In this case, I felt APN’s statement captured a realistic, nuanced and reasoned view so well, I thought it appropriate to reprint it here in full. The original can be found here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 23, 2014
APN Statement on PC (USA) Divestment Decision
Washington, DC – Following the decision by the Presbyterian Church (USA) to divest from three U.S. companies whose products, they argue, are used to support Israeli occupation, Americans for Peace Now today issued the following statement: Continue reading
It is a very fine line to try to walk for a group that wants to take concrete action for peace and still identifies as a Zionist organization. Meretz USA does an admirable job of taking on that tension with their nuanced statement here. There are certainly critiques to be made, and I’m sure people will make them. But there is something more important here.
That something, which is all too often lost in the various political debates in Israel-Palestine, is a sincere attempt to reach across lines while maintaining one’s own identity.
Meretz USA Board Chair and actor, Theodore Bikel
Meretz USA is trying to do just that, in my view, with this statement. I particularly like the fact that the state they “denounce” attempts to bring down the state of Israel (kind of goes without saying if you’re pro-Israel, and I agree with them) while saying they merely “disagree” with using BDS as a tactic within the Green Line. I find that kind of nuance refreshing and it opens important doors for groups of various different views to be able to work together in areas they can without being bogged down about issues they disagree on.
I know many of my readers will find things to object to in Meretz USA’s statement, from a variety of different approaches to this vexing issue. I have my critiques as well, and I’ve shared them with Meretz USA. But let’s just for a moment, try and see where we have common ground rather than focusing on where we differ. Ultimately, I think a Zionist group trying to find a way to use economic pressure against the occupation is a very promising step forward that should be welcomed by all.
I may write more about this soon (or not), but a few words are needed in response to this story in Ha’aretz today.
The Methodist Church is considering divesting from companies doing business that supports Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. Now, I do not support boycotts or divestment programs against Israel. But a boycott or divestment drive against Israel is NOT the same thing as one against the occupation.
Opposing the occupation is a moral choice, and one that anyone should feel free to make and act upon. The coverage of this issue, first with the Presbyterians, then with other churches and groups and now with the Methodists, has been nothing short of reprehensible. The constant labeling of divestment drives targeting the occupation only as being proposals to divest from Israel is dishonest, a bald-faced lie in fact. Continue reading