Protecting the Right to Peacefully Address Injustice
Note: the correct recommended version has been posted here 13 Dec. 2022.
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, (1) 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, (2) 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, (3) 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, (4) 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, (5) 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, (6) and
Whereas a recent wave of governmental measures has swept through 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, (7) 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, (8) 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, (9) and
Whereas, in 2017, twenty Christian leaders of major denominations and organizations, including the United Methodist Church and the National Council of Churches, published an open letter addressed to the U.S. Congress in which they strongly opposed “any legislation that suppresses legitimate criticism of public policy, and that restricts freedom of expression and our ability to determine our own witness through investment and selective purchasing practices” and further declared: “we collectively affirm and defend the right of churches and organizations to use economic measures in the specific case of Israel-Palestine. This is consistent with how churches and church-related organizations have employed economic measures as nonviolent tactics in many instances of seeking justice and peace throughout history,” (10) and
Whereas similarly restrictive laws, governmental measures, and judicial decisions have been appearing in historically democratic societies such as the United Kingdom, France, Germany and other democratic nations 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 similar legislation that seeks to protect the fossil fuel industry and gun manufacturers; (11) and
Whereas the United Methodist Book of Discipline calls on all Christians to resist unjust governmental interference in the work of the church, (12)
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the _____________Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church opposes any interference by any local, regional, or national government in our right to address injustice through nonviolent economic means, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the _____________Annual Conference urges all United Methodists of the conference to contact their local, regional, and national elected officials, to communicate this resolution and to advocate against the suppression of time-honored and nonviolent means of addressing injustice.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Conference Secretary will inform all federal and state legislators that represent the region of the _________ Annual Conference of the adoption of this resolution and will include the full text of the resolution in that correspondence.
1. US Supreme Court Volume 458, Case 886 (1982) https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/458/886/case.html
3. Resolution #6111, 2016/2012 United Methodist Book of Resolutions
Baltimore-Washington, California-Nevada, California-Pacific, Desert Southwest, Detroit, New York, West Ohio, Northern Illinois, Minnesota, New England, Oregon-Idaho, Pacific Northwest, Rocky Mountain
5. “Israeli Banks on Ineligible List for Pension Agency” Jan. 13, 2016, United Methodist News Service
Minnesota, New England, Upper New York, Great Plains, Desert Southwest, Oregon-Idaho, Florida, East Ohio, West Ohio, California-Nevada, Michigan and the Western Jurisdiction
8. “Teacher Sues over Kansas Law Banning Contracts with Israel Boycotters” - Wichita Eagle, October 11, 2017 http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article178313846.html
12. ¶164B The United Methodist Book of Discipline
UMKR has five recommended resolutions for United Methodist justice advocates to use in their annual conferences in 2023.
Scroll down to see the full text of each resolution on this page. In 2023, on this page we will provide informational resources for each of these resolutions.
Some of these have titles and text similar to resolutions from previous years, but they have been amended and updated:
• Opposition to Unjust Theology Regarding the Holy Land
(opposing Christian Zionism)
Download the resolution in Word Download as a PDF file
• Protecting the Right to Peacefully Address Injustice
(opposing anti-boycott laws)
Note: the correct recommended version has been posted here 13 Dec. 2022.
Download the resolution in Word Download as a PDF file
• Israeli Detention of Palestinian Children
PLEASE NOTE: these resolutions are written in the Whereas/Resolved Format. They may need to be edited or formatted differently to fit the requirements of each annual conference.
Resolutions for 2023 Annual Conferences
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Because We Care
Whereas Christians in the Holy Land have issued an urgent call to Christians, churches and ecumenical institutions “to engage in a process of study, reflection and confession concerning the historic and systemic deprivation of the rights of the Palestinian people, and the use of the Bible by many to justify and support this oppression.” (Cry for Hope: A Call to Decisive Action: www.cryforhope.org); and
Whereas we cannot serve God faithfully while remaining silent about the oppression of the Palestinian people; and
Whereas struggling for a future based on human rights, liberty, and justice for all people in the Holy Land is especially crucial now; and
Whereas the justice movement United Methodists for Kairos Response (UMKR) was established in 2010 to answer the call of Palestinian Christians and offers resources, speakers, and other assistance for individuals and congregations seeking to learn about the Holy Land and become advocates for justice and peace;
Therefore, be it resolved that each voting member of the conference bring this message to their home congregation; and
Be it further resolved that each church in the ______Conference is strongly encouraged to:
• Engage in study and discussion of “Cry for Hope” and learn more about the Palestinian people and their struggle with UMKR educational materials at www.kairosresponse.org.
• Oppose the equating of criticism of the Israeli government’s unjust actions with antisemitism.
• Answer Palestinian Christians’ call to “come and see” the reality of their lives today in the Holy Land.
• Locate a knowledgeable and available speaker, in consultation with UMKR justice advocates, and arrange for that person to speak to the congregation on this subject.
for our work to continue.
For News & Alerts
Opposition to Unjust Theology Regarding the Holy Land
WHEREAS many Christians adhere to the theology of Christian Zionism, believing that the modern state of Israel is a continuation of biblical Israel and a fulfillment of biblical prophecy and that “it is the responsibility of Christians to support the State of Israel and its policies,” (1) and
WHEREAS the New Testament does not prophesy a modern Israeli state controlled by any single group of people, but does envision a time when Christ will have eliminated “the dividing wall of hostility” between Jews and Gentiles (Ephesians 2:14), and
WHEREAS a statement endorsed by thirteen bishops and patriarchs of Palestinian Christian churches says that Western Christians have attached “biblical and theological legitimacy to the infringement of our rights” and calls on their fellow Christians to “deepen their reflection on the Word of God and to rectify their interpretations” and avoid “any use of the Bible to legitimize or support political options and positions that are based upon injustice,” (2) and
WHEREAS, for decades, the United Methodist Church has opposed Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people, including: “the continued military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, the confiscation of Palestinian land and water resources, the destruction of Palestinian homes, the continued building of illegal Jewish settlements, and any vision of a ‘Greater Israel’ that includes the occupied territories and the whole of Jerusalem and its surroundings,” (3) and
WHEREAS Christian Zionism is having a significant and dangerous impact on U.S. policy regarding Israel, by obstructing efforts to achieve a just peace and promoting U.S. acceptance of unjust treatment of Palestinians, and the Israeli government is increasingly reliant on Christians in the United States who adhere to this theology for political support. (4)
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the ________________ Conference of the United Methodist Church declares its opposition to any theology or biblical interpretation that would justify denying or violating the human rights of Palestinians and other religious and ethnic minorities in Israel/Palestine, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the _________________ Conference calls on its bishop to establish a task force to explore and identify the biblical and theological reasons for opposing Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people and to submit a report to the 2023 annual conference session which shall include recommendations for actions the Conference should take in light of those findings.
2. The Kairos Palestine Document – Paragraphs 2.3.3 and 2.4
3. Opposition to Israeli Settlements in Palestinian Land, UMC Book of Resolutions 2016, Resolution #6111
4. Christian Zionism and the Formation of Foreign Policy
The Impact of Christian Zionism on American Policy
The mainstreaming of Christian Zionism could warp foreign policy
The Dangerous Potent Elixir of Christian Zionism
As Israel increasingly relies on US evangelicals for support, younger ones are walking away
What Next for Christian Zionists?
Download the resolution as a PDF file
Addressing Israeli Detention of Children
Whereas thousands of Palestinian children, some as young as 12 years old, have been taken from homes and villages in their own land since 2000, (1) and
Whereas it has been independently documented that many of the children have been abused by the Israeli military or by settlers, (2) and
Whereas the children who are removed from their homes are taken to settlements or to interrogation sites, and sometimes into Israel which is a war crime according to the Fourth Geneva Convention, (3) and
Whereas UNICEF has documented that the children are often held for an extended time with no lawyer and without the presence or even knowledge of their parents, (4) and
Whereas the Social Principles of the Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church explicitly affirms the rights of children, (5) and
Whereas United Methodist Women, (now called United Women of Faith) made the issues of incarceration of racial minorities and the well-being of children and young people as two of their priorities for the 2016-2020 quadrennium, (6) and
Whereas the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child has been ratified by every member of the United Nations except the United States, (7) and
Whereas in the previous six years, legislation has been introduced and reintroduced in the United States Congress that seeks to prevent the United States from financing Israel’s military detention, interrogation, abuse, and ill-treatment of Palestinian children, (8) and
Whereas the United Methodist baptismal covenant binds us to accept the freedom and power God gives us to “resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves,” (9)
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the ________________Annual Conference formulate a plan that addresses:
A. how best to educate and inform United Methodists around the issue of child incarceration;
B. how best to interact with lawmakers and leaders around the world but particularly in the United States on the issue of child incarceration;
C. possible actions United Methodists can take to avoid contributing to the suffering, abuse and imprisonment of Palestinian children, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that recommendations produced by the aforementioned plan be brought to the 2024 ____________________Annual Conference for review and/or action.
2. https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.MAGAZINE-most-palestinian-minors-arrested-by-israel-claim-violence-during-detention-1.5456372 April 3, 2017
“Implementation of the Fourth Geneva Convention in the occupied Palestinian territories: history of a multilateral process (1997-2001)” International Committee of the Red Cross March 3, 2002 https://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/article/other/5fldpj.htm
4. https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-two-thirds-of-palestinian-minors-testify-to-abuse-in-israeli-detention-1.5629260 December 21, 2017;
Children in Israeli Military Detention: Observations and Recommendations, February 2015
https://www.dci-palestine.org/without_enshrined_protections_children_under_israeli_military_arrest_face_rampant_abuses, September 18, 2018
5. ¶162C, The United Methodist Book of Discipline 2016
8. Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act https://mccollum.house.gov/sites/mccollum.house.gov/files/documents/17.1107MCCOLL_005_xml.pdf https://mccollum.house.gov/sites/mccollum.house.gov/files/documents/MCCOLL_011_FINAL3_xml.pdf
9. United Methodist Hymnal, pg. 34
Download the resolution as a PDF file
Identifying and Opposing Apartheid in the Holy Land
WHEREAS, in most of the region between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, Israel is the sole governing power, and, in the remainder, Israel maintains primary control over Palestinians’ lives, and
WHEREAS Israeli authorities have demonstrated a clear intent to maintain domination over Palestinians by enacting a system of laws and policies that grant full self-determination exclusively to Jewish Israelis and enforce systematic oppression of Palestinians, which is the essence of an apartheid system, and
WHEREAS apartheid is not defined by the conditions that existed in South Africa, but by the United Nations Convention on Apartheid of 1973 and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court of 1993, (1) and
WHEREAS apartheid is named as a “crime against humanity” under international law and the primary features of apartheid include:
WHEREAS within Israel and in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), the Israeli government has established its control over the lives of Palestinians with discriminatory laws and policies specifying where they can live, whom they can marry, where and when they can travel short distances, which roads they can drive on, how much water they can use, when they can access their own farms, what land they can purchase, which justice system they are subject to, whether they will receive due process, and the kinds of punishment they will receive, and
WHEREAS Israel has seized more than three-quarters of the land of its Palestinian citizens and continues their dispossession today, and Palestinians in the OPT have lived under Israeli military law for generations without any protected civil rights, and
WHEREAS Israel has blatantly codified a racist governing principle in the Nation State Basic Law of 2018, which grants self-determination exclusively to the Jewish citizens of Israel, and
WHEREAS many authoritative scholars and organizations have conducted in-depth investigations and issued reports regarding Israeli apartheid, including:
In 2009, a thoroughly documented, 302-page report on the OPT by an international group of legal scholars, commissioned by the South African government,
In 2017, the 74-page report commissioned by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA): “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid,”
In 2020, a 58-page report published by the Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din: “The Occupation of the West Bank and the Crime of Apartheid;”
In January 2021, a strong indictment of the Israeli government from Israel’s most eminent human rights center, B’Tselem: “A regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This Is Apartheid,”
In April 2021, another extensively documented report, this from the world-renowned Human Rights Watch: “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution,” and
In February 2022, the powerful and comprehensive report from the global leader in human rights advocacy, Amnesty International: “Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians,“ (2) and
WHEREAS these commissions, legal scholars, and human rights organizations have all come to the same unavoidable conclusion: that the Israeli government is committing the crime against humanity known as apartheid, and
WHEREAS, if apartheid is to be opposed and abolished, it is essential for the international community to recognize and name apartheid where it exists, and
WHEREAS Kairos Palestine, the Palestinian Christian movement endorsed by all the major Christian denominations in Palestine, in their "Cry for Hope" of 2020 has called upon the Church around the world to nonviolently oppose both “apartheid and occupation” in the Holy Land and to “uphold a vision of inclusivity and equality for all peoples of the land,” (3) and
WHEREAS the Social Principles of The United Methodist Church state that United Methodists “commend and encourage the self-awareness of all racial and ethnic groups and oppressed people that leads them to demand their just and equal rights as members of society,” and furthermore “call the Church to challenge any hierarchy of cultures or identities,” (4) and
WHEREAS The United Methodist Church has forcefully declared its opposition to the crime of apartheid, calling it a “heresy” and “a sin” that must be “condemned unequivocally – within Southern Africa and neighboring countries and throughout the world.” (5)
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the ___________________ Conference of The United Methodist Church affirms that apartheid is antithetical to the Gospel message and that we recognize and oppose Israeli apartheid as we strive to "resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves," and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Conference calls on the U.S. government to condition U.S. funding to Israel upon Israel’s willingness to dismantle its apartheid system and implement all the rights due to Palestinians under international law, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Conference urges all United Methodist clergy and laity to listen to the voices of Palestinians regarding their situation, by meeting with them in their homeland, by seeking opportunities to hear from them at online events, and through the study of the Palestinian Christians’ landmark 2020 document entitled “Cry for Hope: A Call for Decisive Action.”
1. The International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, United Nations –
The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court –
2. Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa report –
“Occupation, colonialism, apartheid? A re-assessment of Israel's practices in the occupied Palestinian territories under international law”
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) report – “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid,”
Yesh Din Report –
“The Occupation of the West Bank and the Crime of Apartheid”
B’Tselem Report –
“A Regime of Jewish Supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: It is Apartheid ”
Human Rights Watch report –
“A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution ”
Amnesty International report –
“Israel’s Apartheid against Palestinians: A Look into Decades of Oppression and Domination”
3. Kairos Palestine Statement –
“Cry for Hope: A Call for Decisive Action ”
4. Social Principles: The Social Community
The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church 2016
5. “Southern Africa,” Book of Resolutions, adopted 1988; “Web of Apartheid. South Africa and the destabilization of its neighbors,” Book of Resolutions, adopted 1992