Public Comment

New: Israel & the growing BDS movement

Jagjit Singh
Monday June 23, 2014 - 03:12:00 PM

Throughout its short history Israel has adopted an extremely aggressive posture occupying more and more land displacing the indigenous population. The prospect for peace grows dimmer by the day. Many Jews and non-Jews are increasingly dismayed by Israel’s long standing intransigence to reach a peaceful accord with the Palestinians.

Recently, The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted in its general convention to divest from three companies (Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions) that exports equipment to the occupied Palestinian territories. This is an effort to pressure Israel to stop building settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and to end the occupation; this comes on the heel of a much wider campaign known as B.D.S., for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.

Jewish activists from Jewish Voice for Peace wore black T-shirts with the slogan “Another Jew Supporting Divestment” at the Presbyterian convention. Rabbi Alissa Wise, director of Jewish Voice for Peace, stated that divestment can serve a constructive purpose. “To me, this helps Palestinians build their power, so that Israel is convinced, not by force, but by global consensus that something has to change.”  

Other American churches have adopted similar strategies to protest Israeli policies: The Mennonite Central Committee, the Quakers and the United Methodist Church have sold stock in companies that conduct business with Israel. Religious groups were in the forefront to demolish the South Africa’s apartheid system. It must do no less to vigorously oppose current Israel policies.