Presbyterian Church Panel Approves Israel Divestment Resolution

July 4, 2012  

The Committee on Middle East and Peacemaking Issues of the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly agreed to vote on divesting its portfolio from three companies whose products, it alleges, are used by Israel to enforce the “occupation of the West Bank.”

The resolution, which passed by a vote of 36 to 11 with one abstention, recommends that the church divest from Caterpillar, Motorola and Hewlett-Packard for contributing to Israel’s “violations of Palestinian human rights.”

The general church body is scheduled to vote on the resolution either Thursday or Friday of this week.

The vote, which took place during the church’s biannual meeting, followed more than a day of testimony and debate among committee members.

Supporters of divestment invoked ‘Palestinian’ suffering and said that Christian values compelled them to take action against the alleged injustice.

Opponents of the resolution voiced concern over the increasing rift in the relationship with American Jews and asked that the church continue to do business with the companies in question.

The committee added a sentence to the resolution affirming the church’s commitment to “continuing investment in [companies] operating in Israel and Palestine that support peaceful pursuits.” The committee also added a comment explaining that divestment will occur over a series of months.

On Monday, Brian Ellison, chair of the Mission Responsibility through Investment committee, charged Hewlett-Packard with selling hardware used by Israel in its naval blockade of Gaza, Motorola with supplying surveillance technology to “Israeli settlements” and Caterpillar with providing militarized machines that raze “Palestinian” homes.

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