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(Wissam Nassar / Maan Images)

Urgent appeals to support upcoming US church divestment initiatives

Next week, the United Methodist Church will vote on a major BDS initiative at its general conference in Tampa, Florida, where delegates will consider divestment from Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions and Hewlett-Packard — corporations that sell equipment, technology and communication systems to the Israeli military, thereby supporting Israel in its occupation and apartheid policies against Palestinians.

The Presbyterian Church (USA) will follow with a similar divestment vote in July. As we reported two months ago, the Presbyterian Church’s full General Assembly Mission Council voted on 17 February to approve a recommendation from the Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI) committee to divest from its holdings in all three aforementioned companies.

In their report, PCUSA said that officials had been attempting to communicate with the three US companies regarding their sales to Israel, but that “substantial change does not seem possible,” and, as one Council member said, “we just cannot profit from these companies.”

Simple ways to endorse the divestment initiatives and get involved

The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation has been a driving force in supporting the US church divestment initiatives, and has put together simple ways that the general public can endorse and publicize the upcoming divestment votes.

“It is hard to overstate the significance of these campaigns. Passage of these resolutions would encourage other institutions and major churches to take action. It would also send Israel one of the strongest messages yet that its oppressive policies will no longer be tolerated,” the US Campaign states on its church divestment page. 

A letter signed by Palestinians of all faiths and backgrounds in support of the divestment vote is on the US Campaign website and is gathering more signatures. The letter, written by Palestinian Christians, will be delivered to United Methodist delegates voting at the 2012 General Conference.