Pray for the peace of Jerusalem—
May those who love you be at peace!
“May there be shalom within your walls—
quietness within your palaces.”
For the sake of my brothers and friends,
I now say: “Shalom be within you.”
For the sake of the House of Adonai our God,
I will seek your good.
– Psalm 122: 6-9
With the US State department accusing the Palestinian Authority of anti-Semitism and German universities declaring the BDS movement anti-Semitic, on the opposite end of the spectrum is the Evangelical Lutheran Church’s embracing of the BDS movement’s narrative and subsequent recent call to stop American funds going to Israel.
When the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) voted at their triennial assembly at the beginning of August, they approved a resolution calling on the American government to stop sending financial aid to Israel. Their reason: Israel is refusing to stop building in Judea and Samaria which in their minds means Israel is hindering the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with a divided Jerusalem as a shared capital between two States – one Jewish and one Palestinian.
In addition, from their New Orleans location, the 7th largest religious body in America also demanded that any companies that profit from Israel’s “occupation” be defunded. While making their demands, the ELCA added that the President of the United States must recognize the “State of Palestine” and not prevent the application of the State of Palestine for full membership in the United Nations.
In coordination with the United Nations Security Council, the ELCA seeks to pressure an agreement between Israel and her closest hostile neighbor. Singing the mantra of the BDS movement, the resolutions were spearheaded by a group within the church called Isaiah 58, who cited Israel’s alleged non-compliance of internationally recognized human rights standards, supposed illegal settlement expansion and the “occupation” of Palestinian territory.
The ELCA Aid vote which passed 751-162 strongly encouraged church members to call on their U.S. Representatives, Senators and the Administration to force Israel to comply with the Palestinian demands if Israel wants to continue receiving U.S. financial and military aid.
The Divestment vote which passed 821-92; mentioned the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by name and the ELCA called instead for an increase in positive investment in Palestine. They have also established a screening process to ensure the church is not profiting from any alleged human rights abuses.
On a positive note and clear loss for the BDS movement, California joins South Carolina, Illinois, Tennessee, New York, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Florida in introducing an anti-BDS law.
As reported by Kehila News Israel (KNI) in May 2016, the claims of the BDS movement are fabricated and exaggerated and in direct opposition to peace. The United Methodist Church rejected 4 BDS resolutions and other churches would do well to follow their lead and not to forget God’s eternal promise to Abraham about Israel:
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. – Genesis 12:1-3