Photo Credit: Mennonite Church USA

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.”

Kraybill was referring to countless expressions of good, Christian guilt regarding the treatment of Jews, which peppers the new, anti-Israel resolution. Segments like this one:

Confession and Lament

As Western Christians, Mennonites, and U.S. citizens, we confess and lament the ways we have participated in harms against Jewish people:

 Failing to do the hard work of examining our participation in antisemitic belief and practice
 Bearing complicity in the Holocaust that killed six million Jews, failing to respond to Jewish refugees fleeing Europe, and failing to fully examine the historic record of Mennonite complicity in these atrocities
 Ignoring the gravity of ongoing antisemitism and acts of violence against Jewish people
 Failing to recognize how these past and present threats contribute to the need for security for Jewish people
 Neglecting to build relationships with Jewish representatives and communities in the United States and to recognize diverse expressions of their hopes and fears
 Failing to understand the significance of the state of Israel for many Jewish people and the diversity of perspectives and understandings among Jews related to Israel and Zionism.

And, now that we got this off our communal chest, let’s boycott Israel…

“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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