Pre General Assembly Press Release
For Immediate Release
June 12, 2014
This Saturday, the 221st biennial General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will open in Detroit, Michigan. Once again, a series of resolutions related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be debated, including divestment from three US companies that profit from Israeli abuses of Palestinian human rights: Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola Solutions.
Two years ago, at the 220th GA in Pittsburgh, a similar resolution was debated but never came to a vote after a replacement overture calling for “positive investment” passed by just two votes 333-331 (with two abstentions) before it got to the floor.
In the two years that have passed since the last GA, Israel has continued to expand and entrench its illegal settlement enterprise on occupied Palestinian land, destroy Palestinian homes, farms, businesses, and other property, and imprison millions of Palestinians in isolated cantons surrounded by walls, checkpoints, and settlements. A nine-month intensive peace effort overseen by US Secretary of State John Kerry has failed, largely due Israeli settlement construction, as acknowledged by Secretary Kerry and other senior US officials, and even by Israel’s chief negotiator.
As Presbyterians, Christians, and conscientious citizens of the world, Israel/Palestine Mission Network members are hopeful that this time around Presbyterians will vote to endorse the recommendations of the Mission Responsibility Through Investment committee to divest from these three companies, concluding a decade-long process of investigation and corporate engagement that was unsuccessful in modifying their behavior. In doing so, Presbyterians will send a strong message that we act on our beliefs and refuse to profit from non-peaceful pursuits and from the suffering of others, and that we support Palestinians in their nonviolent struggle for freedom and justice.
We are encouraged by the decision taken by the United Methodist Church pension fund just this week to divest all of its shares in British security firm G4S due to its involvement in supporting Israel’s occupation, and by the Gates Foundation’s recent decision to do the same following criticism of G4S’s dealings with the Israeli prison system.
We urge our Presbyterians brothers and sisters to follow their consciences and vote in favor of divestment, following in a long and honorable Presbyterian tradition of divesting from human rights abuses and non-peaceful pursuits in apartheid South Africa, Sudan, and elsewhere.
Rev. Dr. Jeffrey DeYoe
IPMN Advocacy Chair
Established by action of the 2004 General Assembly, the Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA) encourages congregations and presbytery mission committees, task groups and other entities, toward specific mission goals that will create currents of wider and deeper involvement with Israel/Palestine.