Thursday, June 17, 2010
United Methodists in Northern Illinois Annual Conference vote to divest
Great news on the church divestment front: ST. CHARLES, ILL. June 15, 2010 - At its annual conference, the Northern Illinois Conference (NIC) of the United Methodist Church (UMC) voted to divest all holdings in three international corporations that profit from the occupation of Palestine. This action is in response to a plea by Palestinian Christians for action, not just words. Divestment is a nonviolent form of economic protest long-used by churches and other shareholders to encourage companies to end unjust practices. By selling its investments in Caterpillar (CAT), General Electric (GE) and Terex (TEX), the NIC expresses its commitment to do no harm with its investments and affirms the call of the UMC Book of Discipline to "avoid investments that appear likely, directly or indirectly, to support violation of human rights” (Paragraph 716). These three companies are among 20 targeted by many UMC conferences across the country because they (1) have a presence on occupied land, (2) are involved with the physical settlements, checkpoints and the separation wall, or (3) support activities of the Israeli military in the occupied territories. Connie Baker from the End the Occupation Task Force of the Board of Church and Society which brought forth the resolution stated: “We are resolute in our support of peace for both Israelis and Palestinians in the Holy Land and the rights of each to co-exist according to the principles set forth in the Geneva Conventions. It is a small step, but an important one.” The conference will also send a list of the 20 identified companies to the nearly 400 local churches in Northern Illinois and encourage them to consider divestment from any corporations on the list. For the list of targeted corporations, which was compiled by the New England Conference (UMC) Divestment Task Force, please click here.