Christian Leaders, including J. Herbert Nelson of the Presbyterian Church (USA), call on Congress to oppose the “Israel Anti-Boycott Act”
Seventeen Christian leaders, including J. Herbert Nelson of the Presbyterian Church (USA), have sent a letter to Congress calling on them to oppose the “Israel Anti-Boycott Act” (S.720 in the Senate and H.R.1697 in the House), which was introduced in March.
The church leaders have told Congress that the act would "put legal obstacles in the way of nonviolent peaceful action meant to bring about social change, and would legislate against the freedom to make choices in the stewardship of our financial resources.” IPMN, the Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA), knows that boycott is a long-standing and time-tested tradition in our Church. From bus boycotts to sodastream boycotts, Presbyterians have protested injustice over many decades through economic actions such as boycotts, and joined in nonviolent actions against oppression. We lift up the voices of oppressed peoples through boycotts and stand with them in their struggles.
The signatories of the letter to Congress proclaim that our understanding of our biblical and historical connection to the land, partnerships in the area, and our theology around justice and peace is what "compels us to support nonviolent means to end the 50-year-old occupation and support equal rights for all people.”
Our mission network sees this anti-boycott legislation as blatantly unconstitutional as political speech is protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution. We also see the attempt to shut down protests as a parallel tactic to the way the Israeli government represses dissent for those working toward a just peace in Israel/Palestine where there is a law against boycotts of Israeli products already on the books.
Boycott is a nonviolent means to an end; in this case it is a means towards ending occupation and apartheid. IPMN supports our denomination in reminding Congress of this truth.
Read the letter to Congress.
Read Nov.7, 2017 full page statement in Kansas City Star defending the First Amendemnt right to boycott, endorsed by IPMN and PC(USA) among other faith groups and denominations.
Signatories to the letter are:
Representatives from the American Friends Service Committee; Alliance of Baptists; Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); Conference of Major Superiors of Men; De La Salle Christian Brothers of the Midwest; Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Friends Committee on National Legislation; General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church; Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns; Mennonite Central Committee U.S.; Mennonite Church USA; National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA; Office of Public Witness of the Church of the Brethren; Pax Christi International; Pax Christi USA; Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.); Reformed Church in America; and the United Church of Christ.
Please visit Palestine Portal to take action and connect with resources in your area that combat this attack on free speech and nonviolent protest.