Kansas Mennonite Esther Koontz isn’t the only one facing difficulty because of her views on boycotting items made in contested zones of Israel-Palestine.
The American Friends Service Committee, the Quaker organization that won the 1947 Nobel Peace Prize for its work, along with the British arm of the organization, supporting and rescuing more than 22,000 victims of the Nazi regime, has been blacklisted by Israel. Along with leadership from 19 other organizations, the senior leaders of the AFSC are no longer permitted to enter Israel because of the organization’s support for targeted boycotting, divesting from, and sanctioning businesses that violate human rights in the region. Critics argue that the BDS movement is anti-Semitic.
Above, Quakers serve post-WWII Europe.
The blacklisting seems to have surprised the organization.
It also, I think, complicates questions about how organizations can approach the question of using member power to sway the politics of other nations. Currently, the American Studies Association is facing a lawsuit from some former members who accuse the organization of changing its mission from an educational to a political one after ASA formally moved to participate in BDS. And the Modern Language Association just saw past president Margaret Ferguson resign her membership over the issue; the MLA recently passed a resolution that, according to Ferguson, “closed the door in a constitutionally unprecedented way on future debate about the Palestinian call for boycott of Israeli academic institutions,” thereby sending “the message to the world that it wants protests about the conditions of teaching and learning in Palestinian universities off the table.”