Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Isreal . . . Palestine . . . What is a Church to Do?

In the past few days there have been two articles from the Presbyterian News Service regarding the PC (USA)’s stance and involvement in the Israel/Palestine debate. So the question is what, if any, is the correct move for the PC (USA) to make?

I highly recommend reading both PC (USA) News Service Articles: Resolution urges PC(USA) to invest in economic development in Palestine and MRTI won’t have any recommendations for GA on Israel/Palestine divestment issue


Purechristianithink said...

I'm not opposed to divestment per se as a tool for institutions to register protest and try to effect change. However I'm also not convinced that, given the particular historical/political/religious factors at play in this situation, that this approach is helpful.

Quotidian Grace said...

There are at least 2 overtures (one from my presbytery New Covenant) that ask GA to abandon the divestment approach in favor of a strategy of investing in companies that are engaged in activities that promote economic development and understanding in the region. It seems to me that is a much better approach and I hope one of these overtures passes.

Adam said...

I'm troubled by those who are seeking to slow down the divestment process. It just means that the PCUSA needs to work harder to help our Jewish brothers and sisters realize that this type of move is NOT ANTI-SEMITIC. If we're going to let that stop us from doing anything about the Isreali-Palestinian conflict, fear of reactions from the Jewish population - we will be held back from helping our Palestinian brothers and sisters; something that must be done.

DennisS said...

First, the spelling is "Israel".

Second, we are wasting resources by having all the meetings spent on this - pro & con, at all levels. Divest and be done with it.

Third, the result of the initial call to sell stock in companies, such as Caterpilar (whose bulldozers were used to knock down homes used by many generations of Palestinians), has achieved it's intended result. Awareness was raised about the plight of Palestinians displaced by the agressive land grabbing (without any compensation).

The continued divestment merely serves to witness to Reformed theology, as opposed to Christian Zionists, who believe Israel must physically exist - must take back the land - in order for Christ to return.

It seems so strange to me that the USA would buy into this Zionism, this huge fiasco begun by the British. Why would we favor a country without Christians, over a people with over 20% Christians (prior to 1948 - before they were methodically targeted).

Gannet Girl said...

Our presbytery has developed what I think someone at session said is one of about 20 overtures seeking to implemenent an investment rather than a divestment approach.

I teach in an Orthodox Jewish school which is Zionist in philosophy. (There are other Orthodox schools with a completely different take on Zionism, by the way.)

I have heard from many, many Jewish friends and colleagues, across the spectrum of Judaism from Reconstructionist to Orthodox, that in the Jewish community the divestment overture has set back Jewish-Christian relationships by decades.

I've been in my present job for five years and it is really only in the last one that I have even begun to understand the relationship of the Jewish people to the land and state of Israel.

I think that if we want to convery a Christian message of hope and peace, an attack on state sovereignty is probably not the way to go.

Stewart said...

The fact that MRTI does not have a recommendation to make is, for me, evidence of the integrity of their process in engaging the selected corporations.

If our church's dialog with those corporations had led to clear information supporting a next step to divest, I'm sure they would be making that recommendation. In any event, the case for divesting has not been made to the people charged with making the recommendation.

If MRTI feels they need to continue to study the matter, I'd support that.

St. Inuksuk said...

I agree with Quotidian Grace.
However, I would note, that had the Israeli's used Komatsu, I doubt that our good Presbyterian folks would've been at Komatsu headquarters or seeking to divest Komatsu stock.
It's not the bulldozer, it's the people using the bulldozer.
And Cat is there helping to rebuild New Orleans, Biloxi, Miss, and Alabama.
I, for one, won't support this issue.

callieischatty said...

Some very well thought out comments.

quotidian grace, excellent idea to chose to support understanding and investment.

denmiss, may I ask if you have ever been to Israel? There are many many Christians who live there and I have never heard of anyone being 'targeted'. I can't help but wonder where you got this information.

with all due respect, I would suggest you read up on the topic, and perhaps visit Israel yourself if you have not already done so.

Again, interesting comments and a delightful group.