Support for Divestment in the United Methodist Church

May 10, 2016 — The Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) supports our Methodist brothers and sisters who are seeking this week to divest from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.

The United Methodist General Conference is considering resolutions that would divest the Church’s holdings of Hewlett Packard, Motorola Solutions, Caterpillar, and any company that produces goods or services in illegal Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land. The General Conference is also considering a resolution that would establish an investment screen to remove and avoid future investments in illegal settlements.

Divestment from these companies is still a vital tool that we Christians can use to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for their full set of human rights. In  2009, every Palestinian Christian Church called upon the rest of the world to use boycott, divestment, and sanctions as non-violent tools to help end the occupation and other human rights abuses. Many of us, including the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), have responded to that call.

Such non-violent responses are still necessary. The peace process has failed; the turn toward armed violence has been deadly and counterproductive; and the situation on the ground continues to get worse for both Israelis and Palestinians. Moreover, these companies are still profiting from violations of Palestinian rights. Hewlett Packard continues to serve the Israeli Navy with technology used to uphold the illegal and life-threatening blockade of Gaza. HP is also still producing biometric scanners that the Israeli military uses to racially profile Palestinians at checkpoints in the occupied West Bank. Motorola Solutions continues to manufacture fuses for Israeli bombs. And Caterpillar is still profiting from armored D9 bulldozers that are used to demolish Palestinian homes and agricultural land.

We hope and pray that the United Methodist General Conference will follow in the footsteps of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the United Church of Christ in taking this prophetic action toward a just peace in Israel/Palestine.