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July 06, 2012: Rejecting Divestment, Presbyterian Church Took a Stand for Peacemaking

02:23 PM Jul 06, 2012

Rejecting Divestment, Presbyterian Church Took a Stand for Peacemaking

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the Israel Action Network expressed appreciation to those who stood for peacemaking and against divestment at the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly.  The PCUSA rejected a resolution to divest from three American companies because their products are used by Israelis.

“This was not just a major defeat for the divestment movement,” said JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow. “It was a victory for peace. The church adopted a path of creative peacemaking and investment in positive outcomes. Delegates recognized that divestment is a path toward division, not reconciliation.  We are gratified even as we recognize that there is still much hard work ahead of us.”

“The American Jewish community came together,” added Geri Palast, IAN Managing Director. “A letter in hope was signed by over 1,500 rabbis with the support of the religious streams and over 22,000 members of the community. Groups from across the spectrum of our community were a part of a tremendous effort.  We are deeply touched to know that Presbyterians from an equally broad spectrum agreed, worked tirelessly, and sought positive rather than negative paths forward.

“The Presbyterian Church (USA) now joins the other major mainline Protestant churches in rejecting divestment,” continued Palast. “It is becoming clear that divestment has found no home in the Christian community. It remains the choice of those who ignore Israel’s legitimate security needs and instead blame only Israel for the tragic Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We are incredibly appreciative of the hard work that went into this meaningful victory from both JCPA and IAN staff on the ground at the General Assembly. But the real success goes to our friends in the PCUSA who were tireless in speaking out against divestment and standing for peacemaking.”

“Once again, the better angels have prevailed, said JCPA Vice President Ethan Felson, who spoke against the divestment resolution before the General Assembly’s Middle East Committee. “While we have deep concerns about some actions taken by the General Assembly and the role of church institutions in promoting extreme measures and rhetoric, we once again have seen that, given the choice, Presbyterians will choose peacemaking over partisanship.”

JCPA, the public affairs arm of the organized Jewish community, serves as the national coordinating and advisory body for the 14 national and 125 local agencies comprising the field of Jewish community relations.

The Israel Action Network (IAN) is a strategic initiative of The Jewish Federations of North America, in partnership with the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), created to counter the assault on Israel’s legitimacy. By mobilizing the North American Jewish community, IAN harnesses the power and reach of 157 Jewish Federations, 400 Network communities, 14 National Agencies and 125 local Community Relations Committees/Councils to proactively lead the conversation about the Jewish, democratic state of Israel.

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