The following piece was published in Jacobin on February 2, 2018. Click here to view the full article.
By Radhika Sainath
After attending several presentations about Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, Kansas math teacher Esther Koontz decided she wouldn’t buy products from SodaStream, an Israeli company. She was pleased when her church agreed: in July 2017, Mennonite Church USA passed a resolution urging its members to “avoid the purchase of products associated with acts of violence or policies of military occupation, including items produced in the settlements.”
Esther’s life continued more or less the same; she just didn’t carbonate her water at home or buy certain brands of hummus. She completed a train-the-trainers program for public school math teachers and was looking forward to the career benefits and extra pay ($600 per training, plus travel expenses).
Then she received an email from the Kansas State Department of Education stating that she needed to sign a certification that she was not engaging in a boycott of Israel before giving three scheduled trainings.