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July 6, 2012 8:53 am

Blog: Judea, Samaria Boycott Resolution Passes at Presbyterian General Assembly (UPDATE)

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Presbyterian Church. Photo: Jhowey.

As the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly unfolds, and the topic of Israel is on the agenda, The Algemeiner will update our readers on continuing developments with regard to the movement within the Church to push for divestment from companies that do business with Israel, on this dedicated blog.

For the past week, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has been considering a proposal to divest from three companies whose products are used by the Israeli military – Hewlett-Packard, Motorola and Caterpillar. Last night the proposal was defeated by a narrow margin as activists within the denomination moved that it be replaced with an overture that called for positive investment. This motion won by a very narrow margin, 333 to 331. In a subsequent vote the positive investment resolution passed by a more decisive margin, 369 to 290.

Twitter is alive with declarations of victory from the pro-Israel community. These declarations, however, are premature. The pro-divestment activists at the PC (USA)’s will almost invariably try to overturn this vote and put divestment in the last few sessions of the General Assembly, which ends tomorrow morning.

In other words, it ain’t over ’till it’s over, and it ain’t over.

UPDATE: The Last Gasps

10:00am – As predicted previously, pro-BDS activists attempted to inject divestment back into the debate at the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s General Assembly being held in Pittsburgh. The attempt came in the form of a motion to reconsider yesterday’s vote that replace a proposal to divest from Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola with a plan to engage in positive investment.

The motion to reconsider failed with 252 votes in favor and 415 votes against.

Another attempt to inject divestment into an overture calling for the boycott of Ahava products made in the West Bank has been ruled out of order.

It appears that divestment is dead at this current General Assembly.

10:40am – BDS proponents at the PC (USA)’s General Assembly have achieved a consolation prize of a sort — the passage of a resolution calling for the boycott of products manufactured in the West Bank. This overture passed by a margin of 457 to 180, with three abstentions. Prior to the vote, Noushin Framke, a prominent pro-Palestinian activist in the PC (USA), cited the support of Peter Beinart for the boycott of products in the West Bank.

11: 10am – The PC (USA)’s General Assembly voted down, by a wide margin, an overture declaring Israeli policies in the West Bank “apartheid.” Seventy-two percent (463) of the delegates voted in favor of a committee recommendation to disapprove the resolution. Twenty-seven percent or 175 of the delegates, voted against the committee recommendation. This defeats the overture.

11:45am – The scheduled deliberations regarding Middle East-related overtures have come to an end at the PC (USA)’s General Assembly in Pittsburgh. The assembly approved a overture calling for an end to violence in Syria by a wide margin. Among other things, the overture called on the United States to “refrain from military intervention in Syria.”
It is highly unlikely the General Assembly will revisit any of the issues related to the Middle East between now and the final gavel, which will fall tomorrow morning.
Divestment is dead, for now, in the PC (USA).

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