The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA voted to sell its stock in three major companies Friday night in protest of Israeli policies in Palestinian-controlled lands.
During its national meeting, the general assembly narrowly voted to divest from Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions by a vote of 310-303. Those three companies are said to supply Israel with tools used in building settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Though advocates said the decision should not signal support for a broader movement aimed at taking action to encourage Israel to change its policies toward Palestine, there has been concern among Israeli supporters that a decision to divest could signal momentum for the movement. In the same meeting, the Presbyterian organization voted to reaffirm its stance that Israel has a right to exist.
“We recognize the complexity of the issues, the decades-long struggle, the pain suffered and inflicted by policies and practices of both the Israeli government and Palestinian entities,” the documents state.
An amendment clarifies the church is not divesting from Israel, only the three companies until “the Mission Responsibility Through Investment Committee of the PC USA is fully satisfied that product sales and services by these companies are no longer in conflict with our church investment policy,” according to documents. That committee is a part of the church’s general assembly.
According to AP, Motorola Solutions said in a statement that the company follows the law and its own policies that address human rights. Hewlett-Packard, AP reports, said its checkpoints for Palestinians were developed to expedite passage “in a secure environment, enabling people to get to their place of work or to carry out their business in a faster and safer way.” Caterpillar has said it does not sell equipment to Israel, just to the U.S. government, AP reports.
Thursday, the Church’s top legislative body voted to recognize same-sex marriage in its church constitution by 429-175.
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