Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


UK Methodists still half-hearted about BDS

UK Methodists still half-hearted about BDS

“We’ll continue dialogue and engage prayerfully”

By Stuart Littlewood
July 3, 2014

www.redressonline.com/2014/07/uk-methodists-still-half-hearted-about-bds

The UK Methodist conference has ducked the opportunity to extend BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) to the whole of Israel. They are content to limit it to firms that operate in the illegally-occupied Palestinian territories for the time being.

They sidestepped a proposal to “strengthen the church’s commitment to Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) as a peaceful and effective method to persuade the state of Israel to end its military occupation of the Palestinian territories… by applying BDS to Israel in addition to the illegal settlements”. And they did so on a day when Israelis were ramping up their wildly disproportionate murder spree and collective punishment against Palestinians in response to the alleged kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers.

All talk, no action
A spokesperson for the church said: “A Notice of Motion calling for Conference to look at adopting BDS at next year’s conference was not passed and the original resolutions in the report were voted on.”

What were those original resolutions?

The conference, mindful of the demands made by this work upon the Connexional Team and the resources of the whole Church, encourages the Methodist people to observe a period of two years (conferences of 2015 and 2016) before submitting memorials or notices of motion to the Conference on this or similar issues relating to Israel/Palestine that require further work or action.

So there’s absolutely no need for urgency. What are Methodists supposed to do in the meantime?

The conference, recognizing that significant time and energy has been expended on this work beyond what is sustainable for the church, directs the Methodist people to the resolutions of the Methodist conference in 2010 (see Appendix 1). This will offer to the church a variety of ways in which people might engage prayerfully and practically with the region.

So it’s too much like hard work grappling with this BDS stuff.

The conference wishes to continue in dialogue with those in Britain who are closely affected by the ongoing conflict and calls on Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) to act as an agent for the churches in drawing together the wide range of voices from within faith communities in Britain as well as continuing to work with a variety of relevant agencies…

Thanks, we get the drift. All talk, no action.

Weasel words
In a briefing document circulated a few months before conference the authors (unnamed) came up with every excuse imaginable, and then some, to put the skids under the call for fuller BDS.

• “The very notion of boycott recalls for many the Nazi-organized boycott of 1933 when Hitler came to power…”

The term “boycott” was used in Germany in the 1930s to project hatred toward the Jews and provided a means through which hatred could find physical expression.

• “Any formal call for boycott from churches strengthens a perception among some within the Jewish community that Christians are unwilling to counter anti-Semitism. This would present difficulties for relationships between Methodists and many in the Jewish community.”

• “Trade sanctions against Israel would be unjust as this would be inconsistent with the approach taken to occupation in other contexts including China’s occupation of Tibet, Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara…”

• “When divesting you close the door to further engagement with a company.”

• “Academic boycott runs contrary to the principle of a free exchange of ideas. An academic boycott would to some extent curtail the opportunities for academic exchange and would discriminate against Israeli academics who are critical of the Israeli government. The Israeli academic community contains some of the most free-thinking members of Israeli society.”

• “A blanket ban on all Israeli goods is difficult to achieve as Israeli manufactured products and components are prevalent in the UK market place… The pragmatic approach proposed by the BDS movement is to boycott goods within reason, but this does rather suggest a boycott of convenience.”

• “To some extent BDS could distract from a dialogue around the application of the core principles of justice, equality and self-determination… It is often suggested that it would be better for the Church to join with other faiths in efforts to facilitate bridge-building projects and build trust.”

• “We have acknowledged that, when a national church institution issues criticism of the policies of the government of Israel it can be perceived as hatred and victimization of the Jewish people.”

They expect to be loved after what has been done in their name for the last 60-odd years?

• “There is general agreement that many Israelis may assume that Israel is being targeted by BDS ‘because they hate us’ or ‘because they are anti-Semitic’.”
• “The tactic of BDS, by giving credence to one perspective only, is unlikely to promote an atmosphere for dialogue that could be truly transformative in nature.”

When was dialogue with Jews or their Jewish state ever “transformative”? They have forced the Palestinians to live under illegal occupation for decades. Muslims and Christians live in daily terror, their movement is severely restricted, their trade is strangled, their academic freedoms are almost non-existent, they cannot attend their holy places, their homes and livelihoods have been destroyed, their country has been pillaged and trashed. It is the Christian-Muslim perspective that claims out attention and the Christian presence in the Holy Land is dwindling fast. It is they who have suffered, and continue to suffer, while Israel prospers at their expense.

The Methodists’ BDS briefing reads like it’s the work of the Board of Deputies of British Jews or the hasbara team in Mark Regev’s propaganda den in Tel Aviv. BDS, of course, is not a fight setting one people against another. It is the application of social, economic and political pressure to bring about change. If it is a fight at all, it’s a fight against oppression and brutal occupation. It’s a fight for freedom and self-determination. Encouraging people to think that it might be a fight for something else, as this grubby document does, is pure mischief.

In the end UK Methodists, at their annual conference, didn’t seem to grasp that the BDS campaign is to make Israel realize that, even if the international community continues to allow the racist regime to run amok, civil society will eventually ensure there are consequences for its cruelty and for defiling the Holy Land with its crimes. Only consequences can change the situation. Nothing else has done so.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Syed Atiq ul Hassan: Eye-Opener For Islamic Community

An event of siege, terror and killing carried out by Haron Monis in the heart of Sydney business district has been an eye-opener for the Islamic Community in Australia. Haron was shot down before he killed two innocent people, a lawyer and a manager ... More>>

Jonathan Cook: US Feels The Heat On Palestine Vote At UN

The floodgates have begun to open across Europe on recognition of Palestinian statehood. On 12 December the Portuguese parliament became the latest European legislature to call on its government to back statehood, joining Sweden, Britain, Ireland, France ... More>>

ALSO:


Fightback: MANA Movement Regroups, Call For Mana Wahine Policy

In the wake of this years’ electoral defeat, the MANA Movement is regrouping. On November 29th, Fightback members attended a Members’ Hui in Tāmaki/Auckland, with around 70 attending from around the country. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: The Mockingjay Of Palestine: “If We Burn, You Burn With Us”

Raed Mu’anis was my best friend. The small scar on top of his left eyebrow was my doing at the age of five. I urged him to quit hanging on a rope where my mother was drying our laundry. He wouldn’t listen, so I threw a rock at him. More>>

ALSO:

Don Franks: Future Of Work Commission: Labour's Shrewd Move

Lunging boldly towards John Key, shouting 'Cut the crap!' - Andrew Little was great, wasn't he? Labour's new leader spoke for many people fed up with Key's flippant arrogant deceit. Andrew Little nailing the Prime minister on lying about contacting a rightwing ... More>>

Asia-Pacific Journal: MSG Headache, West Papuan Heartache? Indonesia’s Melanesian Foray

Asia and the Pacific--these two geographic, political and cultural regions encompass entire life-worlds, cosmologies and cultures. Yet Indonesia’s recent enthusiastic outreach to Melanesia indicates an attempt to bridge both the constructed and actual ... More>>

Valerie Morse: The Security State: We Should Not Be Surprised, But We Should Be Worried

On the very day that the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security released her report into the actions of people the Prime Minister’s office in leaking classified Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) documents to right-wing smearmonger Cameron ... More>>

Ramzy Baroud: PFLP Soul-Searching: Rise And Fall Of Palestine’s Socialists

When news reports alleged that the two cousins behind the Jerusalem synagogue attack on 18 November were affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a level of confusion reigned. Why the PFLP? Why now? More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news