To our Commissioners at the 220th Presbyterian General Assembly:
At the upcoming GA in Pittsburgh, you will be faced with two distinct choices on Middle East peacemaking. The first is to stay the course and endorse a two-state solution that recognizes the rights and aspirations of both Palestinians and Israelis. The second choice is to have our denomination become part of the global Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) movement. These are distinct choices, and only one can be chosen. We ask you to consider the following:
The PCUSA is called to be an effective, faithful peacemaker in the Middle East and elsewhere. Rather than creating peace, BDS will cause both Palestinians and Israelis to dig deeper into their own positions.
The Mission Responsibility through Investment committee (MRTI) has been working on divestment for eight years, during which time several consecutive General Assemblies have refused to adopt overtures embracing divestment. MRTI has failed to build the case and/or consensus needed for divestment to be approved. It is time to move on.
BDS advocates within the PCUSA have referred to the idea of “investing in peace” as a “myth”. Dialogue, reconciliation, and improving the lives of ordinary Palestinians through economic development must occur for peace to be realized. It is time to fully recognize this. It is the truth, not a “myth”.
Other mainline denominations have rejected divestment. What special insight does the PCUSA possess that these other denominations missed?
We urge all commissioners, and especially those with the responsibility to serve on committee 15, the Middle East committee, to invest as much time as possible hearing different voices and gathering facts. We ask you to read carefully all of the overtures and rationales focusing on the Middle East. We also invite you to visit our website at www.pfmep.org where we have assembled materials that can hopefully help you reach a thoughtful decision.
Much of the material presented on Israel/Palestine comes from advocates of either Palestinian or Israeli narratives. “PFMEP Fact Check” is a new web page dedicated to addressing the accuracy and completeness of facts presented, and assertions made by, various parties to the debate.
The first paper we’ve developed for this section is called “The Four Maps”, and it addresses a set of maps that are widely used by advocates of the BDS (Boycott, Divest, and Sanction) movement. Click on the icon below to read the paper.
The Caterpillar Tractor Company is the number one target of the global Boycott, Divest, Sanction (BDS) movement. The company is targeted for divestment because it provides bulldozers to the United States government that are then re-sold to the government of Israel and utilized by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). BDS literature is filled with accusations that Caterpillar bulldozers are tools of a large scale, systematic campaign to destroy the homes and property of Palestinian families. Investigating these accusations, we think the facts tell a quite different story.