Jewish Voice for Peace supports Presbyterian divestment from Israeli occupation

Oakland, CA, Feb 5, 2014 – Jewish Voice for Peace commends the Presbyterian Church (USA) as it considers divesting its assets from three multinational companies (Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola Solutions.) that profit from Israel’s military occupation and colonization of Palestinian lands. The recommendation to divest was issued by the socially responsible investment body of the church (see pdf of recommendations here) and needs to be approved this week by the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board in Louisville, Kentucky, before being sent for a vote at the church’s General Assembly in Detroit this June.

“The church has wrestled with this issue for ten years. In the process, illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem have grown and Israel’s almost 47-year-old occupation has become ever more entrenched,” said Rabbi Alissa Wise. “The church’s divestment initiative will put it on record in opposition to settlements and occupation and in favor or a true and just peace. This is the outcome that all people of conscience—Jews, Christians, and Muslims—have been praying for.”

In 2012, a divided Presbyterian General Assembly narrowly rejected a divestment overture by 333-331 votes. At the same time, the Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of boycotting settlement goods. Some of the settlement goods sold in the US include SodaStream water carbonation devices, Ahava cosmetics, and HaDiklaim dates.

The three multinational companies in question are implicated in the selling of bulldozers used as weaponized machines to flatten civilian areas and to demolish Palestinian homes (Caterpillar), the operation of biometric identity devices that control and restrict the freedom of movement of Palestinians (Hewlett-Packard), and the selling of surveillance systems intended to protect Israeli settlements illegally built on confiscated Palestinian land (Motorola Solutions).

Jewish Voice for Peace is the largest organization of Jews and allies in the US advocating for an end to the Israeli occupation and working for peace with justice in the Middle East. We have over 35 chapters across the country, a Rabbinical Council, and a youth wing (youngJVP).

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