Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Stated Clerk Sends Letter of Concern
To Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel
In a letter dated August 4, 2011, PC(USA) Stated Clerk, The Reverend Gradye Parsons expressed concern to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the Boycott Law recently passed by the Israeli Knesset. In it, Parsons states: “This law deals a severe blow to free speech and the freedoms of opinion and expression. While it does not provide for criminal charges against individuals or groups publicly calling for a boycott against Israel or any area under its control, it allows for civil suits claiming financial damages. This will have a dampening effect on freedom and democracy.”
Parsons also cites Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which was ratified by Israel in 1991 and affirms the right to freedom of opinion and freedom of expression. The letter also spells out the historical affirmations of freedom of speech, expression and opinion by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the place of boycott in that process, pointing out that “such nonviolent actions are internationally recognized practices.”
The Israel Palestine Mission Network supports Stated Clerk Parsons in his effort to express to the power brokers in Israel how this recent action is an affront to all who believe in, and sincerely pursue democratic principles in the context of national policy.