News / USA

US Presbyterian Church to Divest from Israeli-Linked Investments

A construction site is seen in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Givat Zeev, near Jerusalem.
A construction site is seen in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Givat Zeev, near Jerusalem.
Mike Eckel
The U.S. Presbyterian Church has voted to divest its financial holdings from three American companies doing business in parts of Israel considered by Palestinians to be occupied territory.

The governing General Assembly voted Friday 310-303 to remove holdings in Caterpillar Inc., Hewlett-Packard and Motorola from the church’s portfolio of investments, according to a statement posted on its Web site.

Though largely symbolic, the decision comes amid building pressure on other churches, companies, organizations, universities and others by the “Boycott, Divest and Sanctions” movement, known as BDS.

The statement said the Assembly members included a preface to its resolution saying the church was committed “to peace in Israel and Palestine."

“We recognize the complexity of the issues, the decades-long struggle, the pain suffered and inflicted by policies and practices of both the Israeli government and Palestinian entities. We further acknowledge and confess our own complicity in both the historic and current suffering of Israeli and Palestinian yearning for justice and reconciliation,” the resolution stated.

The resolution explicitly noted that the vote “does not mean an alignment with the overall strategy of the global BDS movement.”

That movement, started by Palestinian groups almost a decade ago, seeks to put financial pressure on Israel to reach accommodation with Palestinians on the status of refugees, territories in the West Bank and a comprehensive peace deal.

The church, which reportedly holds about $21 million in investments in the three companies, held a similar vote two years ago that failed. In addition to supporters of the divestment, this year’s vote had attracted intense lobbying from Jewish groups.

Israel's reaction

In a statement posted Friday night on its Facebook page, the Israeli Embassy in Washington called the resolution "shameful."

"Voting for symbolic measures marginalizes and removes its ability to be a constructive partner to promote peace in the Middle East," the statement said. “We would have hoped that (the Presbyterian church) would have joined us in promoting peace and denouncing terrorism."

The companies targeted have contracts to sell earth-moving equipment, surveillance technology and other goods that activists say are used by Israel to build settlements and violate rights of Palestinians.  
 
The Presbyterians, which have around 1.8 million members in the United States, are not the first American church to have divested from investments connected to Israel. But it is the most prominent U.S. religious group to endorse divestment as a protest against Israeli policies toward Palestinians.

The Mennonite church and the Quakers had taken similar steps in recent years, according to The Associated Press, and last week a panel of the United Methodist Church said it had sold holdings in a company that has contracts with Israel’s prison system.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 3
    Next 
by: Dwight from: Ray
June 24, 2014 6:45 PM
This does not go far enough. Until California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas are returned to Mexico, members of the PCUSA should leave those states... immediately!


by: David Gill from: St. Louis, MO
June 24, 2014 9:44 AM
Perhaps your writer should say in the article that this is the PCUSA denomination, not all of the Presbyterian denominations in the United States. This article is generic to the point of unhelpful in this important fact.


by: Lumumba from: White House
June 23, 2014 5:34 AM
presbyterian church this sect not the church.


by: Steve Grumman from: Arizona
June 22, 2014 8:16 PM
It clearly appears that the Netanyahu regime is using the kidnap as an excuse to drive a wedge between Hamas and the PLO, now that they have formed a unity government for Palestine.
Given the cycle of violence between Palestine and Israel that goes on and on, these death I will signal further responses from the Palestinians, which will lead to further acts of retribution from the Israeli occupation army.


by: Alphonse Capone
June 22, 2014 7:49 AM
Finally someone is standing up to the arrogant Israelis. I completely disagree that it is without meaning. It shows a shift in how we view them, which may slowly ripple through other areas and then become a prevailing view. Also, economic threats are very powerful. Taking money from someone hurts them. I completely agree and am sick of their guilting us into believing in their cause. Their cause was to create piece, that is why they were created, and they have failed. Time for force them to get back to the mission.


by: susie bonis from: Florida
June 22, 2014 7:01 AM
I think we should divest the pres. church from their tax exempt status immediately! How dare they?


by: Pasquinel.Canada
June 22, 2014 3:01 AM
Just another God forsaking denomination. No surprise here. Enjoy your reaping. True Christ followers have already left from among your midst and you wonder why you are dwindling? Focus on reading the bible instead of compromising with Satan. Gods word still condemns homosexuality and that will not change. God is real, satan 9s real...CHOOSE.


by: 1worldnow from: Earth
June 21, 2014 10:19 PM
Israelis are in a mad panic right now, screaming, rioting, buying up all the water and canned goods, running for shelters..........what?..........oh.........they aren't.........what do you mean?.............the Israelis are asking "what is a Presbyterian church?" OK, Jews, we get it! But you don't have to class all goyim into this group of bible-thumping self-righteous Christians. Give us a break! I'm sure the only impact this so called "caring about people" gesture (or, jest-ure, it is funny) means that some poor Israeli boy won't get the top-of-the-line dreidel for Hanukkah. 8 crazy nights....and you guys rip on Santa? Well, you guys did invent Rudolf.
See it for what it is, all of you. The PCUSA is losing so many members, that it's offering plates are getting the lettuce it used to get. So they have to cut back, capice? So why not make headlines with this retarded idea? Because the media loves people like you, people who love to jump to conclusions and insult the Jews, and the Jews insult the Christians (Hiltler reference.....REALLY?). So all of you guys want to ride the fun and wacky train of media hype, have fun, I didn't buy a ticket. The Israelis should have sent the PCUSA a thank you card "Thank you PCUSA, since you have divested from our investments, we no longer feel we are covered in pig's blood! XOXOXOX" Oh come on, you've got to have a since of humor peeps! Tell you what, "PCUSA", how about you let the world know what your church is investing in, since you had to go public and garner the world's attention for your anti-Israel actions. And "Enubus from USA", not smart to wish bad tiding upon anyone at aytime. And don't invoke Ezekiel's good name just because you arre frustrated with the goyim, K? Good grief, the guy is up there chilling, been on vacation for what, more than 2,000 years? I think he has made it clear that his prophecies are in no hurry, and neither should you. If self-righteous Christians annoy you, then imagine how self-righteous Jews are? And I didn't say anything about your big noses either! We can all live and love each other bro. After all, holocaust survivors gave birth to the greatest band ever, Rush! Greastest! EVER!!! schmuck


by: Bill H from: West Orange, NJ
June 21, 2014 8:48 PM
For rank and file Presbyterians, the substantial minority of whom, and perhaps the majority, are against this action, the question is what can be done in response. One action to be taken by them and others is to purposely invest in the three barred companies - Motorola Solutions, Caterpillar, and HP.

In furtherance of that approach, I have invested $5,000 in Motorola as a gesture that if replicated widely would negate the symbolic value of the church's actions.

Please visit my rinky dink site undivest.com if you wish to do the same. For me, it's just a gesture that makes it possible for me to attend Presbyterian services in the future.


by: boom from: los angeles
June 21, 2014 7:05 PM
" in parts of Israel considered by Palestinians to be occupied territory." oh VOA how thinly veiled your political bent is....considered occupied by not only the Palestinians but by much of the world

Comments page of 3
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid