Anti-Zionist and anti-Israel Divestment Initiatives

John Thomas: UCC Press statement on Middle East resolutions

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Table of Contents

Main Zionism Boycotts Page

Anti Israel Academic Boycott

European Boycott Comment

Divestment Initiatives

Peace Groups Oppose Divestment

Divestment Resolution Denies Legitimacy of Jewish State

Peace and Justice, but for Whom?

Sucker Punched on Divestment

Pro-Palestinian Group To Push Divestment for AFL-CIO

Methodists Join Divestment Debate

UCC Press Release on Middle East Resolutions

UCC Middle East Economic Resolutions

UCC: Tear Down the Wall

The Truly Extremist Side of Divestment

Which side are you on?


Following is the press release issued by the United Church of Christ regarding its resolutions on the Middle East. Some reports stated that these resolutions endorsed divestment from Israel, while others denied it. You be the judge. The resolutions arenoteworthy for reaffirming the right of Israel to exist in security, as well as rights of Palestinians.

John Thomas: UCC Press statement on Middle East resolutions

Written by Administrator
Wednesday, 13 July 2005
Press Statement on Economic Leverage and Israel/Palestine
John H. Thomas
General Minister and President
July 5, 2005

Peace and justice for Israeliís and Palestinians in the Middle East, and the promise of prosperity and security for both peoples, is the vision that is at the heart of the actions of the General Synod over many years regarding the conflict in the Middle East. We have long affirmed the right of Israel to exist within secure boarders as well as the right of Palestinians to their own state. Our vision is of a shared future symbolized by the sharing of the city and the holy sites of Jerusalem as a capital for both states.

The General Synod has also recognized that violence by both Israeliís and Palestinians has thus far made the vision impossible, and that there have been failures of leadership on both sides. We join our Palestinian Christian partners in denouncing suicide bombing as a means of achieving the goal of a Palestinian state, and in calling for an end to the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, an occupation that is in violation of international law and places an enormous burden on the daily lives of ordinary Palestinians. The building of the separation barrier and the arbitrary methods used to maintain the Occupation create unjust and unbearable disruptions to Palestinian life including the capacity of Palestinians to work, to travel, to obtain good medical care, and to visit their families, sometimes even within their own villages. While the announced withdrawal from Gaza is welcome, the continued control of the West Bank, and the relentless extension of settlements there, creates geographic and demographic facts that will be difficult, if not impossible, to undo, and causes a profound sense of rage and despair in Palestinian communities. The Occupation must end.

Economic leverage includes a variety of potential tools, including investing in development projects that may help build a viable Palestinian economy, investing in groups in Israel and Palestine that are working for peace and against violence, challenging the corporate leadership of companies that profit from business in the Occupied territories, filing shareholder initiatives with those companies and divesting holdings in companies that refuse to end practices that enable them to profit from the continued violence on both sides and from the perpetuation of the Occupation. Such leverage can serve as a strong public witness against the injustice of the Occupation and the urgency of peace in the Middle East. In calling for the use of economic leverage in all of its forms, the General Synod has signaled a new sense of urgency for peace in Israel Palestine and a renewed commitment to end the Occupation which undermines the future for both Israel and Palestine in such profound ways.

In calling for the use of these means of economic leverage, the General Synod has not called for a boycott against the state of Israel. The General Synod has not called for divesting from companies doing business in the state of Israel. The General Synod has not called for using economic sanctions to damage the economy of Israel. The General Synod has not equated the Occupation with apartheid in South Africa, nor has it equated the Israeli government with the apartheid government of South Africa.

The discussion of the resolutions that were proposed to the General Synod has included an intensive and at times difficult dialogue with leaders of the Jewish community in the United States. I am grateful to the many national and regional Jewish leaders who have engaged in frank but respectful discussions with me and with many other UCC leaders in recent months. We have been helped by those discussions and are encouraged by the possibility of building a stronger and more honest dialogue into the future. In those conversations we have tried to listen carefully. But we have also attempted to reassure our Jewish friends by reminding them of our continued commitment to previous actions of the General Synod which have denounced anti-Semitism and which have separated the United Church of Christ from theologies declaring that Godís covenant with the Jews has been superceded by Godís covenant with the Church in Jesus Christ. We have said clearly that Godís covenant with the Jews is endures. This complex theological concept has enormous practical importance, for it challenges in a profound way the theological justification for centuries of anti-Jewish Christian violence and bigotry, and reminds the church that the Jewish community is an intimate and enduring partner in faith.

Thank you.

Note: The following resolution, approved by General Synod 25 in Atlanta, should not be considered ďfinalĒ

until the minutes of the General Synod have been reviewed and approved by the Executive Council in




This resolution calls on the United Church of Christ to exercise multiple strategies to promote peace among all of Godís people in the Middle East.


Godís activity in human history has moved peoples from conflict to concord, Godís desire for peace, broadly understood: the absence of war (Lev. 26:6); reliance on the abundance that God provides (Ex. 15, Ex. 17); harmony among peoples (Ps 133); new relationships among those who have been separated by animosity (Lk 10:27-37). Moreover, Godís prophets have demonstrated Godís will for the faithful to invest their lives and their property, even when such investment seems foolhardy (Jer 32). Godís covenant with Israel remains unbroken (Rom. 9-11).


The world has witnessed unresolved conflict between the peoples whose social, economic and religious lives are rooted in the lands of the Middle East. The United Church of Christ has affirmed the right of Israel to exist and has deplored the violence directed against its people. At the same time the United Church of Christ has enduring relationships with Palestinians, including Palestinian Christians, who suffer greatly under the occupation of their land.


WHEREAS the General Synod of the United Church of Christ has affirmed its commitment to Israelís safe and secure existence within internationally-recognized borders, neighboring an independent Palestinian state; and

WHEREAS the General Synod of the United Church of Christ has continued to advocate on behalf of justice toward a resolution of the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict, advocacy and action which includes but is not limited to education about the realities on the ground and urging the US to play the role of honest broker; and

WHEREAS the Twenty-Third General Synod of the United Church of Christ affirmed its participation in and commitment to the World Council of Churchesí Decade to Overcome Violence (2001), condemning all forms of violence including but not limited to the violence perpetuated in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict including acts of suicide bombings by Palestinians; and the use of force by Israelis in perpetuating occupation of Palestinian lands; and

WHEREAS General Synods of the United Church of Christ have been particularly mindful of its relationship in Christ with Palestinian Christians, and notably the mission relationships mutually developed over decades of engagement and presence; and

WHEREAS the General Synod of the United Church of Christ has affirmed its relationship to the Jewish community, condemning anti-Semitism in all its forms, and affirming that Godís covenant with the Jewish community remains inviolate (1987); and

WHEREAS the General Synod of the United Church of Christ has called for the use of economic leverage on behalf of oppressed people in a variety of circumstances;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the 25th General Synod call upon the Covenanted Ministries, Pension Boards, United Church Foundation, Conferences, local churches and members to use economic leverage, including, but not limited to: advocating the reallocation of US foreign aid so that the militarization of the Middle East is constrained; making positive contributions to groups and partners committed to the non-violent resolution of the conflict; challenging the practices of corporations that gain from the continuation of the conflict; and divesting from those companies that refuse to change their practices of gain from the perpetuation of violence, including the Occupation; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that all settings of the United Church of Christ are urged to remain committed to interreligious dialogue and to participation with Jewish, Christian and Muslim partners to work for peace in Israel-Palestine; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the 25th General Synod requests the appropriate national bodies to provide materials that may be used by all settings of the church to discern how economic leverage can be used to support the development of Palestine and Israel as two independent, secure, economically viable states; and FINALLY BE IT RESOLVED that the 25th General Synod calls upon these settings to create for and disseminate to the local churches study resources on the range of issues contributing to violence and oppression in the Middle East and ways to be involved in promoting peace.

The funding for the implementation of this Resolution will be made in accordance with the overall mandate of the affected agencies and the funds available.

Adopted July 5, 2005



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