Home>Newsroom>Press Release Archives>2012>USCJ and RA Statement on UN Vote
Leaders of Conservative Jewish organizations stand with Israel, U.S. against enhanced Palestinian status at United Nations
NEW YORK (November 29, 2012) – Today, the United Nations General Assembly voted to grant the Palestinian Authority’s non-member observer status at the UN.  Calling the outcome a diversion to peace between Israel and the Palestinians, the leaders of the two international organizations of Conservative Judaism were critical of today’s UN vote, which grants the Palestinian Authority de facto statehood.  The Rabbinical Assembly, the international umbrella organization for Conservative rabbis, and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the movement’s North American congregations, together issued the following statement:
Rabbi Gerald Skolnik, RA President, said, “We speak for Conservative Jews across the United States and internationally when we emphasize in no uncertain terms that a vote on the Palestinians receiving enhanced status in the United Nations is counterproductive as long as Palestinian leadership continues to refuse to engage in direct peace negotiations with Israel.”
Added Rabbi Steve Wernick, Chief Executive Officer of the USCJ, “Peace in the Middle East must remain one of the top priorities of the UN, and until we know that the Palestinians are willing to participate in peaceful and productive negotiations with Israel, no international governmental body should reward them with increased recognition.”
USCJ President, Richard Skolnik, took note of the irony of today’s date. “Sixty-five years ago – to the very day – the United Nations approved the partition plan. Over half a century passed since the Palestinians passed on the chance at statehood. Today’s vote does not overwrite history.”

Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, RA Executive Vice President, saluted the Obama administration for its support of Israel, “We are grateful that President Obama and his administration understand and respect the fundamental point of direct negotiations with no preconditions and stand with Israel.  We call upon the governments of the United States, Israel and the Palestinian Authority, as well as the United Nations, to prioritize lasting peace in the Middle East and to return to direct negotiations with no preconditions.  We pray for peaceful resolution culminating in a two-state solution achieved peacefully and cooperatively.”

The Rabbinical Assembly is the international association of Conservative rabbis. Since its founding in 1901, the Assembly has been the creative force shaping the ideology, programs, and practices of the Conservative movement, and is committed to building and strengthening the totality of Jewish life. Rabbis of the Assembly serve congregations throughout the world, and also work as educators, officers of communal service organizations, and college, hospital, and military chaplains.  More information is available at

About USCJ

The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism is a community of nearly 630 North American kehillot – sacred communities -- committed to a dynamic Judaism that is learned and passionate, authentic and pluralistic, joyful and accessible, egalitarian or traditional.  

Our kehillot create the conditions for a powerful and vibrant Jewish life, empowering Jews in North America to seek the presence of God, to seek meaning and purpose in Torah and mitzvot, to fully engage with Israel, and to be inspired by Judaism to improve the world and the Jewish people.  

It serves over 200,000 households in North America, representing more than one million people. More information is available at

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