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United Church of Christ votes to divest from companies with ties to Israeli settlements

Delegates called on the denomination’s financial arms to sell off stock in firms profiting from human rights violations.

By  and  Jun. 30, 2015 | 7:49 PM |  17
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A BDS flag hangs off New York's Manhattan Bridge, August 2014

A BDS flag hangs off New York’s Manhattan Bridge, August 2014. Photo by AP

Delegates at the 2012 Presbyterian Church General Assembly. Photo by AP

The United Church of Christ has voted to divest from companies with business in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.

The U.S.-based denomination endorsed the action on a vote of 508-124, with 38 abstentions, during a national meeting.

“As disciples of Jesus, we hear and seek to heed his call to be peacemakers, responding to violence with nonviolence and extending love to all,” said Rev. John Deckenback.

“It is in that spirit of love for both Israelis and Palestinians, and a desire to support Palestinians in their nonviolent struggle for freedom, that the United Church of Christ has passed this resolution,” he said.

Jewish Voice for Peace expressed their support for the vote, with board member Lev Hirschhorn praising the church for “a courageous step” that “put their words into action”.

“We’re on the precipice of a new political moment. Progressives are speaking up, and it’s only a matter of time until Israel is held accountable for its human rights abuses,” Hirschhorn said.

The liberal Protestant group is the latest to take such action. Last year, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted to sell stock in a few companies whose products are used by Israel in the territories.

The United Church of Christ resolution was broader. Delegates are calling on the denomination’s financial arms to sell off stock in any company profiting from what the church called human rights violations arising from the occupation.

The church also voted to boycott products made in the territories.


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