Presbyterian Church in U.S. Votes to Boycott Israeli Settlement Goods

Move comes a day after Presbyterian General Assembly narrowly voted down a proposal to divest from three companies that do business with Israel.

On Friday, the Presbyterian General Assembly voted in favor of boycotting goods made in settlements in Israel, but narrowly voted against divesting holdings in three multinationals that do business in the settlements.

The assembly also voted in favor of a recommendation creating an option for individual pension-savers not to invest in Caterpillar, Motorola, and Hewlett Packard stock, as "choice of conscience" - to be voted on at the next General Assembly in 2014.

Sydney Levy, the Jewish Voice for Peace Director of Advocacy, congratulated the Presbyterian Church (USA) for its decision. "This vote signifies the mainstreaming of boycott as a way to oppose illegal Israeli settlements, and the Israeli occupation overall," Levy said. "This accomplishment is despite heavy-handed fear-mongering by the Jewish establishment that included threatening the future of interfaith cooperation and raising the specter of anti-semitism. The truth is, growing numbers of Jewish groups and individual Jews of conscience support some form of boycott and/or divestment as a strategic tactic to pressure Israel to end the human rights abuses of the 45-year-old occupation of Palestinian people and land."

On Thursday. the Presbyterian General Assembly. the largest Presbyterian group in the United States, voted narrowly to defeat a proposal to divest from three companies that do business with Israel. After an hours-long debate that took place late Thursday, the assembly voted 333-331, with two abstentions, to reject the divestment plan.