DETROIT — The US Presbyterian Church on Friday became the most prominent religious group in the US to endorse divestment as a protest against Israeli policies towards the Palestinians. They voted to sell church stock in three different companies whose products Israel uses in the occupied territories.
The American Jewish Committee, a policy and advocacy group based out of New York, stated that the vote was “driven by hatred of Israel.”
Israeli officials, along with many American Jewish groups, denounced the campaign as an attempt to delegitimize the Jewish state.
In a statement on its Facebook page, the Israeli Embassy in Washington denounced the resolution as “shameful.”
“Voting for symbolic measures marginalizes and removes its ability to be a constructive partner to promote peace in the Middle East,” said the statement.
Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement, lauded the vote as a “sweet victory for human rights.”
He indicated that Presbyterian supporters of Palestinian rights have introduced divestment into the U.S. mainstream and have given Palestinians “real hope in the face of the relentless and intensifying cruelty of Israel’s regime of occupation, settler colonialism and apartheid.”
Two other smaller U.S. religious groups have also divested in protest of Israeli policies: the Friends Fiduciary Corp., which manages assets for U.S. Quakers, and the Mennonite Central Committee.