Presbyterian Church Divests from Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola over Israeli Occupation Policy

Tuesday, June 24, 2014
(graphic: Steve Straehley, AllGov)

A major Protestant church has decided to withdraw its investments from three American companies that support Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory.

 

With only seven votes to spare (310-303), Presbyterian Church U.S.A.’s (PC(USA) governing body voted last week to divest $21 million from Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions. The corporations have reportedly provided Israel with means to destroy Palestinian homes, operate border checkpoints, and develop border barriers between it and Gaza. The church’s decision also included statements affirming the church’s belief in Israel’s right to exist.

 

Nonetheless, many Jewish groups were upset at the news, fearing the move represented a weakening of support for the Jewish homeland among U.S. Christians.

 

 “A vote for divestment will cause a painful rift with the great majority of the Jewish community,” Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, said at PC(USA)’s biennial general assembly. “If we are truly partners and you disapprove this divestment overture, I look forward to sitting with your leadership in the prime minister’s office in Jerusalem. You can choose partnership and engagement or you can choose separation and divestment.”

 

Other Jewish organizations came out in support of the divestment decision, including the Jewish Voice for Peace. “This is a turning point,” the group said in a prepared statement. “The Presbyterians’ decision is a major development in the longstanding work to bring the U.S. into alignment with the rest of the world.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff

 

To Learn More:

On Supporting Middle East Peacemaking—From the Presbytery of New Covenant (Presbyterian Church USA)

Presbyterian Church Divests From Companies That Provide Equipment For Occupied Territories (by Jack Jenkins, Think Progress)

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