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Methodists Divest!! Next Up: Presbyterians...

by Anna Baltzer, National Organizer
June 19th, 2014

Watch Presbyterians Vote on Divestment and More Tomorrow!

The mood is electric. 

I am writing you from the plenary floor of the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) General Assembly (GA) in Detroit as representatives prepare to consider a series of resolutions supporting Palestinian human rights, including a historic motion to divest from three companies profiting from the Israeli occupation. Tomorrow, Friday, is the big day. You can watch LIVE here. Follow the US Campaign on Facebook and Twitter to get the word as soon as it begins, likely in the afternoon. 

One week ago, United Methodist Kairos Response (UMKR) announced that the General Board of Pension & Health Benefits of the United Methodist Church is divesting all church holdings in private security company G4S in response to concerns from Palestinian rights activists protesting the companyís involvement with Israeli prisons. 

Congratulations to all our Methodist member groups and their many allies nationwide on this extraordinary victory for justice by the largest mainline Protestant denomination in the United States!

Methodist divestment from G4S came on the heels of groundbreaking news that the Gates Foundation divested $184 million of its holdings in G4S following an international, Palestinian-led campaign. 

The momentum here in Detroit is palpable. And the Presbyterians, who began their work engaging with companies involved in the Israeli occupation more than a decade ago, will decide tomorrow -- Friday, June 20, 2014 -- whether to join the Gates Foundation and Methodist Church in standing on the right side of history. Itís been quite a week so far. Check out pictures from activists on the ground! 

On Monday, the PCUSA GAís Middle East committee heard passionate speeches from young Presbyterians, Palestinians, Jews, and others supporting church divestment from U.S. companies profiting from the Israeli occupation, occupation-free investing, equal rights, and more. On Tuesday, the committee voted by a more than 2-to-1 margin to recommend divestment to the GA plenary, alongside motions for ethical investment, equal rights, and a church study to reevaluate its long-time stance endorsing a two-state solution. On Wednesday, members of the Detroit Arab and Muslim American community joined GA attendees in forming a silent, human chain through the convention center and a vigil outside, showing Presbyterians what broad support stands behind them in taking action for justice. Then, just hours ago, Rifat Kassis of Kairos Palestine stood before the entire GA to ask that the church hear the strong voices of Palestinians calling for divestment. 

Join me in watching history unfold tomorrow at Cobo Hall in Detroit or via Livestream here. And donít forget to follow the US Campaign on Facebook and Twitter for immediate notification when the debate is beginning.

Meanwhile, you can contribute to the debate on Twitter using#churchdivestClick on Tweet Now to automatically send the tweets below that include links to more information about why the church should divest. 

  • I applaud ME Committee voting for #churchdivest & urge GA to seize this opportunity to support human rights (Tweet Now
  • Listen to Palestinian Voices calling for #churchdivest (Tweet Now
  • Palestinians are calling on people of conscience worldwide to support struggle for freedom, justice, equality #churchdivest (Tweet Now
  • #churchdivest because HP provides electronics at Israeli checkpoints that hinder Palestinian freedom of movement (Tweet Now
  • Caterpillar sells weaponized bulldozers to Israel used to demolish Palestinian infrastructure #churchdivest (Tweet Now
  • #churchdivest is time-honored and respected tactic used to achieve justice throughout history (Tweet Now)

Let's all support Presbyterians in their efforts to align words against occupation with tangible action. 

P.S. BREAKING! -- Minutes ago, the PCUSA passed a landmark resolution in favor of marriage equality. Divestment from for-profit prisons and fossil fuels are on the docket too. The time has come. Justice cannot, must not, be delayed.