B’nai B’rith International is encouraged that delegates to the quadrennial General Conference of the United Methodist Church (UMC) rebuffed efforts to single out companies doing business with Israel for divestment. Such punitive measures are discriminatory, and only deepen, rather than ameliorate, Middle East tensions.
From May 10-20, more than 900 people from around the globe attended the conference in Portland, Ore., and the UMC voted down four resolutions for anti-Israel divestment.
UMC members also deserve to be strongly commended for calling on an arm of their denomination to end its membership in the radical U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. That group is an aggressive advocate of economic warfare against Israel, and its agitation has repeatedly been tinged with outright anti-Semitic animus.
At the same time, it is disconcerting that UMC members voted down a resolution decrying contemporary anti-Semitism. Although that motion made clear that some, not all, anti-Israel views are undergirded by anti-Semitism, some opponents framed it as suggesting otherwise.
This mixed outcome at the national convention of the largest mainline Protestant denomination--and the recurrence of such results--sadly indicates that anti-Israel partisans will continue to agitate for a program of simplistic, one-sided hostility on issues related to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
B’nai B’rith commends all those, in the Methodist community and beyond, who opt instead for responsibility, nuance and fairness.