Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Three good articles countering MRTI's divestment recommendations

Betty Furkin, of Presbyterian News, writes, “After seven years of apparently futile corporate engagement with Caterpillar over its business practices in Israel/Palestine, the Mission Responsibility Through Investment committee is recommending that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) add the company to its divestment list. MRTI is also recommending that the 220th General Assembly (2012) add Motorola Solutions and Hewlett-Packard to the list.”

Here are several good articles dealing with the PCUSA’s continuing attack on Israel. One is from Presbyterians for Middle East Peace. The article is “Comment on MRTI divestment recommendation.”. They write:
We are not surprised by the MRTI recommendation because there is a small group of activists within the PCUSA that has relentlessly sought to punish Israel. Wanting to find one party at fault in a conflict where all parties have engaged in positive and negative actions, this small group believes that Israel is solely to blame for the current conflict. This attitude is embedded in the Kairos Palestine document currently being praised by pro-Palestinian activists within the denomination. This small number of activists have lobbied heavily for the denomination to divest from the three companies in question. Some of them have endorsed a much wider boycott and divestment from Israel reminiscent of the actions taken against South Africa's apartheid regime. Despite their small size, these activists have consistently found a friendly ear within the MRTI.
Please read the whole small article.

Another article is from the Simon Wiesenthal Center and quotes my good friend Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein who attended last year’s General Assembly. That article is “Simon Wiesenthal Center Condemns Proposed Divestment by Leading Protestant Denomination of Major US Firms Doing Business With Israel.” The article states:
Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, the Center’s Director of Interfaith Affairs, attended last year’s PCUSA General Assembly and participated in what Church leaders called an historic new time of fairness, balance and cooperation. “So much for fairness. This initiative, should the rank and file adopt it, will damage frayed interfaith relations. We can only hope that Presbyterians will once more beat back the deception and doublespeak that the proposed divestment represents and firmly reject the recommendation at the Church’s next General Assembly, next summer,” he added. “Meanwhile Jewish leaders, who have invested so much time in dialogue in pursuit of balanced policies on the Middle East will be more guarded and less trusting in their dealings with PCUSA leadership,” Rabbi Adlerstein concluded.
And finally there is an older article at the web site of Presbyterians for Middle East Peace, “Two Essential Principles for Presbyterian Peacemaking in the Middle East.” While about more than divestment it gives a complete picture of what is required to bring peace to the Middle East. The is so much more to the story than MRTI is considering.

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