After 10 years of dialogue and shareholder resolutions, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) recently voted to sell its investments in three U.S. contractors that profit from Israel's 47-year military occupation of Palestinian lands.
This $21 million divestment is consistent with the church's 40-year history of responsible investing by avoiding companies engaged in weapons, human rights violations, alcohol, gambling and unfair labor practices. The firms divested include Caterpillar, supplying armored bulldozers used to demolish Palestinian homes and orchards; Hewlett-Packard, which furnishes biometric monitoring, enabling segregation according to ethnic groups at checkpoints in Palestine and Israel; and Motorola Solutions, which provides communication and weapons systems used to enforce military control in Palestinian land.
Dozens of witnesses spoke at this conference, including rabbis for and against divestment. A South African minister, recently returned from the Holy Land, compared the situation of the Palestinians with his own experience with apartheid. Several dozen activist members of Jewish Voice for Peace wore black T-shirts with the slogan "Another Jew Supporting Divestment."
Presbyterian leader Rev. Gradye Parsons summarized in an interview: "We're still committed to Israel and its right to exist, but we're concerned about the occupation and think that Israel can do better."
Where is your church money invested?
Vincent D. Stravino