Monday, June 14, 2010

Will Spotts: Toward a Fair PC (USA) Policy on Israel and the Palestinians

Will Spotts at his blog The PC (USA) on Israel and Palestine has posted an excellent paper containing all of the different overtures and papers on the Middle East coming to the Presbyterian General Assembly. In the paper, Toward a Fair PC(USA) Policy on Israel and the Palestinians, you will find the item # and commentary with advise on how to deal with the item.

For instance this:

"Disapprove item 14-03 “MRTI Report of its Engagement” and answer with 14-06 [The MRTI recommendation is to denounce CAT rather than to divest from CAT.]

Because it falls under a larger, state-sponsored boycott movement, it would likely violate US law for CAT to refuse to sell to Israel. The PC(USA) would end up either divesting from or denouncing a company for NOT breaking US law.

There is no information to show that CAT is unique even among PC(USA) investments – in terms of either the uses of its products or its corporate policies that merits being singled out.

CAT was selected for maximum publicity value. It is theater, not moral investing. CAT is a target of a wide campaign of BDS – BECAUSE it can’t legally comply, and therefore provides regular publicity.

The opposition to Caterpillar is expressly related to the divestment initiative from apartheid South Africa. It intentionally communicates an equivalency between the two situations.

The MRTI and the presbyteries have not looked at most other companies’ products used in Israel and the occupied territories. For example, the MESC report includes a photo of a bulldozer being used, apparently, for some nefarious purpose. (It is listed as an Israeli army bulldozer at work destroying crops.) Look closely at the photo. It is a Volvo."

Or this which hasn't gotten enough mention by any of us:

"Disapprove item 11-04 “Human Rights Update 2010” [Report by the ACSWP]

In this report the ACSWP failed to follow the explicit directions of the 2008 GA – “Identify Violations of the Civil Rights of Christians, Jews, and Muslims in the United States and Other Areas of the World, Along with Other Incidents of Violation of Religious Freedoms, as Part of the Regular Human Rights Report to the General Assembly.”

The ACSWP did not complete the required task but still submitted a report.

That report found Israeli Jews alone (in all the world) to be committing violations of religious freedoms worthy of specific Presbyterian attention.

This report found Muslims and Christians to be the only victims of such discrimination worthy of Presbyterian support."

This last is on the agenda for Committee 11, and Will's paper shows what committee each item is in. This is a great posting for commissioners. So direct them to Toward a Fair PC(USA) Policy on Israel and the Palestinians.

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