Discretion or Valor for Palestine

At its meeting on June 26, the Committee on Social Justice and International Policy discussed next steps in its discernment on the resolutions on Palestine and Israel. It was a sort of temperature-taking by the committee and its bishops on the mind of the House of Bishops at this time.  Valor, a committee member commented, comes from the grassroots, discretion from those in power. As a struggling pacifist, as an Episcopal Peace Fellowship member, as once part of the team in Hebron with Christian Peacemaker Teams, I fall into the ‘valor’ category - as does the Episcopal Peace Fellowship. We push the envelope. 

The House of Bishops in the past has chosen to take the counsel of the Bishop and now Archbishop in Jerusalem on matters concerning his diocese and specifically over the last years on boycott, divestment and sanctions against companies enabling Israel’s occupation of Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank.  The Archbishop does not support boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel or against companies whose products enable Israel’s Occupation.

General Convention is meeting in the seat of the Bishop of the Missionary District of Utah (1916-1918), Paul Jones. In speaking to the Fellowship of Reconciliation in 1917, Jones said “War is Unchristian.” The controversy his statement raised led the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops to appoint an investigative commission which ended up disagreeing with Jones’s statement and recommending that he “ought to resign his office, thus rejecting [his] right to object to war on grounds of faith and conscience.”  [Thanks to Holy Women, Holy Men.]

General Convention will likely be considering resolutions around positive investment for Palestine and divestment from companies enabling the violence of war and occupation in Palestine.

Will the House of Bishops come down on the side of valor or of discretion on these issues?

Donna Hicks,
Episcopal Peace Fellowship Palestine Israel Network


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