Jewish Voices of Support for Church Divestment Resolutions!

I’m already on record as fully supporting the Presbyterian Church (USA) divestment resolution that is being brought to the PC (USA) General Assembly this summer. Now I’m thrilled to report that my colleagues on the Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council have released a letter in support of both the Presbyterian and the Methodist Church’s efforts to divest from three companies (Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions, and Hewlett-Packard) that profit from the Israeli occupation.

Here’s an excerpt of our letter:

Every day Jewish leaders are building alliances with our interfaith partners to oppose all forms of oppression and to express our outrage over the confiscation of Palestinian land, the destruction of Palestinian farms, groves and homes, and to work to end the daily harassment and violence against Palestinian people.

Several Christian denominations are making brave, constructive decisions to investigate whether their churches’ investments contribute to this violence and oppression in Israel and Palestine.

We believe that to invest your own resources in corporations which pursue your vision of a just and peaceful world, and to withdraw your resources from those which contradict this vision, is the best way to support Muslims, Christians, Jews, Israelis, Palestinians –truly all people.

We can think of no greater act of friendship than to work with us, side by side to bring justice, equality and self-determination to all people. This selective divestment process is one of the strongest tools we have.

In making this decision, we are together, Jews and Christians, living up to the biblical promise to pursue justice.

I encourage you to visit rabbisletter.org for a plethora of resources, including FAQs, additional Jewish expressions of support – and the opportunity to sign on to our letter.

You can also click here to directly support the Methodist resolution (which will be considered at the United Methodist Church General Conference in Tampa on April 24-May 4)  and here to support the Presbyterian initiative (which will brought before the PC USA General Assembly in Pittsburgh, June 30-July 7).


10 Comments on “Jewish Voices of Support for Church Divestment Resolutions!”

  1. Lonnie says:

    thank you for this word. i’m a delegate to the United Methodist general conference where the petition will be considered. i am not anti-semitic, and work to clear the world i touch of anti-semitism. i have no toleration of it. it is a personal challenge, then, to be willing to be called such as we vote upon the resolution to divest from the occupation companies.

    i’ve come to understand that the occupation is not founded on principals of justice articulated in the Jewish faith. i’ve come to believe that the occupation de-stabelizes Israel.

    the care and concern for us voiced in this letter is very meaningful. thank you

  2. i_like_Ike52 says:

    This action makes the JVP a irrelevancy in Jewish history. The JVP is hardly the first to attack other Jews in the name of supposedlly “progressivist-universalist” values. Before you there was the Yevseksia-Jewish Branch of the Communist Party of the USSR, they were going to prove that the were not like those “bad” Jews, the nationalists, the ZIonists, the builders. They used all the same arguments the JVP uses “human rights, anti-particularism, democracy, etc, etc” and they also went around trying to get non-Jews to support their struggle against their fellow Jews. Well, today, in Jewish communities of Judea/Samaria there are people who are the children and grandchildren of enthusiastic Yevseksia members, whereas the Yevseksia is lost in the fog of history. By declaring war on their fellow Jews, JVP is condemning itself to the same fate. It is legitimate to argue about Israeli policy in Judea/Samaria and in the Arab-Israeli conflict in general, but having lost the battle with the Israeli voter who now realizes that the Arabs are not going to agree to a compromise peace with Israel no matter what the terms and no matter what borders Israel offers, to run to foreign powers and foreign forces, particularly in Christian churches whom have had a problematic relationship with the Jewish people in the past, in order to coerce Israel to do things its population rejects is a betrayal, pure and simple. Remember-America’s Jews who believe in “Jewish continuity” need Israel a lot more than Israel needs them. I thus advise those American Jews who are considering supporting this disgusting action of JVP to reconsider before they end up damaging their own interests and even their own Jewish identity..

  3. Naftali says:

    So what’s next, a petition to get Jews who support Israel to wear Yellow Stars? When the few Holocaust survivors are still around, you take pride in the disgusting support for Christians who murdered us for centuries against other Jews? Have you no shame?

  4. David says:

    I like Ike

    Reality:
    Israel is belligerently/illegally and brutally occupying Palestinian and other Arab territories (i.e., Syria’s Golan Heights and Lebanon’s Shebba Farms) and continuing at an accelerating rate to dispossess and oppress the native inhabitants while stealing their land and water resources.

    All Arab states, the PA, Hezbollah and non-Arab Iran have agreed to the Arab League’s 2002 Beirut Peace Initiative which offers Israel full recognition as a sovereign state, exchange of ambassadors, trade, tourism, etc., if Israel complies with international law (e.g., the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Fourth Geneva Convention – binding on all UN members) and its previous commitments. Even Hamas has indicated its willingness to accept the Beirut Initiative subject to a Palestinian plebiscite and a corridor connecting the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Regrettably, Israel has twice dismissed this offer.

    In short, only a fool or a Zionist zealot fails to understand that exclusionary/expansionary/occupier Israel is the reason the conflict continues.

  5. i_like_ike52 says:

    David-
    Actually it is the Palestinians who reject peace with Israel At the recent J-Street convention former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert described his endless hours of direct negotiations with Abbas which went nowhere. He could not pin him down to an agreement even though Olmert was willing to hand over the Western Wall and all Jewish holy sites in Jerusalem to the Palestinians by way of nominal “international control”. (Olmert for some reason claims that Abbas, refused to reach an agreement , is somehow for ‘peace’).
    The “Arab Peace Initiative” is a fraud. It was promulgated after the 9/11 attacks in order to deflect criticism from them deriving from the fact that 15 of the 19 terrorists were Saudis.
    The Arab side has never made any attempt to push this ‘initiative’, even though President
    Obama pushed them to do so, such as to send a delegation to Israel to discuss it. The biggest
    stumbling block is that it calls for a “mutually agree” solution to the Palestinian refugee
    problem and since the Palestinian position has always been full, unlimited, unrestricted
    return of the refugees, something Israel will never agree to, this ‘initiative’ will never
    amount to anything, nor does the Arab side intend it to. It is merely a propaganda excercise.

  6. Dianne Sperling says:

    Can’t we ever get this right? Is pointing a finger at one another really helpful in reaching a solution? Or does it just “harden our hearts”, as it did with Pharoah? Just read a quote from a Rabbi that said, “We cannot drive forward if we are looking in the rearview mirror”. Of course, looking in the rearview mirror is helpful only if we want to avoid our mistakes of the past, instead of using them to defend our current positions.

  7. Ken says:

    “In making this decision, we are together, Jews and Christians, living up to the biblical promise to pursue justice.”
    Let’s be honest. This is not about justice. This is a political action campaign that is attempting to create pressure for change according to the views of an outsider group. Any attempt to implement true justice on this matter would require an enormous effort to weigh the various claims, histories, and needs of both sides to this conflict. That is not what this boycott is about, and it is likely that any proclamation of a “just” solution, would likely be rejected by one side.

    It is my hope that one day your blog, “Shalom Rav”, will live up to its name and actually support a practical peace, rather than continue to play the game of proclamations, slogans, and political polemics that only moves both sides further from peace and reconciliation.

    • Ken,

      First of all, this is not a boycott – it is a divestment initiative. Second, the Methodist Church is not an “outsider group.” It has invested its own money in corporations that are complicit with Israel’s occupation. By definition that makes it complicit as well – and it has every right to determine its own ethical investment policy to ensure its funds are not used for what it considers to be “non-peaceful purposes.”

      This is most certainly about justice. Israel’s occupation is unjust, oppressive, and, according to international law, illegal. But you are correct when you say this campaign seeks “to create pressure for change.” That is the nature of non-violent direct action. I have no doubt that there were many in the Jim Crow South who asserted, as you do, that

      true justice on this matter would require an enormous effort to weigh the various claims, histories, and needs of both sides to this conflict.

      In that case as well, there were those who advised the same kind of quiescence. Thankfully, there were also many “outside groups” that rejected appeasement – and instead came together to create a civil rights movement that created the necessary pressure for just and lasting change.

  8. Dave says:

    I’m puzzled at the whole importance of ‘divestment’. If an organisation sells stock, then somebody else buys it. That’s it. Nothing has changed. And there is no reason to believe that this should cause anyone in Israel to change their actions. Why should it? Because different people hold stock in certain companies on, say Wednesday than owned them on Tuesday?

    Pressure for change-how?

    I suspect that over time the Methodist and Presbyterian churches will sell these stocks anyways. Retirement pensions for their aging clergy will demand it. But that’s another issue.


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