Presbyterian Church to vote on divestment from companies that profit from Israeli occupation of Palestine


Presbyterian Church to vote on divestment from companies that profit from Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Jewish leaders support growing movement to divest from Israeli occupation.

[June 5, 2014. New York] At its biennial General Assembly, June 14th to the 21st in Detroit, the 1.7 million-member Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) will consider proposals to divest church funds from three companies that profit from operations in occupied Palestinian territory— Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions and Hewlett-Packard. If passed, the divestiture would be the largest church divestment in the United States to date regarding Israeli occupation and settlement of Palestine.

Jewish Voice for Peace, which is sending a delegation of young Jews and Rabbis to the General Assembly at the invitation of Presbyterians pushing for divestment, released this statement from their Rabbinical Council, “Every day Jewish leaders – we among them – are stepping forward to express outrage over the confiscation of Palestinian land, destruction of farms and groves and homes, the choking of the Palestinian economy and the daily harassment against Palestinians. Members of our Jewish communities are increasingly voicing their support for nonviolent popular resistance against these outrages – including the kind of principled, targeted divestment efforts such as the Presbyterian Church (USA) is preparing to undertake.”

At the 2012 Presbyterian General Assembly, a similar divestment proposal failed by only two votes.  A boycott of settlement goods was approved instead. Since that time, numerous institutions have embraced divestment as a way to pressure Israel to end its occupation including: student governments at 5 out of 9 University of California campuses; numerous European banks; and the Dutch firm PGGM, one of the largest pension funds in the world.

A religious community that proclaims justice and peace as its primary mission cannot accept funds from corporations that help maintain the vast system of repression used to occupy Palestinian land and harm Palestinian society,” says Interfaith Partners in Action (IPA), a multi-faith coalition that includes Jewish Voice for Peace members,  in “support of the Presbyterian Church in its quest to align its prophetic principles with actions that support the end of Israeli Occupation”, according to a petition IPA is circulating online, with nearly 10,000 signatures.

After a ten-year failed corporate engagement strategy, PCUSA’s Mission Responsibility Through Investment, the church body in charge of socially responsible investments, recommends full divestment from Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola Solutions, who profit from the bulldozing of Palestinian homes, the creation of a segregated biometric ID system, and the provision of surveillance services to illegal Israeli settlements built on stolen Palestinian land, respectively.

This year, in addition to divestment, the church will consider a proposal calling for a boycott of all Hewlett-Packard products.

About Jewish Voice for Peace

Jewish Voice for Peace has over 130,000 online supporters, 40 chapters, a youth wing, a Rabbinic Cabinet, and an Advisory Board made up of leading U.S. intellectuals and artists.  

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