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

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Video US Landmark Pushes Endangered Species

People gathered in streets, on rooftops in Manhattan to see image highlights that covered 33 floors of Empire State Building More

World’s Widest Suspension Bridge Being Built Over Bosphorus

Once built, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge will span 2 kilometers with about 1.5 kilometers over water, and will be longest suspension bridge in world carrying rail system 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.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs