[The following press release was issued by US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation on 20 June 2014.]
Following a ten year process, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has voted 310 to 303 to divest from Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions, and Hewlett Packard as a result of the companies’ involvement in the Israeli military occupation.
This historic move came roughly two weeks after the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits of the United Methodist Church -- the largest mainline Protestant denomination in the United States -- decided to sell off all stocks in private security company G4S due to company’s supplying of equipment used in Israeli prisons in the occupied West Bank, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation likewise confirmed their selling of all $184 million in G4S shares following an international, Palestinian-led campaign calling for divestment.
“These successful campaigns illustrate the mainstreaming of divestment from the Israeli occupation as a nonviolent tactic to end U.S. complicity in the violation of Palestinian rights,” said Anna Baltzer, National Organizer of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, a coalition of more than 400 organizations.
“I am heartened to see the Presbyterian Church standing on the right side of history with this vote,” said Amanda James, a Palestinian-American student organizer from the Detroit area who was also involved in campus divestment campaigns that have swept the nation. “From mainstream churches to American universities and beyond, Palestinian voices calling out for an end to institutional complicity with Israeli oppression are being heard.”
“It was time for our church to align its words with action,” said Bob Ross of the Presbyterian Church’s Israel Palestine Mission Network after the vote. “Divestment is a time-tested, nonviolent, faithful act of love and I have never been prouder to be Presbyterian.”