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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/1/15

UCC Says No to Occupation, Votes 80% to Divest

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The United Church of Christ (UCC) General Synod has voted overwhelmingly in favor of resolutions that require UCC church funds to be divested from companies with business in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.

The UCC General Synod vote was 508 in favor of divestment, 124 against, with 38 abstentions.

In this strong action in favor of divestment, the UCC placed additional pressure not only on the state of Israel's fear of losing favor in world opinion, but also on delegates of the Episcopal Church General Convention, who are expected to vote Wednesday on resolutions similar to those endorsed by the UCC national body.

The divestment action covers businesses in illegally-occupied territories, not, contrary to Israeli propaganda, businesses within the state of Israel.

Since the 2005 start of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) non-violent campaign to pressure Israel to give up its illegal occupation, U.S. church national bodies have steadily moved from implied support for the occupation, to a series of actions that refuse to allow church funds to invest in the occupation.

The secular media is taking notice.

Associated Press religion writer Rachel Zoll, reports:

"Last year, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted to sell stock in a few companies whose products are used by Israel in the territories.

"The United Church of Christ resolution was broader. Delegates are calling on the denomination's financial arms to sell off stock in any company profiting from what the church called human rights violations arising from the occupation. The church also voted to boycott Israeli products made in the territories."

Peter Makari, Area Executive for Middle East/Europe in the UCC's Global Ministries agency, said after the vote that the resolutions "reflect our urgent concern for the worsening effects of the Israeli occupation on Palestinian people and lives, including the disparity in rights and power."

Responding to the resolutions, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emanuel Nahshon expressed his government's displeasure over the resolutions.

Nahshon said the UCC's policies have "reflected the most radical politics for more than a decade and in no way reflect a moral stance or reality-based position."

The UCC has struggled, as a national body, on how to respond to this consistent barrage of attacks against any group or individual not endorsing Israel's action in the occupied territories.

In 2005, the UCC passed a resolution seeking reconciliation, calling for "economic leverage" to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Ten years later, after three devastating invasions of a civilian Gaza population, after further Israeli settlement growth on Palestinian land, and after increased occupation procedures of routine military attacks on Palestinians, the UCC General Synod has finally said enough is enough.

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James Wall served as a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois, from 1999 through 2017. From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine. Many sources have influenced (more...)

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