Mennonite Church USA Votes to Divest From Israel, Strengthen Jewish Ties

“He delivereth me from mine enemies; yea, Thou liftest me up above them that rise up against me; Thou deliverest me from the violent man.” Psalms 18:49 (The Israel Bible™)

Culminating a three-year process, delegates at the Mennonite Church USA assembly in Orlando on Thursday adopted a resolution titled “Seeking Peace in Israel and Palestine,” with approximately 98 percent voting in favor. The resolution calls on members to “avoid purchase of products associated with the occupation or produced in settlements in occupied territories.” It also establishes a process for the church to review its investments “for the purpose of withdrawing investments from companies that are profiting from the occupation.”

Perhaps in response to anticipated accusations of anti-Semitic motives, the press release issued by the Mennonite Church reported that “the resolution also calls on Mennonites to examine the legacy of anti-Semitism in their own history and life. It commends plans for several conferences in the next biennium on topics including Mennonite involvement in the Holocaust and examining how the church reads scripture in light of the Holocaust. The resolution encourages Mennonites at different levels of church life to strengthen and build relationships with Jewish communities.”

At the Mennonite Church USA delegate assembly in Kansas City in 2015, delegates tabled a resolution favoring BDS and asked that it be revised and brought back to the next delegate gathering. A three-person writing team and a 10-member reference group “worked intensely during the past two years, consulting widely across the church and with Palestinian and Jewish partners.”

“I could not support the resolution two years ago. It was too simplistic,” Mennonite World Conference president Nelson Kraybill said, speaking in support of the motion during comments at the microphones. “I commend the committee for their thorough work.”

“This resolution offers a unique Mennonite voice,” according to the resolution. “It opposes Israeli military occupation and US support while intentionally affirming the need to reach out to build stronger relationships with Jewish communities.”

While omitting all references to Muslim Arab terrorism in Judea and Samaria and Gaza against both Jews and Christians, the resolution strikes a strong sci-fi chord when it “strongly affirms Palestinian and Israeli advocates of nonviolence.” They don’t mention those “Palestinian advocates of non-violence” by name.

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