PCUSA Divestment – Follow Up

I was planning to do a final follow up on the goings on at the PCUSA General Assembly last week, which would tie in a couple of more recent events (including the Episcopalians’ recent decision to join the Presbyterians and Methodists in rejecting divestment).

But as luck would have it, a request came in to do a PCUSA follow up piece for Peter Beinart’s Open Zion blog.  This was followed by a response of the “By Losing We Actually Won” variety, written by someone I strongly suspect to be a frequent anonymous commenter who’s been spending time with us lately.  And in response to his response, I just published the piece I would have written here which pretty much surveys the BDS state of the union after their zero-for-three showing with the Mainline Protestant Churches this year.

So those of you who still need their fix of post-GA commentary, I suggest you check out these articles (as well as any comments they generate).

As one last thought, some of you may wonder why I decided to publish something on Peter Beinart’s site, give that I have been quite critical of him in the past.  The short answer is that I’m happy to get the “BDS Loses Again” word out wherever I can.

But in the back of my mind I am hoping that the man behind Open Zion might come to understand that BDS – whether the full-blown variety he’s letting me criticize on his site, or the narrower “just-boycott-the-settlements” type he advocated for on the pages of the New York Times – always requires a community/institution/organization to do the boycotting, divesting or sanctioning.

And whether those boycotts are defined narrowly or broadly, the message the “I-Hate-Israel” crowd will always be crowing is that “The well-respected [fill-in-the-blank] organization agrees with us that Israel is an Apartheid state, alone in the world at deserving economic punishment!” (with that blank filled in by the Presbyterians, Methodists, Hampshire College, City of Somerville and other parties who never asked to become a battlefield in the Middle East conflict).

In a world where some people are more than ready to exploit the best nature of others for political gain, we all need to be extremely careful before providing an opening to people ready to turn places like the Presbyterian Church into a club with which to beat their political adversaries.  And it is this lesson that I hope reaches the right ears as much as my general message about the true nature of BDS.