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Presbyterian General Assembly Votes 310-303 to Divest from Israeli Occupation
an article by End the Occupation

Video: Rev. Don Wagner: Why I Support Presbyterian Divestment

Following a ten year process, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has voted 310 to 303 to divest from Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions, and Hewlett Packard as a result of the companies’ involvement in the Israeli military occupation.

click on photo to enlarge

This historic move came roughly two weeks after the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits of the United Methodist Church -- the largest mainline Protestant denomination in the United States -- decided to sell off all stocks in private security company G4S due to company’s supplying of equipment used in Israeli prisons in the occupied West Bank, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation likewise confirmed their selling of all $184 million in G4S shares following an international, Palestinian-led campaign calling for divestment.

“These successful campaigns illustrate the mainstreaming of divestment from the Israeli occupation as a nonviolent tactic to end U.S. complicity in the violation of Palestinian rights,” said Anna Baltzer, National Organizer of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, a coalition of more than 400 organizations.

“I am heartened to see the Presbyterian Church standing on the right side of history with this vote,” said Amanda James, a Palestinian-American student organizer from the Detroit area who was also involved in campus divestment campaigns that have swept the nation. “From mainstream churches to American universities and beyond, Palestinian voices calling out for an end to institutional complicity with Israeli oppression are being heard.”

“It was time for our church to align its words with action,” said Bob Ross of the Presbyterian Church’s Israel Palestine Mission Network after the vote. “Divestment is a time-tested, nonviolent, faithful act of love and I have never been prouder to be Presbyterian.”


Question(s) related to this article:

Israel/Palestine, is the situation like South Africa?, Would a Truth and Reconciliation Commission help?

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The following discussion concerning the Presbyterian divestment from companies aiding the Israeli occupation of Palestine was received from The Tikkun Daily.

Editor’s Note from Rabbi Michael Lerner: We invited the Religious Action Center of the Reform Movement and J Street, both of which have opposed the Presbyterian divestment resolution, to respond to those who support the Presbyterian resolution. Neither agreed to do so. Tikkun has sought to be a safe space in which both sides could present their thinking. But it’s hard to get the two sides in the Jewish world to sit together and discuss the issues, since anyone who supports even the very limited form of divestment proposed by the Presbyterians is, as J Street’s Jeremy Ben Ami said recently in explaining his opposition to any form of Boycotts, Divestments or Sanctions, crossing “a red line” and hence, in the view of the Jewish establishment, automatically suspect of being anti-Semitic. We believe a public debate is a more healthy way to conduct this discussion, and so we are disappointed that neither J Street nor the Reform Movement accepted our invitation.

Presbyterian Divestment – A Jewish Perspective
by Cantor Michael Davis, Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council

The first time I wore a kippa and talit outside of a synagogue setting was four year ago outside a hotel in downtown Chicago overlooking the Chicago river. I was singing with a group of my colleagues, local Reform cantors, to protest the mistreatment of hotel workers. I had the privilege of getting to know worker leaders, edit a national clergy report into worker conditions and organize my fellow clergy in Chicago. This was an exciting time – we took over the lobby of a Hyatt hotel with a flashmob, met with senior executives, collaborated with Christian clergy, traveled to other cities and on and on. . ...more.

This report was posted on June 21, 2014.