As Presbyterians Vote on Divestment, A Note from United Methodists
The US Campaign Is On The Ground In Pittsburgh & Needs Your Help!
Today in Pittsburgh, between 1:30 and 9:30 EDT, 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.
Our United Methodist campaign to push for divestment was part of the denomination's long 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.
The US Campaign, along with member groups Jewish Voice for Peace and the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee, will be testifying on the committee floor and tweeting live throughout the proceedings.
[Click to follow live tweets.]
Our hearts and minds are with the steadfast divestment advocates inside the Presbyterian effort. We are therefore heartened by word that the US Campaign is giving them strong and strategic support, remembering how they also worked so very hard to help us in our efforts to align the words of the United Methodist Church (UMC) with action.
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 words. They courageously stood with us in our hour of need. Now, we hope you'll stand with the US Campaign in their efforts to support Palestinian divestment.
As with the Methodists, the US Campaign is supporting Presbyterians on divestment at their General Assembly in Pittsburgh.
We made a great many attempts over a number of years to engage corporations like Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions, and Hewlett Packard, 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 alone, Israel destroyed more than 500 Palestinian homes, wells, and rainwater cisterns, displacing over 1,000 Palestinians -- double the number from the previous year.
In 2010 United Methodist Kairos Response was formed to bring together the various groups and individuals within our denomination who now support divestment from these companies that we've tried so hard to persuade. We brought this issue to our General Conference in Tampa this past spring.
The US Campaign labored strenuously to support nearly every facet of our effort 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 assisted us in reaching 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 did not pass, we believe we furthered the cause and together helped the United Methodist church take a stronger stand against the occupation by endorsing boycott and sanctions.
Last week, we cheered along with you as the Stop Caterpillar and We Divest Campaigns scored their largest win yet when the MSCI (Morgan Stanley Capital International) World Socially Responsible Index dropped Caterpillar from the list of socially responsible companies, prompting retirement fund giant TIAA-CREF -- and hopefully many more to come -- to divest millions of dollars from Caterpillar! This success could not have been achieved without close to ten years of work by the US Campaign and many member groups exposing Caterpillar’s practices of profiting from Palestinian suffering.
Click above to read about TIAA-CREF's divestment from Caterpillar.
US Campaign member group volunteers and National Organizer Anna Baltzer are on the ground in Pittsburgh mobilizing and testifying to support Presbyterians working for just policies within their church. The opposition has seen how close we are and are pulling all the strings to make sure church divestment is once again taken off the table. Don’t let them succeed.
Be a part of history. Please chip in $10, $20, $50, or more, to help the US Campaign support passage of U.S. mainline denominational church divestment at last.
United Methodist Kairos Response
PS -- Make sure to follow @US_Campaign and others on Twitter for live updates from the committee floor as they consider divestment today from 1:30pm – 9:30pm EDT (10:30am – 6:30pm PDT).