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PCUSA Tries Again to Divest From Occupation

By       Message James Wall     Permalink
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"According to extensive research conducted by the Church's Mission Responsibility through Investment (MRTI) committee,

"Caterpillar provides weaponized bulldozers to the Israeli military, which are used to demolish farmland in Gaza and Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem;

"Motorola Solutions manufactures fuses for Israeli bombs, the communications system for Israel's military, and surveillance equipment for illegal Israeli settlements;

"and Hewlett Packard furnishes the computer hardware for the Israeli Navy and the biometric scanners for checkpoints, through which all Palestinians (but no Israelis) in the occupied West Bank must pass....

"The overture to divest is thus in line with Church policy and stands as a clear reaffirmation of the denomination's commitment to the Christian ideals of peace, justice, and human rights.

"In short, there is no reason the Presbyterian Church (USA) should vote against divestment."

MJ Rosenberg, a Jewish progressive journalist who once worked for AIPAC, succinctly describes the occupation work of the three corporations targeted in the GA overture:

"Caterpillar manufactures the bulldozers used to demolish Palestinian homes to make way for settlements.

"Hewlett-Packard supplies Israel with the hardware to maintain the blockade of Gaza and the software to enable Israel to segregate and separate Palestinians at West Bank checkpoints.

"Motorola provides the surveillance equipment used to monitor Palestinian civilians throughout the West Bank.

"These three are to the occupation what Dow Chemical was to the U.S. war in Vietnam.

Rosenberg has sound moral advice to offer pension board members:

"I don't understand why any religious group would invest in any of these companies in the first place. All three [Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola] are members in good standing of the military industrial complex and have been involved in unsavory activities around the globe. But that argument is for another day.

"Right now, the Presbyterian Church has the opportunity to say NO to the occupation in a tangible, concrete way. It has the opportunity to support Palestinians without harming Israelis.

"I can hardly imagine any progressive voting NO on this resolution, choosing big corporations over the people of both Palestine and Israel."

In spite of the obvious morality of a YES divestment vote, there is still no guarantee that this year's General Assembly will support this particular overture.

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James Wall is currently a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois. From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine. Many sources have influenced Jim's writings over (more...)

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