GAMC recommends divestment from Caterpillar, Motorola, Hewlett-Packard

GA asked to shed stock ‘until they have ceased profiting from non-peaceful activities in Israel-Palestine’

February 17, 2012

LOUISVILLE

The General Assembly Mission Council (GAMC) is recommending that the upcoming 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) divest the church of its stock in three companies “until they have ceased profiting from non-peaceful activities in Israel-Palestine.”

The three companies are Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions and Hewlett-Packard.

At issue are their participation in the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the construction of the “security barrier” between Israel and Palestinian territory, and the destruction of Palestinian homes, roads and fields to make way for the construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which have been declared illegal under international law.

“We have run out of hope that these companies are willing to change their corporate practices [in Israel-Palestine],” said the Rev. Brian Ellison, a Kansas City pastor and chair of the denomination’s Mission Responsibility Through Investment Committee (MRTI). “We have made diligent effort to engage in conversation. We’d like to do more, to make progress, but substantial change does not seem possible.”

MRTI has engaged six companies regarding their business practices in Israel-Palestine since the 2004 PC(USA) General Assembly launched its corporate engagement process. Three of the six companies have since been removed from consideration.

Citigroup reached an agreement with MRTI on modifying their activities in the region. ITT Industries has divided and its subsidiary in Israel now falls under MRTI’s military-related rubric. Dialogue is continuing with United Technologies.

“This is not a boycott,” Ellison insisted, “nor is it a call for general divestment. “We hold stock in many companies that do business in Israel and the West Bank. What we are asking is divestment from particular companies where engagement has not been productive.”

Noting that the PC(USA) has consistently condemned violence by both sides in the Israel-Palestine conflict and since 1948 has called for a “two-state solution” with secure borders for both Israel and Palestine, Ellison said, “We are trying to engage both sides. Our sole goal is a just peace.”

Kears Pollock, a council member and retired corporate executive from Bruin, Pa., opposed the recommendation, saying that divestment is “ineffective and unproductive and actually goes against peacemaking. In fact, some of these activities have actually saved lives. This action condemns every businessman sitting in Presbyterian pews across the country.”

Council member Teresa Bazemore of Penn Valley, Pa., replied that “the [divestment] issue has been painted with too broad a brush. “We are invested in many companies engaged in peaceful pursuits in Israel-Palestine. These three companies have made a conscious decision not to do so. It is our right and responsibility not to invest in these companies.”

Opposing the recommendation, the Rev. Clark Cowden, executive of San Diego Presbytery, said “there will be some pretty strong negative consequences in some of our congregations and presbyteries ― the costs are greater than the benefits.”

Council member Jean Demmler of  Denver agreed that a divestment decision “will cause more dissension and I’m sorry about that, but MRTI has engaged in a very good process, very thoughtfully, and we just cannot profit from these companies.”

The recommendation to the Assembly includes renewal of the call by the 2010 Assembly “to all corporations doing business in the region to confine their business activity solely to peaceful pursuits, and refrain from allowing their products or services to support of facilitate violence acts by Israelis or Palestinians against innocent civilians, construction and maintenance of settlements or Israeli-only roads in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, the Israeli military occupation of Palestinian territory, and construction of the Separation Barrier as it extends beyond the 1967 “Green Line” into Palestinian territories.”

The PC(USA) policy on socially responsible investing was established by the 1971 General Assembly. In 1976, the Assembly established the rubric for corporate engagement, which includes proxy voting, dialogue with companies, shareholder resolutions, public appeals and ― as a last resort ― divestment.

Historically, the church has divested itself of companies engaged in military activities as their primary business and companies engaged in alcohol, tobacco and gambling. Over the years, MRTI has also engaged in such socially responsible investment-related issues as apartheid in South Africa, sweat shop labor in other countries, environmental issues, pay equity and fair compensation, affirmative action/equal employment opportunity, corporate governance and violence in the media.

 

  1. Why would we turn on our only true friend in the Mideast? Who are we to pass judgemet, I thought we were taught, I was, that we are not to judge. What is going on with my church, this seams to go along with giving mone to the Angela Davis defense but not to the prosecutation. Seams the church continues to judge others and like I stated, thought we were not to judge others. Don't guess I understand this attitude. But I ask who told you that you didn't have to do what God said? What a disgrace when a church government picks the PC view over Gods.

    by Marty Taylor

    June 18, 2014

  2. this is a necessary step. Hopefully it will put some pressure on the Israeli Government. Visit jewishvoiceforpeace.org and the Rachel Corrie Foundation. There are companies built on the Occupied Palestinian Territories that sell products we use without knowing where they came from. Soda Stream is one of them, EnerG gluten free products is another.

    by Tricia Fernandez

    January 17, 2013

  3. I continue to be amazed that this denomination pretends that the MRTI program is even-handed or even consistent. Quite apart from the pro Palestine, anti Israel stance, it doesn't take into consideration for a minute that many of the companies on the hit list make a wide range of products beyond those of specific concern, not to mention provide employment for thousands of Americans. While you are busy being so high minded, I hope you are not using a Motorola cell phone, an HP printer, or ride on Boeing jets. Then again, it's well documented that investment strategies that include social concerns do poorly compared to non social investment strategies, so good luck with the pension plan. Oh, and I don't remember our church being asked what our opinion was. ...

    by Stephen Struck

    October 22, 2012

  4. ...maybe the PCUSA would like to explain its increasing alliances with the views of political entities who HAVE YET TO ACKNOWLEDGE ISRAEL'S RIGHT TO EXIST.

    by Don Huston

    July 4, 2012

  5. how misguided and judgemental we've become. Has anyone even asked our friends in the Jewish community what they think of our selling out to the Palestinians' pitiable panderings?

    by Don Huston

    July 4, 2012

  6. Living in an area of the country where Caterpillar is a major employer I think this is a foolish plan. Investing is just that, trying to provide a return on money to be used by the church. Withdrawing from a proven investment will not harm Caterpillar only those that need the return from the investment.

    by Michael Lampson

    July 4, 2012

  7. The vast majority of Jews are hsaddened by this decision from some of the leaders in PCUSA. I pray for a spiritual awakening among these leaders. If we want peace, pray for peace, work for peace, but do not take sides in such a counter-productive way.

    by Rabbi David Zaslow

    July 3, 2012

  8. Israel, largely populated by people who worship as Jews, is protecting itself from the Palestinians, who would like to take Israel and displace all of the Jews. Why is it that it is offensive to the PCUSA that Israel protect itself. Why not protect the Palestinians from leaders who fill them with hate and anger for Israel and the Western world, and who would like to keep the Palestinians dependant upon those same leaders, people who deny that the Holocaust happened. Help the Palestinian people to realize that they can and should work with the Israeli government to improve their lives. What about products from Caterpillar, Hewlitt-Packard and Motorola that can and are used for education (computers), tractors for farming (Caterpillar) and electronics (personal communication and education)?

    by Susan Stoepel

    June 29, 2012

  9. Just out of curiosity, does the PCUSA own any stock in corporations that do business with the People's Republic of China, or Iran, or Saudi Arabia, or other like nations who are human rights abusers? If so, do you plan to recommend divestment?

    by Bruce Sanders

    June 16, 2012

  10. Thanks to the GAMC for providing us another reason to leave the PCUSA - what an embarrassment!

    by Bob

    June 5, 2012

  11. Divestment is a non violent means to call attention to and object to the abrogation of the human rights of indigenous people of the occupied Palestinian territories. I support this commitment of MRTI to call for justice in our investment portfolio.

    by Margy Raff

    April 23, 2012

  12. Thank you for this important divestment . My prayers are being answered.

    by Sara Saba

    April 19, 2012

  13. To MRTI and GAMC , a simple thank you for a careful process and a prophetic stand for justice that always must precede peace.

    by Sally Mackey

    April 6, 2012

  14. Please disinvest.

    by Thomas Slater

    March 29, 2012

  15. Let's see....Side A wants to kill side B.....Side B wants to keep from getting killed........And we are on the team of ............Side A !!!!!!! Breathtaking !

    by Glenn Beckham

    March 16, 2012

  16. Q: WHY IS (GAMC) RECOMENDING SUPORT OF THE PALESTINIAN NATION AND NOT THE JEWISH NATION? OF ALL OF THE COMMENTS OF THIS NEWS AND ANOUNCEMENT ONLY TWO REFERENCED SCRIPTURE. THIS NEWS REPORT PROMPTED ME TO STUDY SCRIPTURE AS WELL AS TO STUDY WHERE THE PALISTINIAN NATION IS FIGHTING THE JEWISH NATION? WHEN RESEARCHING THE “HADITH”,”QURAN”,KORAN WE FIND THAT MUSLEM’S CONSIDER ISLAM THE VERBATION WORD OF ALLAH WRITTEN BY MUHAMMAD BETWEEN 610 AD AND 632 AD. HADITH IS REFERED TO IN MATTERS OF ISLAMIC LAW AND HISTORY TO THIS DAY. ( From Wikipedia encyclopedia) 1.“HADITH”,”QURAN”,”KORAN”MUHAMMAD SAID: a. “THE DAY OF JUDGEMENT WILL NOT COME ABOUT UNTIL MUSLIMS FIGHT THE JEWS, WHEN THE JEW WILL HIDE BEHIND STONES, AND TREES. THE STONES AND TREES WILL SAY O MUSLIMS, OABDULLAH, THERE IS A JEW BEHIND ME, COME AND KILL HIM. ONLY THE GHARKAD TREE,( A CERTAIN KIND OF TREE) WOULD NOT DO THAT BECAUSE IT IS ONE OF THE TREES OF THE JEWS” b. THE HADITH OF MUHAMMAD HAS BEEN QUOTED COUNTLESS TIMES AND IT HAS BECOME A PART OF THE CHARTER OF HAMAS. c. REFERENCE HAMAS ART. 6. “HAMAS IS UNIQUELY PALESTINIAN” a. REFERENCE HAMAS ART. 28. “CONSPIRACY INDICTMENT,AGAINST “ ISRAL, JUDAISM, AND JEWS” 2. MUHAMMAD a. WHEN MUHAMMAD WROTE THE “HADITH” HE HAD THE BIBLE AND KNEW THE SIGNIFICANTS OF THE TREE OF LIFE WRITTEN IN SCRIPTURES. HE ALSO KNEW THAT PETER WAS THE ROCK. MATHEW 16:18 “AND I ALSO SAY TO YOU THAT YOU ARE PETER, AND UPON THIS ROCK I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH; AND THE GATES OF HADES SHALL NOT OVER-POWER IT” ( Note the spelling of Muhammad’s “HADITH” AND THE SPELLING OF “HADES” IS THIS A QUENCIDENCE?) 3. SCRIPTURES IS WHERE WE FIND STRENGTH REGARDING THE ISSUES OF THE STRUGLES BETWEEN THE PALISTINIANS AND THE ISRALITES. (From scriptures) a. EPH.6:11.” PUT ON THE FULL ARMOR OF GOD, THAT YOU MAY BE ABLE TO STAND FIRM AGAINST THE SCHEMES OF THE DEVIL. 12. FOR OUR STRUGGLE IS NOT AGAINST FLESH AND BLOOD, BUT AGAINST THE RULERS, AGAINST THE POWERS, AGAINST THE WORLD FORCES OF DARKNESS, AGAINST THE SPIRTUAL FORCES OF WICKEDNESS IN THE HEVENLY PLACES.” b. ROMANS-11 THRU. 24----- “18. DO NOT BE ARROGANT TOWARD THE BRANCHES; BUT IF YOU ARE ARROGANT, REMEMBER THAT IT IS NOT YOU WHO SUPPORTS THE ROOT, BUT THE ROOT SUPPORTS YOU” c. ROMANS 2:10. ‘BUT GLORY AND HONOR AND PEACE TO EVERY MAN WHO DOES GOOD, THE JEW FIRST AND ALSO TO THE GREEK” 4. AS A VOICE IN THE WILDERNESS AGAIN WE ASK WHY IS THE (GAMC) NOT REFERANCING SCRIPTURE AND ADVISING THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY WHAT THE JEWISH NATION IS UP AGAINST WHEN INCOUNTERING THE PALISTINIAN NATION WHICH IN IT’S “HADITH”,”QURAN”,”KORAN” AS MUHAMMAD SAID “ THERE IS A JEW BEHIND ME , COME AND KILL HIM” 5. WHEN WE VOTE WILL WE BE ARROGANT AND VOTE TO SUPPORT THE ISLAM PALESTIAN BROTHERS ALLAH NATION OR WILL WE REMEMBER THE ROOT WHICH SUPPORTS THE TREE OF LIFE WHICH WE HAVE BEEN GRAFTED AND SUPPORT THE JEWISH NATION? by: one small voice in the wilderness.

    by Tom Hyde

    March 12, 2012

  17. I would not expect less from my former denomination. Welcome all to the Laodicean church. After taking all and leaving us with nothing of wealth, we are the ones wealthy in truth.

    by Robert vice

    February 28, 2012

  18. Hearty thanks to MRTI for their divestment recommendation after a long and thoughtful process taking eight years. I hope and pray that the GA will vote in July to support MRTI's recommendation. As a retiree I have no wish to profit from companies whose business aids the illegal occupation of Palestinian lands.

    by Glenn Dickson

    February 27, 2012

  19. I have been watching PC-USA struggle with this issue for years. I am satisfied that the recommendation by MRTI is quite appropriate - not that there may not be other ways to respond in addition to its recommendations. I reead thru virtaully all other comments. My perception is that the handful of those who disagree have not offered much of a rationale or have suggested alternative actions.

    by Joe Ritacco

    February 27, 2012

  20. Corporate Divestment is a legitimate and historically effective method of drawing attention and action to a dangerous and morally flawed practice by a public company. This is not a punishment of Israel. We would hope the state of Israel would want to distance itself from companies that profit from destruction and discrimination.

    by Camilla jones

    February 25, 2012

  21. As a life long Presbyterian concerned for the consistent application of the Gospel to all of life, I strongly support this recommendation by our Church's MRTI & GAMC to remove investments in these three corporations that profit from equipment used to violate Palestinian human rights.

    by Rev. Darrell Yeaney

    February 24, 2012

  22. I have been collaborating in violence against by sisters and brothers. Just because I have wealth, property and investments, does not mean that I have no responsibility for my impact upon the lives of others. I have a choice to collaborate in violence or in justice. Navigating through responsible stewardship can often be challenged by ambiguity. The decision of the MRTI comes out of clarity and resolution, one that offers integrity for us all. I thank them and the GAMC for courage to speak against violence, the unambiguous choice.

    by john anderson

    February 24, 2012

  23. I often get the question of why I am passionate about ending the occupation of Palestine. It is a question that should be applied to those who are so passionate about supporting the occupation and support of the Israeli government. Why so passionate about continuing a human rights abuse of a group of people who are just like you and me? Have you been to Palestine? Have you met and worked with Palestinians? Do you really understand the depth of the issues and have researched all sides? Social justice is a Jewish and Christian value - we share the belief that God wants justice for all, not just some. Security for all, not just some. We need to understand all sides, to make sure that all people are free, secure, and live in a sustainable, viable homeland.

    by Susan Brooksbank

    February 24, 2012

  24. "Go make disciples of all men.....but before you do, got to Rome and make sure their trade laws are fair. And file a formal protest that the quarrying of stones for the temple created ecological damage. And go to all churches and make sure none of them are buying goods made in Egypt." For or against this position by the GMAC, it has to cause a tear in God's eyes that people think this is why He sent His Son. Any group that has gotten to the point where it has discussions on topics like this should be disbanded. Give me a call when we are done making disciples of all men, and I'll gladly entertain a discussion on this topic. Father, forgive us.

    by Johnmpls

    February 24, 2012

  25. Why all the fuss? Does anyone deny that CAT, HP, and Moto Solutions are making profits off of a dehumanizing military occupation? Double standards--one for the state of Israel and another for everyone else--is both hypocritical and anti-Semitic, i.e. treating Israeli Jews differently from everyone else. A Jim Crow foreign policy is as morally bankrupt as the domestic system of Jim Crow before the Civil Rights act of 1964.

    by Walt Davis

    February 24, 2012

  26. I support the MRTI and GAMC recommendations for divestment 100 percent. Having traveled the length and breadth of the Palestinian territories and Israel three times since June 2008, it's easy for me to see how hopelessly ineffective diplomacy alone has been. We Presbyterians need to put our investment money where our mouth is, and witness for God's justice and love for all by divestmenting from companies that are reaping profits from the evil, unjust militiary occupation and immoral, illegal exploitation and colonization of Palestinian land.

    by Paul H. Verduin

    February 24, 2012

  27. Just another example of how the PCUSA's leadership is out of touch with the laity, and why the PCUSA continues to decline. For a Jewish perspective on this issue: http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=2&x_outlet=118&x_article=2190 And an example of the anti-Semitism exhibited by the Israel Palestine Mission Network: http://blog.camera.org/archives/2011/12/holiday_cheer_from_presbyteria_1.html

    by Andrew

    February 21, 2012

  28. It is sad that this came from the GAMC and nothing at all was said about the complaints the Jewish people in this country made about the Israel/Palestine Mission Network. This is simply a slap in the face-it is really amazing that you listen to no one else.

    by Viola Larson

    February 21, 2012

  29. More Jewish blood on liberal hands. I hope my Jewish friends won't hold this against me, but how could they not?

    by Tom Richards

    February 20, 2012

  30. I applaud the MRTI for their work and for their recommendation to divest! My prayer is that as we move through this process we are able to see this action as one small step towards peace.

    by Mary Smarr

    February 20, 2012

  31. As an advocate for divestment since 2004, observing companies in corporate engagement play fast and loose with MRTI's integrity and faithfulness, all I can say is that the time has surely come. I have been an observer at meetings of MRTI and GAMC and can accurately attest that any individual or group that spins the faithful process of these deliberative bodies as anything other than faithful are either self-deluded or deceptive. And it amazes me that we hear from them the same things we heard in the run-up to divestment from corporations profiting from South African apartheid. The stand for justice can be difficult but you know it is right when you do it.

    by Jeffrey DeYoe

    February 20, 2012

  32. Thank you, MRTI and GAMC for your recommendation. It is one way in which to call attention to the disaster that is taking place daily in Palestine. By this action we say to the world that as a church we will be faithful to the Gospel in opposing injustice and oppression such as that taking place in the occupied territories. Libby Davis San Anselmo , CA

    by Libby Davis

    February 20, 2012

  33. As a life long Presbyterian I am so very proud of the position of MRTI. If you haven't been to Palestine, and lived among the Palestinian's you have no idea of the conditions that have been forced on them by the government of Israel. Let's be truthful that international laws have been violated, and the purpose of the settlements has been to rid the land of the Palestinians. That much is self-evident, and we can no longer turn our heads away from the Palestinians. Our love for the Jewish people has not been diminished. This is simply a way to express our concern for the civil rights of a people that for far too long have been oppressed while me have discussed their plight year after year. Now is the time to take action, and express our anguish at their treatment. We may not be able to solve all of the problems of the world, but we can at least try!

    by Walton C. Bryde

    February 20, 2012

  34. If pursuing justice and those who support and collaborate with injustice is liberal crap, what do you make of Jesus? He challenged both the political and religious systems of inequality and injustice in his day and calls us to do the same. Speaking truth to power has its price! To those who are opposed to the courageous stand of MRTI and the General Assembly Council, I ask have you visited Palestine/Israel? Have you talked with Israeli Human Rights persons and Palestinian Christians and Muslims as to how the Israeli occupation is dehumanizing and killing them emotionally, physically and economically? I have visited the unholy holy land 32 times since 1992, and the restrictions imposed upon Palestinians become more inhumane and devastating. Is it that Israel can do no evil or we do not recognize evil? I am proud to be a Presbyterian. I am proud of our deliberative and time-consuming representative processes.

    by Elizabeth Knott

    February 20, 2012

  35. This makes me proud to be a Presbyterian. I visited Israel/Palestine in 2008--and I will never forget seeing the effects of what these companies have done, and I understand it is much worse now. The wall, the checkpoints, the seemingly endless building of settlements on Palestinian land, and the destruction of olive trees are unbelievable. Knowing these companies have made all of these things happen is certainly not something I want to support. MRTI has worked long and hard to work with these companies to no avail--now is the time to act.

    by Joanne Hardy

    February 20, 2012

  36. Hooray! We are finally following through with our church's commitment to invest responsibly. I am proud that we have finally reached this point after years of attempting to unsuccessfully engage these companies to change their destructive behaviors. Way to make a stand for justice, peace, and equality!

    by Andrea Morgan

    February 20, 2012

  37. Some who criticize the GMAC recommendation seem to think that if we continue to sit on the sidelines that we're not taking sides in the conflict. Not true. Our church monies (like our tax dollars) are actively fueling the conflict. MRTI has done its work with due deliberation and we now can support its recommendations.

    by Martha Reese

    February 20, 2012

  38. As a businessman in the pew I applaud this conclusion. It is long overdue. PCUSA has done more due diligence on this issue than 500 of the Fortune 500 would do over an acquisition. PCUSA offered a trip to 100 folks in 2006, to go to Israel and Palestine. I went and learned and changed my mind. Heh, you could have gone too and you would have a much better understanding and appreciation for why the church has come to this conclusion. Try their olive oil from Palestine some time. Some call it God's juice and others call it Peace oil. Check the PCUSA web site for ordering info.

    by Peter Mann

    February 20, 2012

  39. I am proud to be Presybyterian, today! Thank you GAMC for supporting the MRTI's position. We often hear that the issues in Israel/Palestine are complex, intractable, hopeless. If that is what you believe, you need to visit I/P. The Israeli government is subjugating Palestinians--be they Muslim or Christian, Israeli citizens or not. And, as followers of Jesus Christ, we must help to bring justice to all God's children of I/P.

    by Heidi Saikaly

    February 20, 2012

  40. I am grateful for the courage shown by MRTI and the General Assembly Mission Council in recommending that the upcoming General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) divest the church of its stock in three companies, Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions, and Hewlett-Packard, “until they have ceased profiting from non-peaceful activities in Israel-Palestine.” Anyone who has followed this issue over the past several years knows that a penultimate action was taken during the 2010 General Assembly when the General Assembly passed an overture by a vote of 66.6% to strongly denounces Caterpillar’s continued profit-making from non-peaceful uses of a number of its products. At the time of consideration of this overture, amendments were proposed which would have put a time line on the continued conversations with Caterpillar after which time, and before the 2012 General Assembly, MRTI was to consider a recommendation to divest the church of its stock in Caterpillar. While defeated, the amendment clearly showed the only other option available to the church if continued conversations were not successful in producing some changes in Caterpillar’s continued activities with respect to profit making from non-peaceful use of its products. The time for this last alternative has come!! It is time to stop talking; it is time to take concrete action such as would be represented by the divestment of the church’s stock in these three companies. The divestments themselves are insignificant to the finances of these three companies; the actual act of divestment is what is significant in the message it sends not only to these companies but also to the state of Israel in its continued occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people. Israel can continue its current practices as long as it only receives a verbal slap on the hand, which is what our government has done over and over again. It is time to raise the costs to the state of Israel of continuing its acts of land confiscation, oppression, and injustice; the divestment action recommended to the General Assembly of 2012 begins in a small way to do just that. Perhaps such an action will encourage others to follow suite.

    by Ted Settle

    February 19, 2012

  41. I am thankful for the MRTI's prayerful deliberations, intentional investigations and commitment to speaking truth against power, even when it is not easy or popular. We are called to a higher standard of justice as Christians and that applies to all of our activities. We may not get it perfect, we may continue to fall short, but by the grace of God we must continue to being open to following Jesus. I trust that this is what the committee believes it is doing.

    by Meghan Brown Saavedra

    February 19, 2012

  42. Special thanks to GAMC stand on Israel & Palestine, as Presbyterians we love both the Israeli Jews & the Palestinian Arabs & we want both live in Peace with Justice. As ministers & lay people who work in the PCUSA we have the duty to tell our denomination to divest our money from American companies that profits from the 43 Israeli military occupation in the West Bank & East Jerusalem. as Presbyterians we look @ the issues first, then way pray & study the issue, then we talk the company & if they do not respond then we must take a stand. we began this process 2004 & since 2004 nothing changed in fact our fiends the Israelis are building the settlements, the roads & steeling the Palestinian Land every day. if some Presbyterians are against the GAMC- please tell us what you want? do you a 2 state solution or a one state solution? if you want a 2 state soltion then please support the GAMC ethical & moral stand for the sake of Israel. if you want a one state solution to the Israel/Palestinian conflict then 25 years from now we will have more Palestinians Arabs in the State of Israel than Israeli Jews & the future Prime minister of Israel will be Mohammad & Moshi - if the Israel will give the Palestinians equal rights in the State. please remember that the PCUSA loves Israel & supports Israel but not the Israeli occupation of 4 million Palestinians who are living worst than South Africa during before Mandela came.

    by Rev. Fahed AbuAkel

    February 19, 2012

  43. Thank goodness someone is calling things as they see them and NOT as they wish things were. Keep up the good work.

    by Archie Stevenson

    February 19, 2012

  44. MRTI was given a difficult charge by the General Assemblies of 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010, and it has fulfilled it through a Spirit-led, meticulous, and patient process. Its recommendations are courageous. The GMAC has acted properly to refer their recommendations to the 2012 General Assembly. The current government of Israel daily denies basic human rights to the Palestinians and contravenes international law. Such policies are detrimental to its own wellbeing and dangerous to world peace. Perhaps this very limited divestment from American companies whose products facilitate these violations may make the Israeli government reexamine these policies. I am gratified by the work and courage of the leadership of my denomination.

    by Jim McGown

    February 19, 2012

  45. Congratulations to the General Assembly Mission Council for the courageous recommendation to divest its stock in three companies until they have ceased profiting from non-peaceful pursuits in Israel and Palestine. It is unfortunate that the engagement with them has been unsuccessful. Surely the funds of the Presbyterian Church can be invested profitably in companies that pursue peaceful and humnanitarian efforts. There will be much pressure from those who do not agree with this recommendation. Stand firm as we seek peace for Israel and Palestine.

    by John Bivens

    February 19, 2012

  46. Thank you MRTI for taking a stand on the side of justice. Thank you for doing the right thing. I am proud to be a Presbyterian today, and I am extremely grateful for the work you put into this long process. I will sleep better at night knowing that my pension funds aren't tied to companies who are profitting from Israel's illegal and immoral occupation of Palestine. To all of those who are offended by this, spend some time with the Palestinian Christians and see what their lives are like because of Israeli policy, in Bethlehem of all places. Thanks be to God for MRTI's hard and faithful work!

    by John Morgan

    February 19, 2012

  47. I applaud the MRTI for finally making this necessary decision and for the GAMC for sending it on to the General Assembly. Once we have identified that these corporate actors through whom we as a church profit are committing acts that blatantly violate the human rights of others and contribute to the ongoing inability of the situation to be settled with a just peace, then we must pull our money out and stop ourselves from being perpetrators and beneficiaries of activities we know are against all that Jesus taught. It is a question of the morality of how we use our church's money. We hope it will make a difference in the actions of our government's support of, and the Israeli government's continuing to oppress its citizens and those over whom it asserts physical and psychological control contrary to international laws with impunity. But in any case we should not be party to it!

    by Melinda Thompson

    February 19, 2012

  48. Once again, the MRTI (as well as the rest of the Mission Council) is stunningly tone deaf. Claiming that this agency is engaged in a "good process" would be laughable if not so tragic. We endanger people with this ill-thought-out actions. High mindedness is an ugly face for the church to wear. To the MRTI, you do not speak for me. You do seem to represent your own self interests. I'm disgusted.

    by Kerry Knox Westerwick

    February 19, 2012

  49. Thank God for the careful, patient, and faithful work of MRTI in moving their recommendation for divesting in these three corporations to the next level. As one who will be retiring soon and receive pension payments, I am thankful that our PCUSA investments have a theological, moral, and ethical consistency. This process of divestment is first and foremost an act of Christian stewardship. As a Christian denomination we have an ethical responsibility to be certain that "We will not profit from another peoples' suffering." We have applied these same principles to the tobacco, alcohol, and other political situations locally and internationally, and now we must do so in relation to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. MRTI has given these corporations more than seven years of "engagement," delivered conclusive evidence gathered from independent and reputable human rights organizations, stating in no uncertain terms that their products are endangering lives, livelihood, and in some cases killing innocent people. Yet in the light of overwhelming evidence the corporations have chosen profit over policy changes. Our modest investments will not cause anyone to lose their jobs or cripple these companies, but it does send an ethical message to them and to all who are watching. This is a difficult and courageous prophetic stance that will inevitably bring condemnation, smear campaigns, and difficult discussions with those who oppose or do not understand our actions. To act ethically in the light of overwhelming evidence is neither anti-Semitic nor does it single out Israel, as we have applied these same ethical principles in multiple situations for three decades. Rather, this is a constructive and peaceful way to speak the truth in love, saying "we disagree" with the course Israel is on and cannot in allow our investments to support a brutal military occupation that is undermining a just peace and reconciliation. Our action also sends a message of solidarity and hope to our sisters and brothers in Israel and Palestine who are pursuing non-violent resistance rather than violence means to end the occupation. We celebrate those who join us in this decision and will continue to be engaged with those who disagree. Let us stay the course to and through the General Assembly with this difficult but faithful decision, and may other Christian denominations, Jewish, Muslim and secular organizations, "Go and do likewise."

    by Don Wagner

    February 19, 2012

  50. I am very proud to be a Presbyterian today because of the stand that the GAMC has taken regarding the recommended divestment of stocks in Caterpillar, Motorola and HP. For the PCUSA to benefit from the occupation of Palestian land and the suffering of the Palestinian people is totally contrary to the stances that the General Assembly has taken in the past. What's more, it is not Presbyterians acting alone, but Methodists and Episcopalians are considering taking similar actions. We are called upon as Christians to speak out and take actions in opposition to governments that are being oppressive toward those they govern. I hope that MRTI will continue to call our attention to and encourage us to take action to oppose any oppressive government and to divest from any investments we might have that would cause us to benefit from the sufferings of any persons in whatever place.

    by Linda Brebner (Rev. Dr.)

    February 19, 2012

  51. Very disappointed with the GAMC and my Church. I heard about it on the radio; did not believe it; but here it is. Very disappointing.

    by Bob Kraus

    February 19, 2012

  52. I believe the Jews have been very patient when you consider that Jews are being killed by the rockets, and the statements by leaders of the Iran world to distroy Israel . And what abouy the A bomb being built by there friendly Iran . We should stay out of this

    by Frank Prasil

    February 19, 2012

  53. The vitriolic comments in opposition to MRTI's decision are breathtaking -- talk about invoking a sense of shame ! It's amazing to me that taking a stand for human rights can be characterized by some as "liberal crap"; perhaps a re-reading of Matthew 25 is in order? While I'm proud MRTI for the stand it has finally taken, the handwriting has been on the wall so long that it has long since faded and been re-inked with even more blood. The true shame is that our denomination has taken so long to do the right thing.

    by Tom McAfee

    February 19, 2012

  54. This is a mild and carefully considered decision that reflects painstaking reflection on the part of MRTI. What is at stake is International Law, itself. Apartheid is a crime and it is one of many that the Israelis are engaged in. We have a moral, religious and legal duty to oppose crimes against humanity and divesting from these offensive companies is the very least we can do as Christians and human beings.

    by Jeff Story

    February 19, 2012

  55. Heartfelt thanks to the MRTI for a deliberate, concerted effort to make change with these three companies. And thanks for recognizing the need to take additional steps in order to effect change. It is a good hope that this action can and will move us in the direction of our words and our actions more closely mirroring one another.

    by Jo Lucas

    February 19, 2012

  56. It's about time that we speak out again, as we have done in numerous instances in the past, about the morality of our investments. Sooner or later we need to say that enough talk has been done to change the companies' actions that violate international law. It's time for this well-justified divestment. Maybe what Jesus said about "God and mammon" has some relevance here.

    by Len Bjorkman

    February 18, 2012

  57. I find it very telling when the comments simply ignore the human rights abuses done to Palestinians by Israeli government policies. MRTI is doing Israel a favor by letting them know the Presbyterian Church, USA, finds their actions to be abusive. After seven years of trying to get these companies to follow ethical and moral codes of conduct without any hope of success, it is time to let them and Israel know that we want no part of this behavior.

    by Pauline Coffman

    February 18, 2012

  58. Holding Israel accountable for its unjust actions is not anti-Semitic. There is a difference between Israel as a nation as the Jewish people. By calling on the PC(USA) to divest from companies that benefit from Israels illegal occupation of Palestine we are doing the most Christian thing we can, standing with the oppressed. If I recall correctly Jesus instructed his followers to stand up against oppressive regimes and to seek justice. Divestment is one of the ways we are able to do that in today's global economy. It makes me excited to see the church taking a strong stand against injustice and oppression. I am proud to be a member of the PC(USA).

    by Kelly Belding

    February 18, 2012

  59. I am proud of the work MRTI and the PCUSA is doing to promote justice in a very misunderstood conflict. Misunderstood because our governmental policy and media only give a biased picture. Some of that bias is reflected in the comments above, i.e., why single out Israel? Who is the recipient of the largest, by far, foreign aid by the US government, including more billions annually in loan guarantees that the US does not require Israel to pay back? Who is in violation of international law, including the 4th Geneva Convention that established protocols in response to the horrors of the Nazi occupation of Europe? Who is the 20th wealthiest nation in the world with the 4th largest military in the world? Israel is not the innocent in all of these matters. The ancient Jewish prophets are still calling for justice, help for the widow and orphan and the stranger in their land, yet where are those voices when East Jerusalem and Area C is being de-Arabized, Palestinian houses and arable crop land are being demolished at record rates while Israeli only settlements are being built at a record pace on even more confiscated Palestinian land? The deck has been disproportonately stacked against the Palestinians since the Balfour Declaration. Israeli voices like Uri Avnery, Amira Haas, Ilan Pappe, Jeff Halper among others, daily work for justice in Israel-Palestine, and by doing so, hope to also redeem the soul of the State of Israel.

    by L. Anderson

    February 18, 2012

  60. It's unfortunate that the first comments on the GAMC action are so harsh. There is a real need for reasoned dialogue on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. If we in the PCUSA simply fight among ourselves, then we can't be the peacemakers we are called to be. If some feel the Palestinians are receiving too much support, then they need to bring reasoned arguments in support of the Israelis so that there is a basis for approaching the problem in a unified way. The issues ARE very complex. We need to keep talking.

    by Martha P Campbell

    February 18, 2012

  61. The antagonism to Palestinian rights by the other commenters is unbelievable. Mr. Wilson: we are funding Israeli military and Israeli settlements in violation of international law to more than $3 billion a year. The others you mention [except Egypt] are not getting our money. That is why justice-loving Americans are singling out Israel The invective of the other commenters is not worthy of a reply.

    by Morton Nadler

    February 18, 2012

  62. I agree. PCUSA should also divest from companies that participate in human rights violating activities in other countries, such as China, Burma, Saudi Arabia, as well as Israel. And PCUSA should also do an audit and give back money it made from these types of immoral practices in the past.

    by Susan Schuurman

    February 18, 2012

  63. When GAMC spends as much time as it does trying to convince the world it’s not anti-Semitic, chances are they are anti-Semitic. I sincerely try to objectively understand the intent of PCUSA and the GMAC on this issue. There are so many real tyrants in the world doing such evil, and this organization that is supposed represent our interests as a church condemns Israel and those doing business with it for protecting itself from terrorists? Frankly I’m ashamed to associated with this body politic. It was Dietrich Bonhoeffer that said “Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others, we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as ourselves.” We all know what happened to Bonhoeffer at the hands of Hitler.

    by Stan Allen

    February 18, 2012

  64. As the son an grandson of Prebyterian ministers, I am very proud , as I know my father would be, of the brave stand MRTI has taken in recommending that the Church divest from Companies profiting from non-peaceful activities in Israel/Palestine. Israel must end its unlawful Occupation of Palestine. It is neither anti-semetic nor anti-business to insist that Companies not profit from participation in unlawful occupations and human rights abuses. I applaud the Church for taking a stand. The suggestions that criticisms of Israel's treatment of Palestinians is anti-semitic or anti-business is unfortunate and misplaced. The fact that human rights abuses exist in other corners of the world is not a reason to be silent about the well documented abuses in the holyland.

    by John T. Fussell

    February 18, 2012

  65. The Church would be those who are fools (and not wise) who think that BDS is a soultion that paves the way for peace in Israel/Palestine. With the conflict so deep as it is, outside investors from the West would do well to do business as usual and invest more of their profits into a common fund for education, equality, and environmental revitalization in the Middle East.

    by Lonnie Darnell

    February 18, 2012

  66. Great step in the right direction! You proved that you are a true church of Christ who stands up for the poor and the oppressed and say no to evil and injustice. As for others who say why single out Israel... well, you forgot that Israel is the only one who uses the word of God to occupy Palestine and to justify it's terror against the Palestinians and to promote it's political propaganda. Israel's actions and terrorism has been devastating on the indigenous Christian Palestinian population and has almost emptied the land of Christ from the Christians who have been living there as Christians since His own time.

    by George Adam

    February 18, 2012

  67. It's about time! Should have happened two years ago.

    by Don Maclay

    February 17, 2012

  68. I am proud of the stand that the General Assembly Mission Council has taken to divest of companies engaging in military activities that deprive people of their human rights. It is not anti-Israel to protest the occupation. The occupation is doing Israel no good. The activities of the soldiers are too often morally corrupt, damaging to the potential of Israel for good. Why should the soldiers protect the ultraorthodox settlers who have large families but refuse to serve in the armed forces? The occupation is bankrupting Israel, yet the US continues to pour billions into the country. The Mission Committee has been very cautious in its dealings, but the prejudices of a great many people are hard to change.

    by Jeremy and Selma Brigham

    February 17, 2012

  69. It's about time. How many dozen years is this going to take? We must do everything we can to end apartheid in Palestine.

    by Stephen Bickford

    February 17, 2012

  70. I fully support this decision which is prophetic and powerful. What an example to young people in this age where so many institutions fail to live up to what they believe. PCUSA through its Mission Council has established a new Confession of Faith, and a vote for peace. Thank-you Brian Ellison and Bill Somplatsky Jarman, and all in the GAMC who voted to let this report go forth to GA2012 and its historic consideration.

    by Lorraine Lynch Nagy

    February 17, 2012

  71. Again, thank you, MRTI! Their recommendation is in no way "liberal" or "politically correct" in a secular sense, as so many on the far right label it, but is fully in keeping with biblical, Christian, and traditional Reformed ethics and theology. Netenyahu & Co., like King Ahab drooling over the vineyard of Nabob (I Kings 21), wanting to wrest it away for his own purposes, has repeatedly yielded to extreme Jewish fundamentalists who arrogantly assume that the West Bank, Old City & East Jerusalem, Gaza, and who knows what else(?) are divinely given by Adonai to them for all eternity. Hence their stealing and colonization of lands that Palestinian families have farmed for hundreds of years, and erection of walls isolating their communities. How easy it is for churches to "pass by on the other side," as the priest and the Levite ignored the victim on the road from Jericho, while great atrocities are committed against our fellow human beings, created in the Lord's very image! We have only to note how western Protestant nations ignored for so long the slave trade, slavery itself, and horrifying, long-lasting Jim Crow, as well as South African apartheid. Often we've attempted to justify our silences in the name of keeping our congregations united and peaceful, offending no one. The PCUSA General Assemblies repeatedly have championed the continued, free existence of the State of Israel, condemning the Holocaust and all antisemitism. And yet the slightest criticism of Israeli policy towards their half-siblings the Palestinians provokes from Jews, at home and abroad, the outrageous charge that we're antisemitic!

    by Dwyn Mounger

    February 17, 2012

  72. Thank you, GAMC, for this recommendation. The process which MRTI has followed has been sound and thorough, and the conversation with these companies has been respectful and patient. It's time to take the next step. This does not spell disaster for these companies, it is simply a peaceful way to continue to bring attention to a concern we have had for a very long time... and to live up to our commitment to practice what we preach.

    by Cass L. Shaw

    February 17, 2012

  73. MRTI is in no way an unbiased, neutral actor when it comes to Israel and Palestine. It is a pro-Palestinian, anti-Israeli liberal activist group. My response to the GAMC deciding not to invest in these US companies is to stop investing in the GAMC: to withold percapita and defund PCUSA leftists. Perhaps if they had to pay for their own flights and hotel rooms, they'd meet less often and do less damage to the denomination.

    by Tome Walters

    February 17, 2012

  74. Why single out Israel? What about China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Burma, Sudan, Pakistan, Egypt, Syria, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, etc. all of which have far worse human rights records? I hesitate to blithely throw out accusations of antisemitism, but that's certainly what it looks like from the outside and I can't think of any other explanation for this obsessive-compulsive focus on one country by the PCUSA. Do the leaders of this denomination realize how this looks to our Jewish friends? I am Presbyterian because I love my local church but frankly I am ashamed to be associated with the PCUSA.

    by David Wilson

    February 17, 2012

  75. Are you going to treturn all the dividends you have received from these stocks over the years? If nit then you are as guilty as these companies for what you accuse them of doing. It's okay for you to benefit from there actions but they must not. How anti christian is that.

    by Gerry Watson

    February 17, 2012

  76. Simply unbelievable. The liberal crap this denomination espouses on its way to extinction just never ends. And you wonder why 2100 people representing hundreds of churches showed up in Orlando?

    by Bob Hartsell

    February 17, 2012

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