- In a 310-303 vote, the church decides to pull $21 million in investments
- It is backing out of Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard and Motorola Solutions
- It says Israel uses the corporations' products to suppress the Palestinians
- The church is keeping all other investments in Israel and investing in Palestinian Territories, too
[AS ALWAYS PLEASE GO TO THE LINK TO READ GOOD ARTICLES IN FULL: HELP SHAPE ALGORITHMS (and conversations) THAT EMPOWER DECENCY, DIGNITY, JUSTICE & PEACE... and hopefully Palestine]
|A Palestinian man from the Beshr family sits on the debris of his house after it was demolished by Israeli authorities who said it was built without municipal permission on February 5, 2014 in the Arab east Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber.|
updated 4:44 AM EDT, Sat June 21, 2014
Many American Protestants have a reputation for supporting Israel without demur. But a major denomination broke with that convention to jump to the aid of the Palestinian people.
In a cliffhanger vote Friday, the general assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) decided to dump its investments in three corporations it says deliver products to Israel that help the Jewish state suppress its neighbors.
The decision puts the Palestinians and Israelis on equal footing before God, it said.
"We see both as children of God," said Heath K. Rada, who moderated this year's general assembly, the church's biannual leadership meeting.
A day earlier, the church's leadership voted to allow pastors to marry same-sex couples in states where that's legal and to change the definition of marriage in the church constitution from a union between a "man and a woman" to "two persons."
Not weapons makers
After Friday's vote of 310 to 303, the Presbyterian Church will pull about $21 million out of Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard and Motorola Solutions.
Why these companies, which are not exactly arms dealers?
"Caterpillar provides bulldozers that destroy Palestinian homes," said spokeswoman Kathy Francis. HP provides Israel with logistics and technology used in the naval blockade of Gaza.
"Motorola Solutions provides military communications and surveillance systems in illegal Israeli settlements," she said.
But the church still supports Israel and is not about to join the BDS movement -- which calls for boycotts, divestment and sanctions to punish the Jewish state over the Palestinian issue.
"We have significant investments in Israel," Francis said. And the church is keeping them.
The decision was not about politics, but about morals, she said. The church wanted to no longer profit from investing in the destruction of people's homes and lives.
Instead, it's shifting some of its investing wherewithal into economic development programs in the Palestinian Territories.
Following the Catholic lead?
The denomination's stance on the tensions between Israelis and Palestinians could be seen as similar to that Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church, demonstrated when he visited the Middle East in June...READ MORE
|Francis, center, leads an open-air Mass in Bethlehem on May 25.|