Methodist Church Rejects Israel Divestment Resolutions
Raoul WootliffBrandeis Blog, Avivah Vogelstein
May 18, 2016
The United Methodist Church took a stand this weekend against the anti-Israel and arguably anti-Semitic Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. At their quadrennial 10-day policy making conference, beginning May 10, the church rejected four resolutions that sought to sanction Israel and companies that do business with Israel.
These four resolutions were brought by the United Methodist Kairos Response, an anti-Israel group within the church that claims to be “[a]nswering the urgent call from Palestinian Christians.” Actually, Kairos is pushing an anti-dialogue agenda that uses “human rights language to camouflage the real goal of bashing and isolating Israel,” according to JNS.com. “Kairos makes no mention of any Palestinian responsibility for the situation, and most importantly, ignores the fact that the only workable path toward a sustainable peace is direct, bilateral negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, leading to a two-state solution.”
Interestingly, the vote came after a May 9th letter from lifelong Methodist and presidential hopeful, Hillary Clinton, which stated her opposition to the BDS movement as it seeks to punish Israel and is counterproductive to peace efforts.
Bigotry is at the core of the BDS movement and contributes to much anti-Semitism in this country, particularly on college campuses. A recent AMCHA Initiative report found that BDS was a major factor in students’ reported experiences of anti-Jewish hostility on college campuses nationwide. To combat this bigotry, over half a dozen states have passed anti-BDS bills to date, and at least 10 others are gearing up to do the same.
The Brandeis Center has been combating this hate-filled movement through legal action, and in April, filed a lawsuit on behalf of four professors against the American Studies Association (ASA) for its unlawful boycott of Israel, in violation of Washington, D.C law governing nonprofit organizations.
The United Methodist Church’s decision to strike down these four anti-Israel BDS resolutions will hopefully signal other religious denominations and academic associations to do the same.
If you are concerned about anti-Semitism on your campus, or if you seek advice about best practices, contact us.
Dawinder S. Sidhu Dawinder "Dave" S. Sidhu is Assistant Professor of Law at the University of New Mexico and has held positions at Oxford University Faculty of Law, Georgetown University Law Center, Harvard University's Pluralism Project, the University of Baltimore School of Law, the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.