Caterpillar bulldozer, occupied territories
The vote just happened and the motion to endorse divestment passed:
— JewishVoiceForPeace (@jvplive) July 3, 2012
The debate is still going strong at the Presbyterian General Assembly. After a 12-hour session yesterday, the Middle East and Peacemaking committee did not vote on whether to endorse divestment, so the session continues this morning. Here’s the lede of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette‘s report on yesterday’s proceedings:
The Committee on Middle East and Peacemaking Issues of the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly spent the day Monday locked in heated debate over a proposal to divest its funds from companies whose products are used by Israel to enforce occupation of the West Bank.
The committee listened to impassioned testimony from American Jews, Palestinian Christians and Presbyterians and waded through sometimes contentious disagreements over a proper way forward. PCUSA’s biannual meetings are being held Downtown this week at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
Brian Ellison, chair of the Mission Responsibility Through Investment committee, introduced the topic by arguing that the church should not profit from investing its pension and charitable funds in companies whose actions conflict with church values.
He charged Hewlett-Packard with selling hardware used by Israel in its naval blockade of Gaza, Motorola with supplying surveillance technology to Israeli settlements, and Caterpillar with providing militarized machines that raze Palestinian homes.
“To not divest at this point would represent a substantial change to a 40-year history of socially responsible investing,” he said. “Divestment is a normal conclusion to a normal practice when engagement is not going to work. We’ve concluded that it will not.”
You can still follow the news live on the Twitter feed below.
Today, the Middle East & Peacemaking committee of the Presbyterian General Assembly will be considering overtures regarding peace with Iran and divestment from Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions and Hewlett-Packard due to their role in the Israeli occupation (for the purposes of the General Assembly the committee is also known as “committee 15″). The committee will decide whether or not to recommend divestment to the broader plenary which will be voting on Thursday and Friday. Today’s vote will provide an important indication of whether divestment stands a chance of passing. You can find relevant materials on committee 15 here.
Follow the debate and presentations to the committee live here over Twitter: