What the PCUSA actually said about Divestment in the Middle East, 2014

Here’s the full text of what the PCUSA just passed at the 221st General Assembly. Don’t miss #7. You’re welcome to comment, as long as you disclose your identity. I delete anonymous comments.

Click here for some of my own thoughts on the subject.

The PC(USA) has a long standing commitment to peace in Israel and Palestine. We recognize the complexity of the issues, the decades-long struggle, the pain suffered and inflicted by policies and practices of both the Israeli government and Palestinian entities. We further acknowledge and confess our own complicity in both the historic and current suffering of Israeli and Palestinian. Yearning for justice and reconciliation, the 221st General Assembly (2014) recommends the following:

1. Reaffirm Israel?s right to exist as a sovereign nation within secure and internationally recognized borders in accordance with the United Nations resolutions.

2. Declare its commitment to a negotiated two-state solution (two states for two peoples) in which a secure and universally recognized State of Israel lives alongside a free, viable, and secure state for the Palestinian people.

3. Instruct the Presbyterian Foundation and the Board of Pensions of the PC(U.S.A.), to divest from Caterpillar, Inc., Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola Solutions, in accord with our church?s decades-long socially responsible investment (SRI) history, and not to reinvest in these companies until the Mission Responsibility Through Investment Committee of the PC(USA) is fully satisfied that product sales and services by these companies are no longer in conflict with our church investment policy. This action on divestment is not to be construed or represented by any organization of the PC(USA) as divestment from the State of Israel, or an alignment with or endorsement of the global BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanctions) movement.

4. Reaffirm PC(USA)?s commitment to interfaith dialog and partnerships with the American Jewish, Muslim friends and Palestinian Christians and call for all presbyteries and congregations within the PC(USA) to include interfaith dialogue and relationship-building as part of their own engagement in working for a just peace.

5. Call for all foreign aid given by the U.S. government?including aid to Israel and the Palestinian Authority?to be comprehensively and transparently accounted to the American people and held to the same standards of compliance with all applicable laws.

6. Call for church advocacy for foreign-aid accountability to be directed toward its universal adherence rather than targeted for selective application to some recipients and not others.

7. Encourage Presbyterians to travel to the Holy Land, and give broad support to the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim communities throughout the Middle East.

8. Affirm the importance of economic measures and cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians that support and advance a negotiated two-state solution.

9. Urge all church institutions to give careful consideration to possible investments in Israel-Palestine that advance peace and improve the lives of Palestinians and Israelis.


7 responses to “What the PCUSA actually said about Divestment in the Middle East, 2014”

  1. Arthur Shippee Avatar
    Arthur Shippee

    “Actually said”: In one sense, this title is true enough: it’s the text of the motion passed. But texts exist in contexts, and this text was spoken in a complicated context. To know what it “actually said” in context needs a lot more framing.

    As I’ve written, it’s interesting that the base motion was 04-04, the one anti-BDS overture to get to the committee. One might frame the vote as a BDS set-back.

    But, we send out motions into a battlefield, with only their naked texts for defense. We shouldn’t be surprised that the dug-in lines are ready to fire first.

  2. Dear Rev. Ruth Everhart,
    Thank you for posting the information above. I wanted to let you know I gave a copy of your book, ‘Chasing the Divine in the Holy Land,’ to Roey Gilad, Israeli Consul General to the Midwest (including Detroit & Chicago) before GA221 when he asked for background on Presbyterians and Israel / Palestine.
    Have you written your own response to the divestment decision and the other actions regarding the future of PC (USA)’s policy on a two-state solution (or compromise) after GA221?
    The publication of ‘Zionism Unsettled’ by the IPMN in January has done significant and lasting damage to PC (USA)’s reputation as an even-handed agent for reconciliation among all the diverse peoples of Israel / Palestine.
    Your thoughts on these timely issues would be of interest to one of your readers at McCormick Seminary, Hyde Park, Chicago, who is also working on a book on divine presence in the country of Lebanon.
    Faithfully, Rev. Dr. Robert Cathey
    Professor of Theology
    McCormick Theological Seminary
    773.947.6323 (office); 773.791.8857 (cell)

    1. Thanks for asking, Rev. Cathey. I’m working on a blogpost in response to the Divestment decision. Hope to get it posted today or tomorrow.

  3. Tom Richards Avatar
    Tom Richards

    We are singling out Israel for punitive action. This should in no way be interpreted as taking sides in favor of Hamas and Hezbollah. We are liberals and therefore can stick it to our friend while still loving them.

    1. Keith Townsley Avatar
      Keith Townsley

      You proudly boast you are a liberal. That means you officially feel good by taking a “fair” side in a perfect world. In reality, the other side wants to kill you. And your liberalism is suicidal. When it comes to the real world before Christ and since Christ, there is true evil in the world. There never is black and white. Only in a safe liberal United States can we judge Israel. The moderate Muslims have no power and would be killed if they were “fair and liberal” or criticized their own. When you chastise a family member, you don’t do it in public. Why criticise Israel for a splinter in the eye when all the surrounding people and West Bankers have logs in their’s.

  4. Kim Skilling Avatar
    Kim Skilling

    As the mover of the motion’s preamble I believe that there is a period missing. It should read:
    We further acknowledge and confess our own complicity in both the historic and current suffering of Israeli and Palestinian. Yearning for justice and reconciliation, the 221st General Assembly (2014) recommends the following:

    1. Thanks Kim — I was happy to fix that!

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