Fill out this BDS survey for the Methodist Church UK
The Methodist Church UK is apparently considering whether it should encourage its members to boycott and divest from Israel.
In July 2013 the Methodist Conference passed Notice of Motion 201. The motion requests the production of a briefing on the arguments for and against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The wording of the motion as revised and adopted by Methodist Conference is as follows:
Recognising the call of the prophet Micah to “do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God,” the Conference directs the Methodist Council to ensure that the Joint Public Issues Team prepare a briefing document for the Methodist People upon the arguments for and against the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Movement, and for the Methodist Council to bring a report based upon the briefing to the Conference of 2014.
This consultation has been launched to gather a range of perspectives on this topic and is open to all. People are invited to respond either in a personal capacity or as representatives of organisations. Responses will be kept confidential unless specific agreement is made to the contrary.
The briefing commissioned by the Methodist Conference will reflect the range of perspectives on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions arising from this consultation. It is hoped that this briefing will offer helpful reflection for Methodist people as they consider how to respond to the call of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
There is a 14 question survey that is open to all so you can make your opinion known.
This is not a poll, from what I gather, but an opportunity to make an argument.
Here are the questions:
1. What do you understand to be the motivation/inspiration behind the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions in relation to Israel?
2. In your view, what would be the essential elements of any peace agreement in Israel/Palestine?
3. Do you support a boycott of products produced within Israeli settlements?
4. Do you support the call for a wider consumer boycott of all Israeli products?
5. If you answer ‘Yes’ to Question 4, what changes would you need to see to be content to end your boycott?
6. What are the arguments against a consumer boycott of all Israeli products? What are the risks?
7. If you do not support the call for boycott, divestment and sanctions, could you ever see yourself supporting such a call in the future? Under what circumstances?
8. What message does the call for a consumer boycott of Israel communicate to the general public? (please specify whether you are answering with reference to the public in the UK, in Israel, in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, or elsewhere)
9. Do you support an academic boycott of Israel? Please explain your reasoning.
10. Do you support a cultural boycott of Israel? Please explain your reasoning.
11. Under what circumstances, if any, should the Methodist Church divest from companies operating in Israel?
12. Should the UK government or European Union impose trade or other restrictions on economic relationships with Israel or alternatively limited restrictions on economic engagement with settlements? If so what form should such sanctions take?
13. What actions other than BDS might members of the Methodist Church take to encourage a political process that could deliver a just and sustainable resolution in Israel and Palestine?
14. Is there any further theological or other comment that you would like to make in relation to Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions or are there papers or other resources that you would highlight?
In the slight possibility that this is not an exercise in futility, I encourage you to thoughtfully and respectfully answer these questions.
My answers concentrated on the fact that people who push BDS are guilty of the worst double standards and are effectively (if not consciously) acting in an antisemitic manner by singling out the Jewish state for alleged human rights abuses that are no worse than those of any Western nation at war in history, and even those not at war.
I also emphasized that the entire point of BDS is to only place responsibility for action for peace on one side, giving the Palestinian Arabs a free pass for their behavior and demands. They must be pressured at least as much to compromise for peace, an attitude that the West has abandoned. Incitement, refusal to accept a Jewish state, refusal to compromise, rejection of many previous peace plans, their decision to launch a terror war instead of make peace – all of these should have consequences and should not be rewarded.
Furthermore, I also emphasized that every single Arab nation discriminates against Palestinian Arabs, in not allowing them to become citizens if they so choose (even Jordan no longer allows them to be naturalized anymore.) If anyone cares about the “refugee” issue, this should be their top priority. It is not dependent on a peace agreement. It is simple human rights.
I mentioned that the idea that artists should boycott Israel while playing freely in Lebanon, where there are actual laws discriminating against Palestinians, is the height of hypocrisy.
There are of course many other arguments against BDS, a fundamentally corrupt and immoral concept.
Again, the odds are long that this is anything more than an exercise in getting support for something that is already decided, but better to try now than to complain later.
The deadline is November 4.