Israel Angered by Methodist Report on Boycott Movement

Though report does not recommend joining the boycott, it was attacked by Israel's London embassy for 'legitimizing' BDS.

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A demonstrator in Brussels calling for a boycott of Israel.
A demonstrator in Brussels calling for a boycott of Israel.Credit: Reuters

The Israeli embassy in London has condemned a Methodist Church report on the case for and against boycotting Israel, according to the Church Times website.

While the briefing paper does not recommend that the Methodist Church join the Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions movement, it was condemned by the embassy as an attempt to "legitimize the extremist BDS political campaign."

The BDS campaign calls for an international boycott of Israeli goods and companies, especially those commercially involved with settlements inside the occupied West Bank.

The report was prepared in response to a request by the Methodist Conference last year and is due to go to the church’s policy-making conference in Birmingham next month.

But an embassy spokesman said it was “harmful and divisive and will help neither Palestinians’ nor Israelis’ moves towards peace”.

"This is a troubling departure from the Methodist Church's long tradition of genuine listening and promoting reconciliation and justice," an embassy spokesman said.

The report notes that the Methodist Church recognizes both the Palestinian right to self-determination and the national aspirations of the Jewish people. "As, sadly, given the increasing levels of anger and frustration, the prospect of a new armed conflict cannot be ruled out, the need for effective non-violent strategies has never been greater," the report says.

"Among the strategies for non-violence, BDS has come to be regarded by many Palestinians and others as particularly influential."

There was “little expectation within the Palestinian community that a continued stress on dialogue to the exclusion of more coercive actions could reverse the trend of the past 20 years," according to the report.”

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