When both the conservative Front Page magazine and the liberal Huff Post run articles blasting your anti-Israel lawsuit, it might be time to duck for cover.
Wichita contract teacher Ellen Koontz finds herself in just about everyone’s crosshairs except the ACLU’s.
With the ACLU’s help, Koontz has sued to overturn the Kansas law HR 2409, which prohibits state contracts with individuals, like Koontz, who refuse to say they will not participate in a boycott of Israel.
The Kansas legislation against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement took effect July 1, 2017. The Mennonite Church-USA, one of many Mennonite splinter groups, adopted its pro-BDS resolution five days after the legislation went into effect. Four days after that, Koontz refused to sign the form certifying she would not boycott Israel.
Now she is seeking a temporary injunction to block the law’s enforcement.
Koontz has made a serious enemy in Edwin Black, an investigative reporter and the son of Holocaust survivors. Black managed to place lengthy articles in Front Page, Huff Post, and the Jewish Advocate.
Black doesn’t pull his punches. Each article begins as follows: “Ellen Koontz, a Kansas contract schoolteacher, is asking a federal judge to re-affirm the anti-Jewish boycott campaign begun by Adolf Hitler on April 1, 1933.” Nothing good can follow that opening.
Black argues that Koontz has disguised “her purely political campaign as a religious duty handed down from the sixteenth-century, non-confrontational teachings of the pacifistic Mennonite religion.” He continues, “Koontz has duped the court.”
A word that Black does not use in his lengthy description of Mennonite Church-USA is “liberal.” And yet its alliance with liberal groups and affection for liberal causes would seem to be the impetus behind its divestment campaign and not any historical affection of German Mennonites for Adolph Hitler.
The MC-USA strayed seriously from the Mennonite mainstream in 2015 when it required its followers to endorse same-sex marriage and pro-Palestinian causes. In this regard, it is not a whole lot different from the many mainstream Protestant churches more interested in signaling their virtues than in following church teachings.