(UPDATED) Church Narrowly Rejects Call to Divest From Companies Doing Business With Israeli Military; Votes to Boycott Settlement Products
UPDATE (original post below): The Presbyterian general assembly has voted overwhelmingly to boycott products made in illegal West Bank settlements. The vote among Presbyterian commissioners was 71%-28% to boycott settlements.
The Presbyterian Church has narrowly rejected a measure to divest from three companies that do business with the Israeli military. In a closely watched vote last night, Presbyterian commissioners voted 333-331, with two abstentions, for a measure that called for “investment” in the Palestinian territories, rather than “divestment.”
It was a narrow defeat for activists working to hold Israel accountable for violations of Palestinian human rights. Still, there are more votes related to the Middle East today as the Presbyterian general assembly continues, including a call to boycott products made in illegal West Bank settlements.
The three companies targeted were Hewlett Packard; Caterpillar; and Motorola. HP provides a biometric identification system to the Israeli military; Caterpillar bulldozers are retrofitted by the Israeli military and used to destroy Palestinian homes; and Motorola provides “virtual fences” to illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
The measures to divest have attracted worldwide attention from Palestine solidarity activists and advocates for Israel. The Associated Press covered it here, and the New York Times covered it here.