by Anna Baltzer on July 8, 2012
And to claim that ending cooperation with these human rights violations means ending cooperation with Judaism, or Jews, draws a very dangerous parallel. There is a sea change happening. Jews are divided on this issue. You have to follow your own conscience.
Regarding the idea of investment as a positive alternative to divestment, let me point out first that there is nothing neutral about profiting from the destruction of Palestinian homes and schools, as you are today. To stop profiting from those things, to divest, is not negative — it’s positive.
Investment can also be positive, but it should be practical. No Palestinian economy can endure without access to land, water, goods, or labor. Checkpoints using HP bioscanners prevent workers from reaching work or transporting products. Settlements surrounded by Motorola cameras make it impossible for Palestinians to reach their land and resources. And anything you build can be destroyed in a flash with Caterpillar bulldozers.
For 170 years, your church has chosen the model of mission in partnership rather than missionary work, recognizing the importance of listening to the voices and choices of those you are trying to help. Why do mission in partnership in Africa and South America, but not in the land where Jesus walked?
Right now, the Palestinians are not asking for you to invest in their economy. They are asking you to stop investing in and profiting from their suffering. They are asking you to engage in divestment, a time-tested, nonviolent, faithful act of love.
Giving charity can also be loving. But dismissing Palestinian voices is not loving… It’s patronizing.
If you truly want to help the Palestinian people, I urge you to listen to what they are asking for.
Thank you to the Israel Palestine Mission Network and Jewish Voice for Peace for ideas on some of the above talking points.