizations that constitute it) met in Washington DC for a retreat to discuss future directions of the organization. Among the issues that led to this meeting were a financial crisis and a concern that some of the Middle East Peace issues that hold the attention of member groups are beyond the realm of core consensus for CMEP. The retreat considered and voted unanimously to institute a new "Vision and Model" that had been in development for the previous 3 months. Among the most exciting aspects of the plan is the development of a new "Middle East Policy Forum" within CMEP. Its purpose will be to allow for discussion, collaboration, and publication of member group initiatives that don't fit within the core consensus of all CMEP member groups, but which CMEP still wants to facilitate member group consideration of. For example, there is broad agreement between member groups that a comprehensive peace will be based on a 2-state solution aligned with UN resolutions, will entail a shared Jerusalem, and will assure secure borders. While there is fear within some member groups that this is any longer possible, there is no disagreement about it as a hopeful vision. But, there is disagreement within member groups about increasingly complex issues like the timing and support of Palestinian sovereignty declarations, of engagement with Hamas, of global BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanction), and multiple other issues. The Middle East Peace Forum will give CMEP member groups an opportunity to fully discuss these issues and find ways to collaborate with each other on them, even if not in the name of CMEP. That's an exciting development. And, a hopeful sign for the next stage in CMEP's engagement with churches throughout the United States. The latest action alert from Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) is online. It includes articles on the following subjects:

About the Author

Eric Cherry

Eric was the Director of the UUA’s International Office since August 2007. Prior to this Eric served for 12 years as a parish minister with UU congregations in Burlington, Iowa and N. Easton, Massachusetts. Eric has long been involved in the UU Partner Church movement, serving as the English...


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