The United Methodist Church's call to divest from companies linked to Israel "is bordering on anti-Semitism," Anti-Defamation League Director Abraham Foxman told Ynetnews on Wednesday.
Foxman furiously condemned recommendations made by the New England branch of the Methodist Church for its members to divest "from twenty companies identified as supporting the Israeli occupation in Palestine."
The recommendations were made by a "task force" of clergy and church members set up to implement a "resolution to end the Israeli occupation," a statement by the Church added.
Foxman, who is currently in Israel, said it was "sad that a religious institution whose job should be to reconcile continues to be biased and bigoted."
He added that in the past two years, "there has been a war perpetrated by Hizbullah, katyushas rockets, and terrorist acts. Now Hamas, that does not recognize Israel's right to exist and perpetrated violence, has gotten itself elected, and is in control of a million and a half Palestinians. And the Methodists are still there to teach Israel a lesson."
"My reaction is one of outrage to this biased decision, which borders on anti-Semitism. The facts show that any decent fair-minded, spiritual, godly person would not come to a conclusion to boycott the victim, the one that has been praying for peace, suing for peace, hoping for peace. To make Israel the target is just outrageous," Foxman added.
In the Church's statement, William P. Aldrich, chairperson of the 'Divestment Task Force,' was quoted as saying: "Selective divestment is consistent with the United Methodist commitment to a just and sustainable peace for all the people of the Middle East." He added that the divestment campaign "offers a tangible way of working toward this goal."
In its press release, the Church said it knew its actions would not have an impact on Israel's economy, adding that "this is not the goal."
"The goal is to make all United Methodists and other Americans aware of their relationship to companies that benefit from the Israeli occupation," the statement added.
"The urgency of the humanitarian crisis in the occupied Palestinian territories cannot be overstated," the United Methodist Church declared on its website.
In a separate development, the ADL has welcomed the United Church of Christ's (UCC) acknowledgment that it has advocated an unbalanced and one-sided policy against the state of Israel.
The UCC passed a new resolution this week calling for a more balanced approach to the Middle East conflict.
"We are heartened that members of the United Church of Christ have come to recognize that Israel deserves a fair hearing and that some of their policy declarations in the past were based on unfair and biased assumptions," Foxman said.
"It is a welcome development, and the start of a healthy process toward a better understanding of a very complex and complicated history," he added.