The United Methodist Church (UMC) took bold strides at the General Conference last week to end the Israeli occupation and support justice in Palestine.
Led by human rights activists within the UMC and supported by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, a resolution was passed calling for an explicit boycott of all Israeli companies "operating in the occupied Palestinian territories."
The resolution at the General Conference -- the highest decision-making body of the Church -- also urges the U.S. government to "end all military aid in the region." Read the full resolution text and US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation's account from the General Conference.
This resolution, voted on by 1,000 delegates from around the world, is a major step forward in recognizing the rights and dignity of Palestinians, and also sets the stage for other faith groups standing in solidarity to end the Occupation.
It is difficult to see this groundbreaking resolution as a complete victory, though. The General Conference fell short and voted against divestment from Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions, and Hewlett-Packard (HP) -- three companies that are actively complicit in the Israeli occupation and in serious violation of international law.
Despite falling short of full support for divestment, pressure continues to mount on these three companies through the "We Divest" campaign urging financial giant TIAA-CREF to divest from companies involved in the Israeli occupation. Not only that, the Presbyterian Church in the US will be meeting this summer to consider resolutions on boycotting settlement products, and divesting from Caterpillar, Motorola, and HP. Endorse here.
The UMC resolution was supported by grassroots activism in the Church working together with other BDS activists from around the world, including Jewish human rights activists. The struggle to end the Israeli apartheid continues, and BDS activism continues to raise awareness and organize advocacy campaigns to bring this issue to the fore.
As pointed out in the BDS Movement's statement, "The road to ultimate victory over oppression, as Mandela and Martin Luther King, Jr. teach us, is never straight or paved with flowers; every turn and decline are opportunities to learn how to persevere and to rise stronger against the challenges ahead."
Director of Organizing
P.S. We want to hear from you! Take our survey and be eligible to win a basket of Global Exchange goodies.
photos courtesy of US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation