“I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse…” (Genesis 12:3)
Members of the Presbyterian Church USA voted on Friday to divest from three companies with ties to Israeli security forces and Jews living in Judea and Samaria.
In a very close vote of 310 to 303, members present at the annual meeting in Detroit, Michigan have decided to withdraw all financial investments with Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions.
The church, which has approximately 1.9 million members, has about $21 million worth of investments, a spokeswoman told The New York Times.
In a statement released ahead of the vote, Presbyterian USA said that it was considering divestment in Caterpillar because the construction company provides the bulldozers “used in the destruction of Palestinian homes, clearing land of structures and fruit and olive tree groves, and in preparation for the construction of the barrier wall.”
According to the church, Hewlett-Packard “provides electronic systems at checkpoints, logistics and communications systems to support the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip, and has business relationships with illegal settlements in the West Bank.”
Motorola Solutions “provides military communications and surveillance systems in the illegal Israeli settlements.”
The decision is no surprise as Presbyterian USA has a track record of supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. In 2012, the church voted at its annual meeting to boycott all products made by Jews in Judea and Samaria and to “begin positive investments in Palestinian businesses.”
Heath Rada, the assembly moderator, stated via the church’s news service that the decision to support BDS measures “in no way reflects anything but love for both the Jewish and Palestinian people.”
According to the Times, the recently passed measure also included reaffirmation of Israel’s right to exist, encouragement of interfaith dialogue, support for a two-state solution and provisions for “positive investment” to improve the lives of Israelis and Palestinians.
Editor: Want to know what an expert has to say about the recent vote? Click here.