Presbyterian Church (USA)

Presbyterian Church names companies for 'progressive engagement' over role in Middle East violence

Today, the Mission Responsibility through Investment (MRTI) Committee of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) announced that it will begin its process of ‘progressive engagement’ with five companies it says contribute to the ongoing violence that plagues Israel and Palestine. The Committee’s action is in response to a resolution passed last year by the Church’s General Assembly and is consistent with the Church’s long-standing practice of ensuring its investments are used to further the Church’s mission. The companies selected for initial focus are Caterpillar, Citigroup, ITT Industries, Motorola and United Technologies. 

Criticism from Jewish groups prompts ‘clarification’ of Presbyterian Church

Responding to widespread public criticism from a number of Jewish groups, the Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick, stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (USA), has issued a statement to “clarify the actions of (the recent 216th) General Assembly” on Israel and on the PC(USA)’s commitment to dialogue with people of other faiths. Most of the criticism has concerned the Assembly’s condemnation of the “security wall” being constructed between occupied Palestinian territoriesand Israel; its call for selective divestment of stock in companies doing military and security business with Israel; and its decision not to suspend funding of a controversial “Messianic” Jewish congregation in Philadelphia Presbytery. 

Assembly Presbyterian Church endorses Israel divestment

The 216th General Assembly approved several measures opposing the Israeli occupation of Palestine Friday, including a call for the corporate witness office of the Presbyterian Church (USA) to begin gathering data to support a selective divestment of holdings in multinational corporations doing business in Israel/Palestine. Divestment is one of the strategies that U.S. churches used in the 1970s and ’80s in a successful campaign to end apartheid in South Africa. The vote was 431 to 62 to have the church’s Mission Responsibility Through Investment Committee (MRTI) study the matter and make recommendations to the General Assembly Council.