A National Council of Churches roundup of church opinion on the Middle East situation has been criticized by the Anti-Defamation League of the B'nai B'rith as an attempt "to undermine and reverse Christian support for Israel."
In a sharpley worded letter to council President William Howard, the ADL said the summary of various Christian assessments of the Middle East conflict, with special attention to the Palestinian issue, was "imbalanced, unfair and highly selective."
Council comment on the varying denominational positions was "weighted toward the Arab viewpoint, buttressing the implied assumption that most church leaders are anti-Israel," the letter said.
The ADL accused the council of quoting and referring primarily to church leaders who lean toward recognizing the Palestine Liberation Organization.
The council ignored "a lot of folks out there who don't take as strident a position as they do," said Theodore Freedman, director of the ADL program division.
The letter was signed by five rabbis: Ronald B. Sobel, vice chairman of the league's National Program Committee; Martin A. Cohen and David H. Panitz, cochairmen of the ADL's Interfaith Affairs Committee, and Solomon S. Bernards and Leon Klenicki, codirectors of the ADL Interfaith Affairs Department.
The stated purpose of the roundup mailing to editors and reporters was to give official denominational positions and general trends on the Middle East, said Warren Day, council press office director. The ADL, therefore, "might raise these points with the individual denominations instead of trying to curtail distribution of information," he said.