PITTSBURGH, July 4, 2012 – The General Assembly’s Middle East and Peacemaking Issues Committee wrapped up its assigned business Tuesday after its landmark vote endorsing a proposal to place three companies – Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions – on the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s divestment list.
The committee voted 36-11, with one abstention, for the main divestment measure, an overture from the General Assembly Mission Council. It then voted 40-2-3 to let its approval of the main measure stand as its answer to four other overtures that took positions for or against divestment.
The presbyteries sponsoring overtures “answered” by the main measure were San Francisco, New Covenant, National Capital and Palisades.
Also on Tuesday, the committee reshaped another overture to express its support for positive engagement aimed at peaceful resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict. It inserted new language expressing broad support for the overture’s intent, even though the overture’s sponsor, Philadelphia Presbytery, had declared its opposition to divestment in its rationale.
The vote to approve the amended version of that overture was 36-8, with one abstention.
On other agenda items, the committee:
- Disapproved an overture from Muskingum Valley Presbytery to declare that Israel’s laws, policies and practices constitute “apartheid against the Palestinian people.” The vote was 28-19.
- Approved an amended version of the San Francisco Presbytery’s overture calling for a boycott of Israeli products produced in Israel-occupied Palestinian territories. The vote was 37-6-2.
- Declared that its adoption of three other overtures constituted a combined answer to an overture from Scioto Valley Presbytery calling for prayer and study in response to Palestinian suffering. The vote was 40-5-1.
- Disapproved an overture from San Jose Presbytery commending the U.S. State Department for tracking religious discrimination by Israel and urging Israel to stop such discrimination and protect Christian holy sites. The vote was 26-19-3.