Message to Presbyterian Church: Oppose Divestment, Invest in Peace

by David Lentz


The biennial Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly will take place from June 30-July 7, during which the General Assembly (GA) will consider several resolutions calling for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.


One in particular, a resolution to divest from three companies (Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola Solutions), has received approval from the church’s socially responsible investment committee (MRTI), the highest governing body other than the biennial GA. Among the other matters before the denomination are overtures prescribing boycotts, calling Israel an apartheid state, and a paper in Christian-Jewish relations that was tabled at the last GA.


To encourage our Presbyterian colleagues to table these newest resolutions, the Israel Action Network and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs have gathered over 17,000 signatures of Jews from across North America in a “Letter in Hope” that encourages delegates to the General Assembly to support peace and reject the proposed divestment resolutions.


The letter urges Presbyterian leaders to instead focus on efforts of reconciliation, calling on “Israeli, Palestinian and other Middle Eastern leaders to prevent violence and attacks on civilians, support Palestinian state-building and economic development, promote positive investment opportunities, provide humanitarian aid through appropriate channels, protect existing agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and, most importantly, encourage a resumption of negotiations among the parties toward a two-state agreement that will help bring about peace, which is at the core of our traditions.”


The letter makes the point that divestment is not a solution to the peace process and disregards the complex history and geopolitics of all people that have been negatively impacted by the continuing conflict.


The “Letter in Hope” builds on a letter sent to the church earlier this spring that was signed by 1,300 rabbis across the political and religious spectrum. A similar letter was sent to the delegates of the United Methodist Church before their General Conference last month at which a similar divestment resolution was defeated by a 2-1 margin.


The Community Relations Committee of MetroWest and Central NJ circulated the letter in last week’s e-Update and posted it on our Facebook page. If you have notalready done so, we urge you to sign your name and share this letter with your friends, colleagues, and family.


Please join us in speaking out against divestment. Our voice is strongest when we stand together.


To learn more about how to respond to allegations that Israel is an apartheid state visit, a website written and maintained by the CRC.


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