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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Divestment

I feel that when it is for the right reasons and all elements of an issue are known, boycott and divestment from a specific organization, country, etc is a way for the "average Joe" to fight against a perceived injustice. When it comes to the Israeli-Arab Conflict, I don't see how any of these rules are being followed. Both sides aren't being taken into consideration, and all issues surrounding the matter are, either, not understood or taken into consideration. Finally, the consideration of the consequences and possible outcomes of these moves are not being analyzed or innunciated. One of the clearest and biggest cases of a group/community going forth irresponsibly and recklessly with the concept of Divestment from Israel is the Presbyterian Church in America. Their talk of Divestment from Israel has been discussed, with all its surrounding controversy, for years. Individual communities have already proceeded with Divestment against Israel. Now, as the Church gathers for their biennial assembly, they are discussing whether the Presbyterian Church, as a unified body, should Divest from Israel. This is in great contrast, of course, to the numerous other Christian sects, especially Evengellicals, who are extremely pro-Israel and are against the Presbyterian Church's actions. The Jewish community has been building a relationship with the numerous Christian sects for a number of years now, with much success. My father-in-law has been invited numerous times to speak to Christian groups about the Conflict. Creating more controversy is that there are many Presbyterian Churches across the country who do not support Divestment, and disagree with the notion that the head organization of the Church is considering making the decision of Divestment for the entire sect. I know this based on the fact that my father-in-law has spoken with presbyterian groups in the south. The Jewish community is now up in arms at this prospect and are attempting to "gather the troops" in order to prevent this from happening and try to get the Presybyterian Church to actually stop and look at the bigger picture and really comprehend all sides and all the issues.

The Jewish Florida News has recently wrote an excellent article about this very controversial topic. I thought it was a good article and worth reading.
Here's an excerpt:
ATLANTA, May 11 (JTA) - As Presbyterians across America gear up for their biennial assembly next month, the legacy of the last such meeting is still roiling the Jewish community and the church’s own members.

Two years ago, the Presbyterian Church USA passed a resolution calling for “phased, selective divestment in multinational corporations operating in Israel.”

Those who long have followed Jewish-Protestant relations weren’t surprised.

“It was the culmination of decades - not years, but decades - of hostility toward Israel and Zionism, not by the rank-and-file members of these churches, but by some of the leadership,” said Rabbi A. James Rudin, senior interreligious adviser for the American Jewish Committee, where he staffed the interfaith department for 38 years.

The passion ignited by the divestment resolution at the last General Assembly is likely to erupt again at the June 15-22 meeting in Birmingham, Ala.

What happens there will have a lasting impact on the already strained relationship between Jews and the entire Protestant community. The estimated 3 million Presbyterians in the United States influence the other white mainline Protestant churches in this country, whose members number more than 20 million.

Presbyterians are considered the “conscience” and reason of the Protestant community, serving as something of a “swing vote,” Rudin said.

Indeed, after the Presbyterians’ 2004 resolution on divestment, several other Protestant communities took up the issue. The Methodists decided to study their options; the United Church of Christ, also known as the Congregationalists, endorsed divestment but did not create a process to enact it; the Episcopalians considered but rejected divestment; and the Lutherans rejected a divestment resolution, and instead passed a resolution to invest in cooperative ventures between Israelis and Palestinians.

What will happen in Birmingham is anyone’s guess, though both Presbyterian and Jewish officials predict that no immediate action on divestment will be taken. Read the rest of the article...

4 Comments:

At 7:57 PM, Blogger amechad said...

I wish that the following argument was made by the anti-divestment camp (myself, hopefully, included), although it's possible it is being made and I'm not aware of it: Divestment is infeasable. To divest from countries doing business in Israel means no one can use a PC-based computer (or, now, with Apple's new Intel chip, also many Macintoshes), Windows, AOL Instant Messenger, many other Microsoft products, ZoneAlarm and other similiar firewalls and security software, Keter furniture/containers (this one is probably the easier one to avoid), Victoria Secret underwear (made by Israeli firm Delta), etc. etc. etc.
It's simply unfeasible.

Of course that isn't arguing with them on the ideological front but I don't think they necessarily can be convinced, hence I think the above argument is a more feasible one.

 
At 8:48 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

That's what I mean when I say reckless and irresponsible. They're doing this to make noise without really taking into account what they're really doing. I totally agree with you. It's not only unfeasible; it's ridiculous.
-OC

 
At 7:01 AM, Blogger shlemazl said...

Interesting to find out what drives them now that Israel has left Gaza, about to leave Judea and the Palestinians elected Hamas.

 
At 12:58 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

It doesn't matter to them. In their minds, either none of these happened, or they didn't mean anything. Israel is still an oppresive occupier, with no hope for redemption until... well, they don't exist. What else could come about from good Divestment? They're attempting to stifle the economy through elimination of their funding. If that were to honestly work, how long could Israel last?
-OC

 

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