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

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 3
     Previous   Next 
    by: Gregg from: Colorado
    June 21, 2014 6:38 PM
    Israel's arrogance will be their demise.

    by: Angela from: USA
    June 21, 2014 6:25 PM
    those company shares were eagerly bought by American Evangelical Churches, Chinese Companies, and Russian Corporations... hey money is money... and if the Presbytery is stupid - we all benefit..!!!

    thank God for Presbyterian idiocy

    by: Jim Colegrove from: Santa Maria, CA
    June 21, 2014 5:43 PM
    I am proud to respond, as a lifelong Presbyterian, that our, and many other congregations, have divested ourselves of our association with the ever liberal-leaning-sectarian Presbyterian Church USA. This decision was reached, in a democratic process by an overwhelming majority of us, because of the growing division between us and our Christian brothers and sisters in the PC-USA who are growing ever more focused on ignoring the ancient tenants of our faith, judging others - like Israel, and being "all-inclusive" in a society that needs to stand up for its beliefs - as the Israelis have demonstrated and done since 1948.

    by: No Surprises from: USA
    June 21, 2014 5:38 PM
    Not surprised at all, the bible itself which christians and catholics claim to believe (which they label the "old testament") clearly indicates in Nevi'im (the books of the prophets) in THE TESTAMENT (yes there's only one, and its eternal) that all the earth (christianity and islam) would eventually come against the Jewish people and G-D's eternal truth. All the actions of the church simply reveals its true self just as it has throughout history. No matter the denomination, methodist, protestants, or whatever, they're all a concealment of G-D and truth.

    by: Sally Wells from: Los Angeles, CA
    June 21, 2014 5:32 PM
    I doubt Israel could give to dried figs what a group of spoiled American Christians do or think.

    by: Billy Ray from: USA
    June 21, 2014 5:14 PM
    I see the Presbyterians agree with Hitler in that is all the fault of the JOOOOS

    by: William Stanford from: usa
    June 21, 2014 4:35 PM
    The p church hase already turned into Sodom & gommorah. Now," start with my fathers people, and your troubles have just started. and that's a fact.

    by: enubus from: USA
    June 21, 2014 4:23 PM
    Shameful is not adequate, more like despicable! The so-called Palestinians have no claim to anything unless the Israelis give it to them. As we can see the Oslo Accords were a debacle, by short sighted morons as in Peres and Rabin. If this church of leftist fools want to recognize terrorists so be it. God will pay them back in spades. I can't wait for Ezekiel.' s prophecies to manifest.

    by: Rob from: California
    June 21, 2014 4:10 PM
    It isn't that the Palestinian's think it is occupied territories, the world knows this. To state "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." is to infer that it is only a consideration. Also, how about the way Christians are treated in the region as well? Does that matter or is it only the human rights of Jews that we should care about?

    by: Steve from: Berkeley California
    June 21, 2014 3:26 PM
    sickening that the Presbyterians have to point their fingers abroad. What about all the US arms companies bringing mayhem and murder across the world? Such hypocrites have been her forever many masquerading as holier than thou. There is a need for real soul searching by the Churches to condemn violence and those who prepared the tools of violence. for shame to ignore what is right under their noses.
    Comments page of 3
     Previous   Next 

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora