Sunday, 1 November 2015

Why Christians are finding it hard to boycott Israel (and 10 helpful rebuttals to their critics)

My new post is published at Patheos

Here's an extract:

BDS is going to be the battleground in the West where the rights and wrongs of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict will be fought out.

As Gandhi once said: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” We have certainly reached the “fight you stage”.

But if you are a Christian and you support boycotts against Israel, then you are in particular trouble. The opposition that will line up against you will be especially formidable. There’s a long way to go before you come anywhere near winning this By supporting BDS you will straight away place yourself well beyond what your local community and establishment hierarchy considers an acceptable form of protest.

Friends and relations will think you have become extreme in your outlook.

Vicars, priests and Bishops, who may be sympathetic to the cause of the Palestinians and even voice criticism of Israel from time to time, will decide that you have gone too far.

Very quickly you will be accused of being divisive, one-sided, morally inconsistent, naïve, anti-dialogue, anti-negotiations, and of course, anti-Semitic.

You will also be told that you are undermining decades of interfaith dialogue that has sought to repair and atone for centuries of anti-Jewish Church teaching that incited murder and mayhem across Christian Europe and paved the way for the Holocaust.

And there you were, thinking you were just standing up for someone else’s human and civil rights and applying the very ethical teaching you had been taught in Church since you were a child.

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