David C. Cramer is the Managing Editor of the Institute of Mennonite Studies for Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana. He co-authored A Field Guide to Christian Nonviolence: Key Thinkers, Activists, and Movements for the Gospel of Peace (Baker Academic, 2022). He is also pastor of Keller Park Church in South Bend, Ind., a Central District Conference congregation of Mennonite Church USA.
“If you’ve never been there, why do you care?” Anna Johnson asked Kelsey Cramer (my sister-in-law) and me on our way from South Bend to Goshen, Ind., in a 12-passenger van to pick up the rest of our carpool heading to Washington, D.C., on a subzero January morning.
Anna is a Ph.D. candidate in peace studies and sociology, researching the possibilities of peace-and-justice tourism in Palestine. Having grown up Lutheran, she became Mennonite after encountering Mennonite Central Committee workers in Palestine, where she lived for seven years.
For Anna, the atrocities in Palestine are personal. But why, she wondered out loud, were we joining her in an act of civil disobedience?