June 20, 2014 — Detroit, Michigan
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 Solutions.
“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 Relations.
“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.