How are the Mennonites involved in the anti-Israel divestment, boycott and sanction movement? What does it mean if they are? Consider the following two articles. . .
In the name of Christ . . .
“The board of directors of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) U.S. unanimously decided that MCC U.S. will not knowingly invest in companies that benefit from products or services used to perpetrate acts of violence against Palestinians, Israelis and other people groups.
The action, taken at the board’s March 16 meeting in Akron, grew from a call from partners in Palestine and Israel, including churches there, and follows a discernment process with leaders of the denominations that sponsor MCC U.S.
MCC staff in the Middle East delivered the message from churches and other partners in a letter shared about a year ago. MCC has worked with partners in Palestine and Israel for more than 60 years and more than 40 years, respectively.
The board agreed that “all reasonable measures” are to be applied immediately to not support violence in the Palestine and Israel conflict, and also that staff should explore “similar actions in support of partners in other parts of the world.”
The action means that MCC U.S. will not invest direct holdings in companies on the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) “Israel/Palestine Investment Screen” list. . .
Byler said another aspect of the action included participating with sponsoring denominations’ peacemaking and justice-seeking efforts as invited. He said opportunities for this exist now with sponsoring denomination Mennonite Church USA.
Mennonite Central Committee: Relief, development and peace in the name of Christ”
SOURCE: MCC U.S. board acts for peace through its investments
Cheryl Zehr Walker, March 26, 2013: http://www.mcc.org/stories/news/mcc-us-board-acts-peace-through-its-investments
Incidentally, to “not support” or “not invest” means “divest.” Divest means to deprive or take away. Other reports were not so carefully worded:
“Yesterday the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) United States announced that its board of directors had voted unanimously on March 16 to divest the organization’s direct holdings in “companies that support Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.””
SOURCE: Breakthrough: Mennonites divest from ‘companies that support Israel’s occupation’ March 27,2013: mondoweiss.net/2013/03/breakthrough-mennonites-occupation.html
Is divestment a relatively new stance that these Mennonites have taken towards Israel? No, as the following excerpt from a report written nearly nine years ago reveals.
“The Mennonite Central Committee continues to promote a radical pro-Palestinian agenda, including support for demonization of through divestment campaigns. The official responses to NGO Monitor’s previous report not withstanding, MCC’s website features more highly distorted reports on the conflict, while erasing the context of terrorism. This NGO is also active in funding radical political groups as BADIL and Sabeel, in sharp contrast to the goal of peace that MCC professes to seek.”
SOURCE: “MENNONITE CENTRAL COMMITTEE – PROMOTING CONFLICT VIA DIVESTMENT (UPDATE)” NGO Monitor Digest (Vol. 3 No. 12), August 04, 2005: http://www.ngo-monitor.org/article.php?id=839
The MCC blog (mccpalestine.wordpress.com) confirms that the Mennonite Central Committee appears to be promoting Sabeel, partnering with NGO groups, supporting ICAHD, and preaching Israeili apartheid. Many other articles confirm this, for example:
“MCC is a donor for ICAHD which is active in promoting boycotts against Israel and aims “to end Israel’s Occupation over the Palestinians””
SOURCE: ISRAELI COMMITTEE AGAINST HOUSE DEMOLITIONS (ICAHD): http://www.ngo-monitor.org/article/israel_committee_against_house_demolitions_icahd_
*MCC’s activities and publications reveal a highly politicized and anti-Israel agenda, including campaigning against the Israeli security barrier while ignoring Palestinian terror and providing links to highly politicized NGOs, including PENGON and the “Stop the Wall Campaign.”
*MCC’s “Peace Office Newsletter” produced by the organization’s Middle East leadership, contains highly vitriolic attacks on Israel, while claiming that the views of the authors do not necessarily reflect those of the MCC.
*Newsletter contains contributions from radical anti-Israel NGOs, including the Palestinian Authority affiliated Applied Research Institute and Jeff Halper from the highly politicized Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, with other links to highly politicized NGOs Al-Haq, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, the Electronic Intifada, the Stop the Wall Campaign, LAW – a leading NGO at Durban conference, Al-Dameer, a Palestinian prisoners’ rights organization, and al-Awda, an NGO promoting the Palestinian ‘right of return’ and destruction of Israel.
SOURCE: MENNONITE CENTRAL COMMITTEE (MCC): http://www.ngo-monitor.org/article/mennonite_central_committee_mcc_
It’s not only the MCC that seems to be supportive of the anti-Israel agenda. Another apparent Mennonite link is with Sabeel and Eastern Mennonite University, as was reported in 2012 by Mark Tooley:
Friends of Sabeel-North America (FOSNA), a chief anti-Israel advocate among churches, has hired a Presbyterian minister as its new organizer to reach a “wider Christian audience.” Sabeel’s describes his goal as addressing the “increasing awareness among American Christians and the Palestinian Christian community and the principles required for a ‘just peace’ between Israel and Palestine.”
In other words, the organizer will rally U.S. Christians initially for anti-Israel divestment and more ultimately against any special U.S. friendship for Israel, with the final goal of deconstructing Israel as a primarily Jewish democracy.
The new Sabeel organizer is the Rev. Donald Wagner, who recently served at Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia. He previously headed Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding, which seeks to disengage U.S. evangelicals from their traditional pro-Israel stance. In the 1980s he headed the Palestine Human Rights Campaign. Seemingly Rev. Wagner combines Mainline Protestant, evangelical and Anabaptist connections that will greatly enhance his anti-Israel work.
SOURCE: Anti-Israel Christians Ponder Divestment by Mark Tooley: http://www.frontpagemag.com/2012/mark-d-tooley/anti-israel-christians-ponder-divestment/
Perhaps this is why the anti-Israel campaign had already shown up in in 2010 at Eastern Mennonite University:
“A group of Eastern Mennonite University students on Nov. 12 urged the university to divest from any company actively enabling the Israeli occupation.
The group, Students for Morally Responsible Investing, called for divestment during a presentation to the EMU board of trustees financial and audit committee.
SMRI asked the board to “divest from all companies actively supporting the Israeli occupation and its human rights and international law violations.”
According to The Weather Vane, the EMU student newspaper, 35 students gathered outside the meeting to show support for SMRI’s request.
President Loren Swartzendruber told the students their concerns had been heard.
“I think it’s clear, in terms of this committee and myself, that we are in concert with your concerns relative to Israel and Palestine,” he said.
Leaders of SMRI said they believed progress was made.
“The presence of 35 EMU students right outside of the meeting room, sitting in vigil, in solidarity and in support, was amazing to see,” said senior Jessica Sarriot. “Clearly, implementing more just economic involvement in Israel-Palestine is something many people at EMU care deeply about.”
SMRI sees divestment as an issue that affects not only EMU but also the greater community and Mennonite church.”
SOURCE: EMU students urge Israeli occupation divestment by Mennonite Weekly Review staff: http://www.mennoworld.org/2010/11/29/emu-students-urge-israel-divestment/
Where were the Ben Shapiros and the Jessica Marzuccos on November 12, 2010? Were these EMU students never taught about the historical events that led to WWII and Hitler’s extermination of the Jews?
Whether or not these Mennonites are simply well meaning or misled, isn’t it time for the truth to be told?
The following is from the introduction to a well researched and documented report by Dexter Van Zile which confirms that the Mennonites appear to be very involved in many ways within the anti-Israel movement. All who seek to be better informed are encouraged to read the entire article at the link below this excerpt.
• Mennonite-supported peacemaking institutions have been at the forefront of the effort to discredit Israel to audiences in North America. These institutions portray Jewish sovereignty as the cause of conflict and suffering in the Middle East and downplay Muslim and Arab hostility toward Jews and Israel.
• The prescription for peace offered by these activists-especially those affiliated with the Mennonite Central Committee and Christian Peacemaker Teams-is for Israeli Jews to abandon their insistence on maintaining Israel as a sovereign Jewish state and acquiesce to a one-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. This prescription fails to take into account overwhelming evidence that a Jewish minority would not be safe in a Muslim- and Arab-majority country in the Middle East.
• Mennonite expressions of hostility toward Jewish sovereignty and indifference to the plight of Jews in Arab- and Muslim-majority states are ironic and hypocritical. Mennonites enjoy safety and wellbeing by virtue of other people’s willingness to engage in acts of violence. Israeli Jews enjoy no such privilege.
Mennonite anti-Zionism is emblematic of an inability to deal with the reality of evil and the power needed to confront it.
SOURCE: Key Mennonite Institutions against Israel, Dexter Van Zile, July 6, 2009: http://jcpa.org/article/key-mennonite-institutions-against-israel/
Just because well meaning people do things in the name of Christ does not mean that they are right, as we have witnessed throughout history. Are the Mennonites who join this anti-Israel crusade just sincerely mis-led? Whether willingly or unknowingly, they seem to have joined the hands of those who are apostate. Perhaps it’s time to get informed.
Mennonite Palestinianism https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/mennonite-palestinianism/
See Part 1 and 3 here:
The Anti-Israel Movement and the Mennonites: Part 1 – What’s it all about? https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/the-anti-israel-movement-and-the-mennonites-part-1/
The Anti-Israel Movement and the Mennonites: Part 3 – Pawns at the Checkpoint