HP-free justice

Mar 26, 2018 by

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In faithful response to the Seeking Peace in Israel and Palestine resolution that passed overwhelmingly at the 2017 Mennonite Church USA convention, Manhattan (Kan.) Mennonite Church unanimously voted Feb. 19 to become an HP (Hewlett Packard) Free Church. The proposal was recommended by our Peace, Service and Witness Committee.

Besides home and office products, HP has a separate division that makes biometric (facial or fingerprint recognition) technology that is embedded in identification cards that only Palestinians are required to carry. These cards serve as the basis for unjust discrimination in travel, housing, employment, health care, education and other basic human rights.

Within their own country, Palestinians must go through multiple checkpoints where HPE (Hewlett Packard Enterprises) supplies biometric technology for Israel’s BASEL ID system. Checkpoints separate workers from their fields, students from schools, sick people from hospitals and family members from each other. With the help of HPE technologies, Pal­estinians are routinely delayed or denied travel for days, months or even years.

The pledge our moderator signed reads, “As a community of faith, we recognize that mass incarceration, restrictions on movement and illegal settlements and occupation are unjust, unsustainable and irresponsible practices. Until HP ends its complicity in the illegal Israeli occupation and ceases to profit from the violation of Palestinian human rights, we pledge to not buy Hewlett Packard products, including printers, computers and ink.”

In 2017 our adult Faith Formation class participated in a study of “Kairos Palestine, a Moment of Truth” and hosted the Mennonite Church USA, Jewish and Palestinian Voices for Peace tour. Both events helped inform our congregation.

Manhattan Mennonite Church joins the Western District Conference, Israel Palestine Task Force and the MennoPIN Action Advocacy Sub-Committee to encourage other congregations to consider becoming HP Free Churches. Additional information about the HP Free Church campaign may be found at fosna.org.

Bob Atchison
Manhattan, Kan.

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