We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with the Muslim, Jewish, and Christian peacemakers who were barred from traveling to Israel on July 24. We applaud the efforts of the delegation whose goals included to “meet with those in both Israel and Palestine who are working every day for a just peace in the Holy Lands,” according to Rick Ufford-Chase, moderator of the 216th General Assembly, Presbyterian Church (USA) and member of the delegation.
We are greatly concerned that five members of the interfaith delegation were barred because of their vocal support of equal rights for Palestinian people. As faith leaders we hold paramount the freedom to act upon one’s moral convictions. In this particular case these members held that nonviolent tactics of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) should be used to confront Israeli human rights abuses.
Our respective agencies and denominations agree that those who pursue their political ends by nonviolent means have the right to freely express their views and should not be barred, fined, or jailed.
We stand with Jews, Muslims, and Christians, Americans, Palestinians, and Israelis, and people of any faith or nationality who are working to make peace possible by challenging oppressive systems and extremist ideologies with their nonviolent witness against injustice.
We condemn the decision by the Israeli government to single out these individuals for their moral convictions and actions which are based on their faith traditions and international law. We condemn attempts within our country to similarly criminalize nonviolent economic action. We call on the State Department, U.S. lawmakers and airlines like Lufthansa, to not allow or participate in this kind of political discrimination within our borders.