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Wednesday July 14, 2010 9:18 AM (EST+7)
Presbyterian church compromises on divestment calls

Read more: Presbyterian, church, Christians, Christianity, Jewish-Christian relations, Christian-Jewish relations, religion

RAMALLAH, July 13 (JMCC) - The Presbyterian church, meeting in Minnesota Friday, reached a compromise solution over a resolution on the Middle East conflict that had drawn the ire of right-wing Jewish groups in the United States.

An earlier draft had advocated a boycott and sanctions approach, supporting Palestinians in their call for international censure against Israel, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The church's adoption of the report by its Middle East study committee was not without pointed language, including a denunciation of the Caterpillar company for allowing its equipment to be utilized for nonpeaceful uses by Israel. (Caterpillar, whose bulldozers have been used by Israel to knock down Palestinian homes, issued a statement in response saying that it did not condone the illegal or immoral use of any Caterpillar equipment.)

The report also affirmed previous positions of the church, including a call for the US to withhold aid to Israel if it builds new West Bank settlements.

But gone were calls for divestment in Caterpillar; references to Israeli apartheid; and the endorsement of a Palestinian Christian document that called for a boycott and international sanctions against Israel, and described the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory as a sin against God and humanity.

Several Jewish organizations closely monitored the Presbyterian convention and lobbied the study committee. After the vote, the groups' representatives expressed deep relief with the changes, in particular praising a decision by the church to seek out eight narratives — four by Palestinians and four by Israelis — that will express the diversity of voices in the region.

Read the story at the LA Times...






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