Trending Topics:

Unitarian Universalists divest from companies profiting from Israel’s occupation


Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East (UUJME) welcomes the recent decision of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) to divest from several companies involved in human rights abuses and environmental degradation.

The UUA has adopted a human rights screen focusing on conflict zones that includes human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories. The UUA subsequently divested from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, HP Inc., and Motorola Solutions. The UUA has also divested from Caterpillar Inc., due to concerns over its environmental and social practices. These four companies have been the target of boycott and divestment campaigns due to their complicity in violations of Palestinian human rights.

“We are pleased with this decision made by the UUA officials,” said Curtis Bell, a member of the UUJME Board of Directors. “As Unitarian Universalists we want to live by our principles, which include respect for the worth and dignity of every person, upholding justice, equity and compassion in human affairs, and seeking peace and world community. When we refuse to profit from human rights abuses and the suffering of fellow human beings, we are living our principles.”

By divesting from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, HP Inc., Motorola Solutions, and Caterpillar, the UUA is joining other religious denominations such as the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Church of Christ, which have voted to divest from these and other companies profiting from Israel’s abuses of Palestinian rights; and the United Methodist Church, which has voted to boycott goods produced in settlements and which recently divested from two Israeli banks and placed three others on a no investing list due to their complicity in the illegal construction of Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land.

UUJME will be working to reinforce and solidify the UUA’s decisions with passage of a Business Resolution by delegates to the UUA General Assembly in Columbus Ohio this coming June. Adoption of this resolution will guide the UUA as it continues to include human rights concerns in the occupied Palestinian territories in its future investment decisions.

About Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East

Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East (UUJME)is a UUA-related social justice organization that works within the Unitarian Universalist denomination and in the larger community for a peaceful and just resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including a solution affirming the equality, dignity, freedom and security of all people involved.

Other posts by .

Posted In:

10 Responses

  1. Boomer
    Boomer on April 8, 2016, 8:57 pm

    Good for the Unitarian Universalists.

  2. eileenfleming
    eileenfleming on April 9, 2016, 7:48 am

    During one of my trips to Palestine Israel, Mohammad Alatar, film producer of “The Iron Wall” addressed my group after we broke bread and ate a typical Palestinian feast prepared by the Arabiya family:

    “I am a Muslim Palestinian American and when my son asked me who my hero was I took three days to think about it. I told him my hero is Jesus, because he took a stand and he died for it. What really needs to be done is for the churches to be like Jesus; to challenge the Israeli occupation and address the apartheid practices as moral issues. Even if every church divested and boycotted Israel it would not harm Israel. After the USA and Russia, Israel is the third largest arms exporter in the world. It is a moral issue that the churches must address.”

  3. Boo
    Boo on April 9, 2016, 10:42 am

    Our community’s UU congregation is sponsoring this year’s Palestine-Israel film festival and they are showing strong commitment to justice and peace for Palestine and accountability for Israel. The DC Metro area has a lot of pro-Israel sentiment and this causes many mainstream Christian churches to shy away from hosting events such as this (the pro-Israel lobby puts pressure on them), so it’s gratifying to see the UU group step forward and take the lead where others have historically been unwilling to.

    • Boomer
      Boomer on April 12, 2016, 11:45 am

      Boo, as Katie discusses below, there can be a lot of pro-Israel sentiment in some UU congregations too, making any such actions difficult. Congratulations to your congregation on having taken this step.

  4. Katie Miranda
    Katie Miranda on April 11, 2016, 7:38 pm

    In 2006 I spoke at my mother’s Unitarian Church about Palestine. I had just come back from my first trip to Palestine and spoke mainly about the apartheid situation in Hebron. My talk upset a lot of people, and not in a good way. I was told by some Jewish Unitarians that I was “too young to remember the Holocaust,” as if that had anything to do with Shuhada Street in Hebron. I’m thrilled to hear that exactly 10 years later, UU has decided to divest.

    • just
      just on April 11, 2016, 8:31 pm

      What a great (albeit belated) personal outcome for you, Katie! Thanks for sharing that here.

      I’ve not forgotten the miserable experiences in Hebron that you have shared before.

    • Boomer
      Boomer on April 12, 2016, 10:52 am

      Your experience reminds me of a UU congregation I was a part of a decade ago. As with many UU congregations, there were many folks from other backgrounds, including a large number from a Jewish background. Some of them were quick to object to any elements of the service that evoked the Christian heritage of UU, and some of them were obviously still attached to Israel. On the other hand, some of them were probably more aware of the occupation as a problem than many non-Jewish Americans were. The discussions that touched on I/P were contentious, and never came to anything back then. It’s good to see that some things have changed, albeit slowly.

  5. Kay24
    Kay24 on April 12, 2016, 1:00 pm

    Anyone in the US who stands up to the zionists, criticizes their numerous crimes, and are willing to openly show the are against what they do, is brave. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans feel intimidated by the lobbies and the might of the zionist media, so they stay muted. We all know how ugly these zio tantrums can be.

  6. Nevada Ned
    Nevada Ned on April 13, 2016, 1:10 pm

    I’m a member of a UU congregation, which has an affiliated book club. A few months ago, the book club read and discussed Jimmy Carter’s book, Palestine, Peace not Apartheid. In the discussion, nobody in the book club supported Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.
    Nobody! The discussion was not contentious.

    I don’t know what the same people might have said a decade ago, but as of now, Israeli’s oppression of the Palestinians and Netanyahu’s right wing policy has devastated support in UU for Israel.

Leave a Reply