Unwittingly, Friends’ Central School in Wynnewood, PA, a well-regarded Quaker establishment, has once again come under fire for its ties to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement supported by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).
The school operates in accordance with the Quaker philosophy of “simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality and stewardship. Underlying all facets of School life is the belief that ‘there is that of God in everyone.’ Meeting for Worship is central, providing time for connections among members of the community and between individuals and their spiritual sources. Peaceful resolution of conflicts, seeking truth and collaboration are key aspects of a Friends’ Central education.”
The Quakers have cultivated their image as peaceful and supremely benign. Few suspect, much less know, that one of their central missions is promoting the BDS movement that opposes Israel’s existence.
The Quaker experience in the Middle East was unique; they provided relief to Palestinian refugees in 1949-1950 but withdrew after the United Nations took over. The Friends also spearheaded religious diplomacy about the fate of Jerusalem, which was besieged and divided during the war of 1948. Though the mission was unsuccessful, and Jerusalem would remain divided until 1967, their efforts were characterized by the scrupulous evenhandedness and appeals to the religious sensibilities of Christians, Muslims and Jews.
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