The BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) movement against Israel, which has gained some traction in mainline denominations, raises hotly contested questions. (See, for example, my article “Boycotting the boycott” and the responses to it.) A particularly salient one: Do ordinary Palestinians support BDS? Do Palestinians in the occupied territory want more separation from Israel or more integration with it?
The conflict over divestment seems to divide Presbyterians more deeply than past struggles. Old friends are barely speaking to one another.
As generations of coaches have delighted in pointing out, defense wins games. But we’re very far behind in the global warming game.
A rabbi and strong advocate for Palestinians’ rights told me this: "When you Christians start talking about divesting from Israel, it sounds to us as if you are undermining Israel’s economy and thus Israel’s existence. We close ranks."
Boycott and divestment aim to punish Israel. A more constructive strategy is needed.