June 20, 2014 – Detroit – AJC
called today’s Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) decision to divest from major
companies doing business with Israel a setback for efforts to attain a
negotiated, sustainable Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, and a breach with
a Jewish community committed to Jewish-Christian relations.
By a vote of 310 to 303, the
PCUSA General Assembly, meeting in Detroit, called on the church’s foundation and
pension board to divest from Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola
“The PCUSA leadership is
facilitating the delegitimization of Israel in the guise of helping
Palestinians,” said Rabbi Noam Marans, AJC director of Interreligious and Intergroup
“It is a very sad day for
Presbyterian-Jewish relations when church leaders from across the U.S. align
with the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. This
is an affront to all who are committed to a peaceful resolution of the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The PCUSA decision is celebrated by those who
believe they are one step closer to a Jew-free Middle East,” said Marans.
For more than a decade, voices
within the PCUSA have sought to punish Israel by calling for divestment. While
PCUSA General Assemblies have repeatedly rejected those efforts, BDS advocates
within the church have been allowed to demonize Israel through
one-sided reports and study guides, such as Zionism Unsettled, the latest and most outrageous church document
on the subject.
“In response, PCUSA leadership
could have declared clearly to church members, ‘We will not support
misinformation, we will not condone propagandist indoctrination,’” said Marans.
“Instead, they have empowered those within the denomination who are driven by
hatred of Israel to undermine support for the peaceful resolution of the
conflict via a directly negotiated two-state solution, with the Jewish state of
Israel living in peace and security alongside the future Palestinian state.”
Marans and AJC Detroit director
Kari Alterman, joined by AJC Detroit leaders, attended the PCUSA General
Assembly. Both Marans and Alterman spoke before GA committees.
Date: 6/20/2014 12:00:00 AM