The IPMN Supports Divestment Vote on Caterpillar Inc., Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions
NEW YORK - 9/13/11 In June 2004 the Rev. Dr. Glenn Dickson (honorably retired), then pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Gainesville, Florida drove all night to Richmond, Virginia to testify the next day before the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), its highest governing body, in support of an overture from his congregation requesting that the denomination divest of its holdings in Caterpillar, Inc. The reason for that request was because a group from his church had recently traveled to Palestine and seen firsthand the destruction Caterpillar bulldozers were causing to the life and property of innocent Palestinians. Upon being informed today that the denomination’s Mission Responsibility Through Investment Committee (MRTI) voted overwhelmingly to recommend to the denomination that it divest from CAT and two other American corporations, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions, Dickson responded: “It has been seven years since the General Assembly named CAT as a company for possible divestment. I think it is tremendous, and high time that this action be taken. I am proud and happy that MRTI has finally taken this important step.” Dickson served as vice moderator of the Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and has been an active member since its inception in 2004.
The Israel Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) joins Rev. Dickson in support of this important and historic recommendation and we thank the committee for its faithful deliberation. We urge the General Assembly Mission Council, and then the 220th General Assembly meeting in Pittsburgh in July 2012 to affirm MRTI’s recommendation.
MRTI member Joanne Rodriguez pointed out that these companies have shown “total disregard” for the corporate engagement process and said: “You can’t bring about positive change if there’s no relationship, if there’s no communication.” This has been IPMN’s argument from the very beginning of its mandate to speak prophetically to the Presbyterian Church concerning justice in Palestine. The network has raised concerns about these corporations, and specifically urged divestment from CAT at PC(USA) General Assemblies in 2006, 2008 and 2010. As a result of MRTI’s recommendation, the leadership of the Israel Palestine Mission Network now sees that pleas for the Church to substantively pursue a just peace in Palestine are being heard. It is our hope that this action will awaken not only the rank and file of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), but the entire body of Christ worldwide to the injustices being routinely inflicted upon Palestinians as collective punishment in the West Bank and Gaza. The Israel Palestine Mission Network continues to work for a day when the modern equivalent of swords will be beaten into plowshares in Israel and Palestine so that all God’s people may dwell together as brothers and sisters in peace.
Contact: The Rev. Dr. Jeff DeYoe, Advocacy Chair, TheIPMN.org