This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

Stay neutral on BDS

In the MWR conversation about joining or not joining the BDS (boycott, divest, sanction) movement, it was suggested that “whether or not we support divestment, we need to focus on investment in the work of peacemakers” (Editorial, Jan. 4). We agree on the need for this investment, but can one do both, as the editorial implies?

We are informed by the leadership of Musalaha (Arabic for “reconciliation”) that when working with Jews and Palestinians on relationship-building, one cannot also identify with the BDS movement without loosing vital credibility in the eyes of one side or the other. One must remain neutral to be effective. Anabaptists are gifted and called to focus on these ground-level movements.

Many secular and religious entities are joining the BDS cause. That may be their skill set. Anabaptists can join those who are engaged in the difficult work of peacebuilding between those who are the most wounded by this conflict. By staying neutral on BDS, one can maintain the credibility to have a voice. We choose to engage at this level after two Mennonite Central Committee learning tours and spending two months as volunteers in the West Bank in 2014. No BDS identity for us.

Garry and Lois Schmidt
Arroyo Grande, Calif.

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