Background: In November, leaders representing 17 Christian organizations and denominations, including MCC U.S. and Mennonite Church USA, sent a letter to all members of Congress calling on them to oppose the Israel Anti-Boycott Act. The bills (H.R. 1697, S.720), which were introduced in the House and the Senate in March, are part of a larger effort to outlaw or penalize the use of boycotts, divestment and sanctions aimed at unjust Israeli policies.
The organizations that signed the letter do not all agree on the use of economic measures regarding Israel. But they are united in their concern that “this legislation, if adopted, 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.”
In addition to federal legislation, more than 20 states have adopted laws or executive orders aimed at boycotts of Israel and/or Israeli settlements located in occupied Palestinian areas. A Mennonite woman is currently challenging one such law in Kansas.
Faith reflection: “Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands at a distance; for truth stumbles in the public square, and uprightness cannot enter” (Isaiah 59:14).
Alert created November 16, 2017 by Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach, director. Based on an alert from the Faith Forum on Middle East Policy, a coalition of which the MCC U.S. Washington Office is a part.