The call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) demands of us that we respond. It is important that we engage with the issues it raises before we take a stance; we may want to consider the possibility that our response and our stance may change over time. The information we have is not always as full and as useful as we might wish but any response would be difficult even if we had the fullest information possible.

The call for BDS is controversial and raises strong views and emotions among those who support it and those who oppose it. Some of this is outlined in our discussion paper.

The lack of hierarchical global structures in the Society of Friends makes it very difficult to arrive at a corporate position on any issue. However, our faith requires us to bear witness to Truth, Equality, Integrity and Peace – our traditional testimonies, which arise from the one Light that guides us all. We believe that we are called, individually and corporately, to be faithful to these testimonies, and judge all our actions in their light. The Quaker Council for European Affairs (QCEA) does not have a position, nor does it seek to formulate a “Quaker position” on behalf of all Friends, but is making resources available to Friends so that they may, individually and corporately, have hearts and minds prepared when considering the issues involved in the call for BDS.

The QCEA discussion paper on this issue is part of that programme of work. It recognises that as Friends we are not bystanders in this conflict; there are Friends in Palestine who live with the conflict every day; Friends have had a presence in Palestine for well over 100 years.

This paper is intended to generate discussion and is not intended to represent a policy position of QCEA in any way. We encourage broad debate and welcome constructive feedback on this discussion paper.

To read the discussion paper in full, click here (pdf – 505kB).