Ending Israel’s occupation is the only way to truly invest in Palestine

ActivismIsrael/Palestine
on 10 Comments

Editor’s Note: United Methodist Kairos Response sent out a email today saying that the divestment resolution will be considered by the conference plenary tomorrow. You will be able to watch live here.

In 2004, the end of one of my first journeys to the Israeli-occupied West Bank, I endured a shocking experience at Ben-Gurion airport near Tel Aviv. I never imagined that Israeli security forces would abuse a 79-year-old Holocaust survivor, but they held me for five hours and strip-searched and cavity-searched every part of my naked body. The only shame these security officials expressed was to turn their badges around so that I could not know their names. The only conceivable purpose for this gross violation of my bodily integrity was to humiliate and terrify me. But it had just the opposite effect. It made me more determined to speak out against abuses by the Israeli government and military.

Yet my own experience, unpleasant as it was, is nothing compared to the indignities and abuses heaped on Palestinians day after day, year after year. Israel’s forty-four year occupation of the West Bank is based not on equal rights and fair play, but on what Human Rights Watch has termed a “two-tier” legal system — in other words,apartheid, with one set of laws for Jews and a harsh, oppressive set of laws for Palestinians.

This week the Methodists can make an historic decision to help end the suffering of the Palestinians under this Israeli occupation. The Resolution “Aligning United Methodist Investments with Resolutions on Israel/Palestine” which will be presented in plenary tomorrow as a Minority Report calls on the Church to divest from three companies, Hewlett Packard, Motorola Solutions and Caterpillar.

Gaza is often described as the world’s largest open-air prison. Israel maintains a draconian and brutal blockade of Gaza, and its Navy enforces this humanitarian catastrophe with HP information technology. Caterpillar has long sold specially designed bulldozers to Israel for its on-going demolition of Palestinian homes. Motorola supplies Israel with surveillance equipment for use on illegal, Jewish-only settlements on Palestinian land.

These companies are actively enabling and benefiting from Israel’s dispossession, control,and imprisonment of Palestinian civilians.

Some Methodists assert that divestment is punitive and the answer is investment in the besieged Palestinian economy. This is false. Divestment is a nonviolent action to urge these companies to quit selling technology and equipment that facilitate illegal policies and criminal actions against the Palestinian people.

Palestinians are not asking for charity or money. They are demanding freedom to be able to live and work in dignity and feed and provide for their children. Ending Israel’s occupation is the only way to truly invest in Palestine. Methodist divestment is a strong, humane and prophetic response to the injustice daily faced by the Palestinians.

About Hedy Epstein

Hedy Epstein is a Holocaust survivor who writes and travels extensively to speak about social justice causes and Middle Eastern affairs. To learn more about Hedy visit www.hedyepstein.com.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

10 Responses

  1. Kathleen
    April 30, 2012, 4:40 pm

    Hedy “Ending Israel’s occupation is the only way to truly invest in Palestine.” and Israel.

    Hedy you are such an inspiration! Thank you for your incredible example of compassion and justice.

  2. pabelmont
    April 30, 2012, 5:17 pm

    If the divested shares are sold for money, that money could be reinvested in better shares — or invested in Palestinian enterprises.

    But the first thing is the symbolic act — to influence all other churches and all other ethical investment funds. That is key. And to instigate DISCUSSION. Such discussion might well begin with this essay by Hedy Epstein.

  3. Daniel Rich
    April 30, 2012, 7:00 pm

    How about investing in the truth? I was taught simplicity outruns complexity and never to censor voices I didn’t agree with [although that’s tough at times]. Israel’s allergic to the truth [although, in all fairness, it’s government isn’t unique in that derelict], so let the truth bite and sting.

  4. Talkback
    April 30, 2012, 7:21 pm

    “Some Methodists assert that divestment is punitive and the answer is investment in the besieged Palestinian economy.”

    So is stopping someone from killing and the answer is investment in cemeteries.

  5. Vacy
    April 30, 2012, 10:18 pm

    Hedy
    Bravo for sharing your deplorable treatment at Ben Gurion by dehumanised Israeli thugs. Respect to you.

    (from Australia)

    • Blake
      May 1, 2012, 12:16 am

      I actually had first hand experience of being interrogated at Ben-Gurion it is not a pleasant experience and seems to go on forever. It’s almost like they know they should just not be there hence the paranoia.

  6. Annie Robbins
    April 30, 2012, 11:05 pm

    We love you Hedy.

  7. Blake
    May 1, 2012, 12:15 am

    Thanks for speaking out Hedy.

  8. Kathleen
    May 1, 2012, 10:44 am

    Hedy speaks out

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h95mitkbg9M

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nC37pFQ8tyg

    Contact Hedy Epstein. Invite her to your local campus, town meeting, church, synagogue, mosque to speak about what she has witnessed. You will be glad you did. She is remarkable!
    http://www.facebook.com/people/Hedy-Epstein/1146919433

  9. DICKERSON3870
    May 1, 2012, 2:38 pm

    RE: “The only conceivable purpose for this gross violation of my bodily integrity was to humiliate and terrify me. But it had just the opposite effect. . .” ~ Hedy Epstein

    MY COMMENT: Fortunately, Israel’s authoritarian tactics do not work on people like Hedy Epstein, Uri Avnery, Gideon Levy, etc. Unfortunately, over time, they do work on most people.

    FROM WIKIPEDIA [Learned helplessness]:

    (excerpt) Learned helplessness, as a technical term in animal psychology and related human psychology, means a condition of a human person or an animal in which it has learned to behave helplessly, even when the opportunity is restored for it to help itself by avoiding an unpleasant or harmful circumstance to which it has been subjected. Learned helplessness theory is the view that clinical depression and related mental illnesses may result from a perceived absence of control over the outcome of a situation.[1] Organisms which have been ineffective and less sensitive in determining the consequences of their behavior are defined as having acquired learned helplessness.[2] . . .

    SOURCE – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learned_helplessness

Leave a Reply