Support Presbyterian Divestment
Today, in Pittsburgh, the Middle East and Peacemaking Issues Committee of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) is voting on whether to recommend divestment from Caterpillar, Motorola, and Hewlett Packard to the General Assembly for consideration later this week. The US Campaign will be testifying on the committee floor and tweeting live throughout the proceedings.
Our hearts and minds are with the steadfast divestment advocates inside the church and we are delighted to see that the US Campaign is providing them strong support, just as they provided to us in our efforts to align the words of the United Methodist Church (UMC) with action.
Our campaign to push for divestment was the culmination of a seven-year struggle to end corporate complicity in Israel’s human rights abuses by divesting from the same three companies due to their involvement in Israel’s occupation and violation of Palestinian human rights.
We're writing you today to let you know what a stalwart ally the US Campaign has been in our drive to get our church to align our actions with our words. Now, we hope you'll stand with the US Campaign in their efforts to support Presbyterian divestment.
We made a great many attempts over a number of years to engage corporations like Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard, and Motorola Solutions, encouraging them to stop participating in the occupation and profiting from Israel's human rights abuses. Even as we did this, Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes, schools, and agricultural assets steadily increased. In 2011, Israel demolished more than 500 Palestinian homes, wells, and rainwater cisterns, displacing over 1,000 Palestinians, double the number from the previous year.
The US Campaign supported nearly every facet of our community organizing leading up to the General Conference and at the votes. From mass organizing and mobilization -- of more than 150 volunteers in 17 countries -- to media engagement to dealing with opposition and messaging for delegates, the US Campaign proved critical support to help us move our campaign forward.
The resources and expertise provided by the US Campaign staff and network helped us reach hundreds of delegates and UMC leaders who will bring this knowledge to their own communities across the U.S. and the world, and who will hopefully play a role in pushing forward opportunities presented by the plenary’s vote for boycott and sanctions. Though we were greatly disappointed that our divestment resolution failed, we believe we furthered the cause and together helped the United Methodist church take a stronger stand against the occupation by endorsing boycotts and sanctions.