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Protecting our

Right to Boycott

and Divest

Whereas United Methodists and other religious communities have long sought to address injustice using only nonviolent means, and

Whereas measures such as boycotts have proven to be useful tools in helping to bring constructive social change, as seen in the civil rights movement in the United States and the global anti-apartheid campaign for South Africa, and

Whereas boycotts are a constitutionally protected form of free speech in the United States and many other nations
(US Supreme Court Volume 458, Case 886 (1982) https://su- preme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/458/886/case.html), and

Whereas the National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine (NCCOP) has issued an urgent call to church bodies around the world, asking them to increase their support for the human rights of all ethnic and religious minorities in the Holy Land and to vigorously defend the right to protest violations of human rights, not only with words, but with nonviolent economic actions such as boycotts and divestment
(https://www.oikoumene.org/ resources/documents/open-letter-from-the-national-coali- tion-of-christian-organizations-in-palestine), and

Whereas, in both 2012 and 2016, The United Methodist Church has called on “all nations to prohibit...the import of products made by companies in Israeli settlements on Palestinian land,” thereby calling for an international boycott of the Israeli settlements
(Resolution #6111, 2016/2012 United Methodist Book of Resolutions), and

Whereas thirteen United Methodist annual conferences have called for their own conference and/or the denomination to divest from companies that support and profit from the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land
(Baltimore-Washington, California-Nevada, California-Pacific, Desert Southwest, Detroit, New York, West Ohio, Northern Illinois, Minnesota, New England, Oregon-Idaho, Pacific Northwest, Rocky Mountain www.kairosresponse.org), and

Whereas, in 2016, the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits of The United Methodist Church (Wespath) announced they had divested from an Israeli business that was constructing Israeli settlements and from two Israeli banks and that five Israeli banks would be excluded from their investment portfolios, after having previously announced their divestment from a company running Israeli prisons
(“Israeli Banks on Ineligible List for Pension Agency” Jan. 13, 2016, United Methodist News Service https://www.umnews.org/en/news/israeli-banks-on-ineligible-list-for-pensions-agency https://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/16/us/method- ist-church-group-links-divestment-move-to-israel-and-a- firms-prison-role.html), and

Whereas eleven annual conferences and one jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church have affirmed and defended the right to peacefully address injustice through economic actions such as boycotts and divestment (Minnesota, New England, Upper New York, Great Plains, Desert Southwest, Oregon-Idaho, Florida, East Ohio, West Ohio, California-Nevada, Michigan and the Western Jurisdiction
http://um-insight.net/perspectives/kairos-response-commends-resolutions-on/), and

Whereas a recent wave of governmental measures has swept through in dozens of state legislatures in the United States, imposing penalties on citizens and businesses for engaging in boycotts that address Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights or for simply refusing to pledge that they will refrain from such boycotts (https:// palestinelegal.org/righttoboycott ), and

Whereas, in 2017, as a result of such state legislation, a Mennonite public school teacher in Kansas was denied the right to be considered for a job solely because, in accordance with the stance of her church, she refused to relinquish the option of boycotting products made in Israeli settlements
(“Teacher Sues over Kansas Law Banning Contracts with Israel Boycotters” - Wichita Eagle, October 11, 2017 http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-gov- ernment/article178313846.html), and

Whereas the United States Congress in recent years has sought to condemn the use of time-honored economic methods such as boycott and divestment for nonviolently addressing injustice (https://palestinelegal.org/federal), and

Whereas similar laws, governmental measures, and judicial decisions have been appearing in historically democratic societies such as the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and other democratic societies in Europe, as well as other countries around the world, and

Whereas, in 2021 and 2022, U.S. state legislatures and the federal government have been discussing and/ or implementing similarly restrictive legislation that seeks to protect the fossil fuel industry and gun manufacturers
(http://nytimes.com/2022/05/27/climate/repub- licans-blackrock-climate.html https://jewishcurrents.org/what-the-fossil-fuel-indus- try-learned-from-anti-bds-laws https://www.972mag.com/fossil-fuels-climate-bds/), and

Whereas the United Methodist Book of Discipline calls on all Christians to resist unjust governmental interference in the work of the church
(The United Methodist Book of Discipline 2016, ¶164B),

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the 2024 General Conference of The United Methodist Church opposes any interference by any local, regional, or national government in the right to address injustice through non- violent economic means, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the 2024 General Conference of The United Methodist Church urges all United Methodists to send this resolution to their local, regional, and national elected officials, and to advocate against the suppression of time-honored and nonviolent means of addressing injustice.


United Methodists are responding to Kairos Palestine: A Moment of Truth ,a statement of faith and urgent call to action from Christians in Palestine.  UMKR seeks, through nonviolent means and in partnership with Palestinian Christians, freedom, justice and equality for all Palestinians and Israelis.

The First Amendment Protects the Right to Boycott Israel
Brian Hauss, ACLU Staff Attorney, July 2017

Earlier this week, the ACLU sent a letter [2] to members of Congress opposing the Israel Anti-Boycott Act [3]. The bill would amend existing law to prohibit people in the United States from supporting boycotts targeting Israel — making it a felony to choose not to engage in commerce with companies doing business in Israel and its settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.
     Violations would be punishable by a civil penalty that could reach $250,000 and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison.

See this ACLU article in your browser  Or see it at our RIGHT TO BOYCOTT page - scroll down that page


Protecting the Right to Peacefully
Address Injustice 

Petition #20613; ADCA, Volume 2, Section 1, Pp. 189-190

Download this resolution, the 2019 version: PDF file   or  Word doc

A newer version of this legislation was submitted to General Conference in 2023:

Petition #20783-CA-R9999; ADCA Vol 3, Supplement, Page 1201

Download this resolution, the 2023 version: PDF file or Word doc

We now have the full text of the 2023 petition on this page, replacing the text from the older version. This 2023 petition has updated and expanded information. UMKR would recommend this version as the best one to adopt.

On the right, find resources to LEARN MORE about this subject.▶︎

See the full text of this resolution below.


Beyond the United States
The governmental attacks on free speech rights that should be guaranteed are also happening in Europe. Learn more about that and see helpful resources at our
Right to Boycott page.

Statements by United Methodists

& Our Faith Partners

Broad faith coalition calls on Americans to protect First Amendment rights in full-page adSee the ad

Twenty Christian Leaders representing 17 national organizations send open letter to Congress, opposing anti-BDS legislation
See the letter

The 2016 Western Jurisdictional Conference of the United Methodist Church Opposes Anti-BDS Legislation See the resolution

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Attorney Brian Hauss has been one of the principal staff of the ACLU writing and speaking about this legislation. In this 4-minute interview he explains the problems with anti-BDS legislation.


Protecting our

Right to Boycott

and Divest

​​​​​​United Methodist General Conference 2024:
Legislation & Resources on Israel/Palestine