In Full-page NYT Ad, Presbyterians Urge Against Divestment From Israel

Group calls on community to seek opportunities to strengthen joint Israeli-Palestinian ventures.

A BDS demonstration in Melbourne, Australia, 2010.
Mohammed Ouda/Wikimedia Commons

A Presbyterian group took out a full-page ad in The New York Times calling on fellow church members to oppose divestment from Israel.

“Presbyterians: We can do better than divestment,” read the headline on the ad signed by scores of Presbyterian clergy and laypeople under the rubric of the group Presbyterians for a Just and Peaceful Future in the Middle East.

Last June, after a contentious debate at the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA), members voted 310-303 to approve divestment from the stock of three U.S. companies that do business with Israeli security services in the West Bank: Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions and Hewlett-Packard.

The authors of the ad wrote, "We are among the many Presbyterians all over the country who have worked against this action, believing that divestment would strengthen the extreme positions on both sides of this conflict without alleviating the suffering of Palestinians — and further divide and discourage the vast center of the Presbyterian Church (USA) that longs for justice with love for both peoples."

The ad called on fellow Presbyterians to reclaim the church’s role as a “repairer of the breach” among Christians, Muslims and Jews; reaffirm the church’s commitment to a two-state solution; and seek opportunities to strengthen joint Israeli-Palestinian ventures.