All Hands On Deck! Anti-BDS Laws Have Hit the Fan

by M. Theresa Basile

Nov 8 – Updates on this article:
A full page ad was published in the Kansas City Star on Nov 7th, a statement calling on Americans to protect free speech and the right to boycott, signed by by MFSA, UMKR and dozens of other faith-based organizations.

The day before, an open letter was sent to Congress by 20 top leaders of national Christian organizations, opposing the "Israel Anti-Boycott Act."

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Esther Koontz, Mennonite schoolteacher, has filed suit against the Kansas Commissioner of Education (Photo: ACLU/via aclu.org)

What does a schoolteacher in Kansas seeking a job have in common with survivors of Hurricane Harvey in Texas needing disaster relief? And what could either of those situations have to do with Israel?

Both the schoolteacher in Kansas and residents of Dickinson, Texas have been denied equal access to state benefits and opportunities, if they will not guarantee they do not support a boycott of Israeli products.

As absurd as that may sound, it is really happening in America today.

Something called “anti-BDS legislation” has been enacted in recent years in over twenty states. Reminiscent of the 1950’s, when people were asked to certify they did not belong to the Communist Party, Americans today are faced again with McCarthyist discrimination, this time in the Orwellian guise of opposing discrimination - that is, discrimination against Israel, with which the US has a “special relationship.” Special indeed, when it is used to penalize Americans who participate in a boycott that addresses injustice.

Imagine our citizens being punished for boycotting businesses that discriminate against African Americans. Oh wait, that did happen, in Mississippi! In the NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co., the U.S. Supreme Court made clear that such a boycott is a form of speech protected by the First Amendment.

Read more: All Hands On Deck! Anti-BDS Laws Have Hit the Fan

WMJM Justice Seeker: DACA Response - Special Issue

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From the Front Lines

The last few days have been unrelenting in not only the heat, but the rising anxiety levels as the news spins conjectures on potential decisions/non-decisions about DACA.

Fortunately our presence at 580 [Cafe] has provided a safe haven for many of our students and their families. I have spent most of the last three days meeting, praying, and crying with students as they come by to seek solace and a place to unpack the fear and release some of the anxiety they carry and have carried for far too long.

Read more: WMJM Justice Seeker: DACA Response - Special Issue

Newsletter: Annual Conference Updates 2017

The annual conferences are over for this year, and nothing much has changed. In the West, we continue to make our witness on behalf of a church that fully embodies God’s life-giving love for all. So, we have taken strong stands through legislation and public demonstrations on a variety of issues related to our understanding of the call that Christ’s gospel places upon our lives:

Read more: Newsletter: Annual Conference Updates 2017

Newsletter: WMJM Justice Seeker, Summer, 2017

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The Monthly Newsletter of the Western Methodist Justice Movement

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Annual Conference Update

The annual conferences are over for this year, and nothing much has changed. In the West, we continue to make our witness on behalf of a church that fully embodies God’s life-giving love for all. So, we have taken strong stands through legislation and public demonstrations on a variety of issues related to our understanding of the call that Christ’s gospel places upon our lives:

  • access to quality medical care;
  • civil rights for transgender persons;
  • access to public education for all sectors of our society;

More on AC Updates...

In This Issue:

  • In The Know
    • Israel-Palestine Anniversaries
    • Documented By Love (Immigration)
    • "Methodist, but not Methodist Enough"
    • Action Networks Invitation
  • In The News
    • Nuclear Weapons Treaty
    • California Sanctuary Bill
    • CA Attorney General Sues Dept. of the Interior
    • CA Sheriffs Can Restrict Concealed Guns
    • Becerra Challenges Trump Administration on Immigration
    • Refugees

     


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Newsletter: WMJM Justice Seeker, April, 2017

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The Monthly Newsletter of the Western Methodist Justice Movement

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Rise Up! Conference Boosts Movement Building

"There is an empathy deficit in this country," said Bishop Karen Oliveto, as she addressed over 150 attendees from 17 Annual Conferences and 20 ethnicities attending the "Rise Up!" conference sponsored by the Western Methodist Justice Movement held in Portland over Presidents Day weekend. Bishop Karen is the newly-elected bishop of the Western Jurisdiction and serves the Mountain Sky Episcopal Area (Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, and one church in Idaho). In her keynote sermon, she went on to describe how groups are triangulated against one another, defining who's in and who's out, building walls to keep others out, and thus "othering" those who are different. More...

Read more: Newsletter: WMJM Justice Seeker, April, 2017