United Methodist Kairos Response urges Congress to listen to the recent call from Christian leaders for a review of US military aid to Israel. It reflects decades of similar appeals from our denomination, which strenuously opposes the continued confiscation of Palestinian land by the Israeli government.
In 2001, the United Methodist Council of Bishops called for ending U.S. aid to Israel until "all human rights violations cease, building of roads for the purpose of dividing the Palestinian lands …cease, no more Jewish settlements are built in occupied territories, and all home demolitions cease." In 2004, 2008 and 2012, the church's global policy forum, the General Conference, reiterated its call for an end to Israel's occupation and urged the US government to end all military aid to the region. This year's General Conference put actions behind its words by endorsing a boycott of all products made by Israeli companies on occupied Palestinian land.
United Methodist clergy, laity, and mission staff have been visiting and living in Israel and Palestine for many years, and have seen the Israeli military's grave and systematic abuses of Palestinian human rights and international law with their own eyes. These witnesses, representing all the major constituencies within the church, have repeatedly asked us to stop pretending that this is a conflict between parties with equal power. It might well be easier to remain neutral, as critics urge, but this is no longer possible.
Since the U.S. government is in effect supporting Israel's human rights abuses through unrestricted funding of its military, we have a moral duty to speak out against these injustices. United Methodists have repeatedly condemned racism, anti-Semitism, and all other abuses of basic human rights around the world, from Sudan to South Africa to the cucumber fields of North Carolina. If Christians must be faulted, it should be for not applying our ethical and moral standards uniformly to Israel's 45-year-old occupation and colonization of Palestinian land, and its denial of Palestinian human rights and freedom.
About UMKR: In 2009, thousands of Palestinian Christians signed an urgent plea to the churches of the world to help end the brutal occupation of their land. United Methodist Kairos Response is a global grassroots group formed to answer that call.