For Immediate Release: July 3rd, 2012
Contact: Rev. John Anderson and Rae Abileah, rae[at]codepink.org
Presbyterian Church (USA) Middle East and Peacekeeping Committee Votes to Boycott Israeli Settlement Products
Boycott Specifies Ahava Dead Sea Cosmetics and Hadiklaim Dates
On Tuesday, July 3, the Middle East and Peacekeeping Committee (Committee 15) of the 220th Presbyterian General Assembly voted to boycott all Israeli settlement products, including Ahava Dead Sea cosmetics and Hadiklaim dates. The vote is consistent with decades of Presbyterian opposition to Israeli settlements and the occupation of the West Bank.
Overture 15-02 “On Boycotting Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories and Hadiklaim (an Israeli Date Growers Cooperative)” (https://www.pc-biz.org/IOBView.aspx?m=ro&id=3775) was expanded to include all settlement products, and then passed in committee with 37 votes for, 6 against, and 2 abstentions. The overture now goes to the plenary session for a final vote, which will likely take place on Thursday or Friday of this week.
Earlier in the day, Committee 15 voted in favor of Overture 15-11, which calls for divestment from Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola Solutions, three US companies that profit from the Israeli Occupation and violations of Palestinian human rights.
“We hope plenary voters will follow the lead of Committee 15 and the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Racial and Ethnic Concerns and support the boycott of Israeli settlement companies, which are in violations of international law,” said Rev. Dr. Walt Davis, Israel Palestine Mission Network Education Co-Chair. “No one should profit from the suffering of the peoples of the Holy Land.”
“Thank you Presbyterians for following G-d’s teaching ‘You shall not steal,’ in passing this overture. As a Jew, I support this interfaith work for peace and justice,” said Rae Abileah, member of Young Jewish Proud, the youth wing of Jewish Voice for Peace, and co-director of CODEPINK.
Three years ago CODEPINK launched the Stolen Beauty boycott of Ahava cosmetics (www.stolenbeauty.org). Since then, Ahava has been targeted by human rights activists around the world, from Capetown to London to Los Angeles, because of the company’s flagrant violations of international law.Boycott of settlement goods, including Ahava cosmetics, has become an increasingly popular way for global citizens to help take the profit out of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories. Jewish support for settlement boycott is increasing. Over a dozen rabbis signed a letter to Presbyterian delegates explaining their support for the Ahava boycott overture. () During the past few months, several prominent Israelis and Jews have endorsed settlement boycott, including former Speaker of the Israeli Parliament and World Zionist Organization leader Avraham Burg, former Israeli Foreign Ministry director Alon Liel, and Jewish-American political pundit Peter Beinart.
The church boycott comes in response to the pleas of Palestinian Christians, as outlined in the Kairos Palestine document.