Presbyterian Church votes in favor of divestment

TIMES OF ISRAEL
by Rebecca Shimoni Stoil
June 21, 2014

Jewish leaders condemn vote pulling funds from 3 firms — Caterpillar, Motorola, and Hewlett-Packard — deemed profiting from Israeli occupation

In a move that a number of Jewish leaders warned would damage Jewish-Presbyterian relations for years to come, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA voted Friday in favor of divesting from three US companies which they complained profit from Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.

The motion to divest from Caterpillar, Motorola, and Hewlett-Packard passed by a narrow margin of 310-303, despite intensive campaigning by a number of Jewish organizations, including the Reform Movement, the American Jewish Committee, and JStreet. The General Assembly also passed, by a much wider margin of 482-88, a resolution to re-examine the Church’s stated support for a two-state solution.

The run-up to the vote was closely watched by pro- and anti- Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activists, although members of the church’s Middle East Issues Committee stressed that the resolution should not be seen as a larger divestment from Israel. In the end, the General assembly added an amendment which explicitly said that the Church was not divesting from Israel, but only these three companies.

The General Assembly rejected an amendment that would have reinvested the funds in Israeli companies that sought “peaceful solutions.”

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