Home > News, Palestine, US > US Presbyterian Church Divest from companies doing business with Israel

US Presbyterian Church Divest from companies doing business with Israel


by Marivel Guzman

Presbyterian Church Logo

Presbyterian Church Logo

In another victory for Palestine today the General Assembly of the United State Presbyterian Church in its 221st GA (2014) voted 310-303 in favor to divest from companies that don’t comply with the church policies of “peace making” adding today another triumph to Boycott and Divestment and Sanctions, the Palestinian non-violent civil movement pressuring Israel to comply with its international obligations as an occupier force according to the statutes of the Geneva Convention and United Nations resolutions adopted against Israel.

The GA of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) urges divestment from corporations involve in military-related production, tobacco and human rights violations. See list of companies

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In March 2002, General Assembly Clerk Clifton Kilpatrick sent a letter to Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon stating in part, “While we do not condone the acts of violence by certain Palestinian extremists, we are appalled that Israel, in response, has continued to punish the entire Palestinian population and its leaders who have been your government’s partners in the peace process.”

In its web side the Presbyterian Church announced on January 13 of this year to put in the agenda for Detroit 221st Assembly the vote to divest from companies not in compliance with the church General Assembly that  since 2004  have directed Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI) to use the church’s customary corporate engagement process to ensure that church investments are made only in companies engaged in peaceful pursuits in Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

“After years of corporate engagement through 2013 and utilizing all tools that we had available to us, these three companies remain entrenched in their involvement in non-peaceful pursuits, and regrettably show no signs of their behavior changing. If anything, since the 2012 General Assembly these companies have deepened their involvement with non-peaceful pursuits that make the General Assembly’s goal of a just peace even more remote,” said Elizabeth Terry Dunning, MRTI committee chair.

The General Assembly military-related divestment policy was first adopted in 1982, and has been revised three times since then.The most recent revision was made by the 1998 General Assembly. This policy is an outgrowth of the General Assembly’s adoption of Peacemaking: A Believer’s Calling, which asked the entire church to review its witness and seek additional ways to promote peacemaking.

At its 221st General Assembly minutes the church voted 310-303 in favor to divest from Caterpillar, which provides heavy equipment that has been used by Israel to demolish Palestinians’‍ homes and build roads for illegal settlements on occupied land; and Motorola Solutions and Hewlett Packard, both of which provide high-technology products and services such as surveillance systems and biometric scanners at checkpoints.BD

 

I am an American Jew that has witnessed first-hand the oppression of the Palestinian people. I spent three months in Nablus in the West Bank. While I was there, I experienced the humiliation these people go through every day just to get to work or visit family in the villages. They have no freedom of movement. There are hundreds of checkpoints scattered between cities in the West Bank, making what should be half hour commutes take up to two hours. This has nothing to do with protection and security for Israel. Most of the check points are not even on the border with Israel. What is happening is an apartheid state where one ethnicity is allowed more rights and Boycott Divestment and Sanctions worked during apartheid in South Africa and we can make it work now! Abby Harms comment on Presbyterian Church forum at Docket 221st General Assembly

 

The Presbyterian Church through its transformational Investment project in Palestine seeks to support collaboration, minimize Palestinian dependence on others  investing in West Bank.
The investment objective is to increase the potential viability of a Palestinian State at peace with Israel……Read more

BDS logo

BDS logo

 

The global movement for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights was initiated by Palestinian civil society in 2005, and is coordinated by the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), established in 2007. BDS is a strategy that allows people of conscience to play an effective role in the Palestinian struggle for justice

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