The Methodist Church has voted to draw up a list of arguments for and against the Boycott Disinvestment Sanctions (BDS) Movement and to bring a report to the Church’s Conference next year.
In a move that Jewish leaders said was “deeply concerning,” Thursday’s vote directs the Methodist Council to ensure that the Joint Public Issues team prepare the briefing document on whether to back the anti-Israel movement.
“We are deeply concerned that the UK Methodist Church is seeking to involve itself yet again in the politics of boycotts against Israel,” said Board of Deputies Vice-President Jonathon Arkush. “The resolution is ill-considered and adopted after a debate lasting less than five minutes.”
Arkush continued: “The last time that the Methodist Conference sought an internal briefing on the complex issue of peace for Israel and Palestine was in 2010, and what emerged was a report so inaccurate and one sided that it caused a crisis between the Jewish and Methodist communities. Having recently decided to terminate its productive interfaith office, it appears odd that the Church would be asked once again to embrace divisive religious politics.”
He urged the Methodist Church to engage in sincere dialogue with the Jewish community.