Jesus said, “Come, follow me…" ~ Matthew 4:19.
The BDS Movement is an invitation to accompaniment and solidarity; a call to non-cooperation with a racist agenda. It is a call to walk as Jesus walked. Here are 10 ways to follow Jesus and demonstrate costly solidarity with Palestinians in their struggle for justice and freedom:
Some denominations and organizations have taken actions for BDS or other economic measures. Others are in campaigns supporting or studying the call from Palestinian civil society or through the Kairos Palestine document for boycott, divestment and sanctions.
Given that all forms of international intervention and peace-making have until now failed to convince or force Israel to comply with humanitarian law, to respect fundamental human rights and to end its occupation and oppression of the people of Palestine… We, representatives of Palestinian civil society, call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era. We appeal to you to pressure your respective states to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel. We also invite Israelis to support this Call, for the sake of justice and genuine peace. read more
The Palestinian Christians from Gaza to Jerusalem and to Nazareth, have called out to their brothers and sisters in Christ with this urgent plea: “Enough is enough. No more words without deeds, It is time for action.” Together we will act and pray and speak and work and risk reputations and lives to build with you bridges for an enduring peace among the peoples of this tortured and beautiful place—Palestine and Israel—to end these decades of injustice, humiliation and insecurity, to end the decades of living as refugees and under occupation. We will work with you to seek peace and pursue it. We have allowed too much time to pass. Time has not served the cause of peace but has served the cause of extremism. This is our urgent cause that cannot wait. read more
We, a group of Christian Palestinians, after prayer, reflection and an exchange of opinion, cry out from within the suffering in our country, under the Israeli occupation, with a cry of hope in the absence of all hope, a cry full of prayer and faith in a God ever vigilant, in God’s divine providence for all the inhabitants of this land… We ask our sister Churches not to offer a theological cover-up for the injustice we suffer, for the sin of the occupation imposed upon us. Our question to our brothers and sisters in the Churches today is: Are you able to help us get our freedom back, for this is the only way you can help the two peoples attain justice, peace, security and love? … Our word to the international community is to stop the principle of “double standards” and insist on the international resolutions regarding the Palestinian problem with regard to all parties… In the absence of all hope, we cry out our cry of hope. We believe in God, good and just. We believe that God’s goodness will finally triumph over the evil of hate and death that still persist in our land. We will see here “a new land” and “a new human being”, capable of rising up in the spirit to love each one of his or her brothers and sisters. read more
As we meet this month in Bethlehem in occupied Palestine, we are still suffering from 100 years of injustice and oppression that were inflicted on the Palestinian people beginning with the unjust and unlawful Balfour declaration, intensified through the Nakba and the influx of refugees, followed by the Israeli occupation of the West Bank including East Jerusalem and Gaza and the fragmentation of our people and our land through policies of isolation and confiscation of land, and the building of Jewish-only settlements and the Apartheid Wall… Things are beyond urgent. We are on the verge of catastrophic collapse. The current status-quo is unsustainable. This could be our last chance to achieve a just peace. As a Palestinian Christian community, this could be our last opportunity to save the Christian presence in this land. Our only hope as Christians comes from the fact that in Jerusalem, the city of God, and our city, there is an empty tomb, and Jesus Christ who triumphed over death and sin, brought to us and to all humanity, new life. read more
Available in full length for download below, David Wildman's paper outlines a theological foundation for BDS. The paper is entitled What Does the Lord Require of the Ecumenical Movement Today? Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions as Nonviolent, Loving Actions. David Wildman serves as the Executive Secretary for Middle East, Human Rights & Racial Justice, Global Ministries for the United Methodist Church.
Executive Secretary Wildman does the necessary work of grounding the BDS movement in Biblical theology. The BDS movement is diverse; it is both secular and religious. Even while Christians work shoulder to shoulder with secular partners, it is important for people of faith to lift up their purpose and reasoning for continuing their work through a theological framework.
We find our theology to be a source of inspiration for joining together with those of many different narratives, as opposed to being a cause for division. Even within the churches of which Wildman speaks, there has been tremendous division among people of faith on the topic at hand. But the passages cited in this paper, and the ways they connect to the actual work and witness of the faithful, can provide a useful model for moving forward to seek and achieve justice for all Palestinians.
In his opening paragraph, Executive Secretary Wildman points out how far-reaching the BDS Movement has become since its beginning in 2005: “The movement now includes universities, trade unions, human rights organizations, churches, municipal governments and even some corporations as well as countless grassroots community groups and individuals.”
He goes on to explain that many churches in the United States “have issued statements and denominational resolutions…to support a two-state solution.” Then he points out very clearly, “Yet only with the rise of the BDS movement have US churches begun to examine the “log in our own eye” of economic complicity with ongoing Israeli settlement expansion and systematic discrimination and dispossession against Palestinians.”
Wildman offers an informative history of the beginning of the BDS Movement, along with important scripture passages that offer the reader the means for understanding justice work and advocacy from one’s Christian perspective.
Scripture supporting support of the BDS Movement:
If your brother or sister is being injured by what you consume, you are no longer walking in love. Do not let what you consume cause the ruin of one for whom Christ died.
How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? Little children, let us love, not in work or speech, but in truth and action.
But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
So do not let your good be spoken of as evil.
Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, Oh House of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!
Fallen, Fallen is Babylon the Great!... Then I heard another voice from heaven say: “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins.”
The above scriptures provide an important framework for the meaningful and informative discussion about justice theology and the BDS movement. Executive Secretary Wildman concludes with these thoughts:
More than anything, we in the churches need to stay on message that the BDS movement is a nonviolent moral movement to end longstanding suffering of the Palestinian people at the hands of a discriminatory system that continues daily to seize more and more land… It’s time for global churches to stop whitewashing racism by joining the BDS movement… When we boycott injustice we express our love for Palestinian sisters and brothers, for Israelis, and for ourselves.
Read the entire paper below.
Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, Palestine