Commentary: Presbyterian divestment vote a blow to mutual respect

israelBy Arnold M. Eisen

(RNS) The vote by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) to divest from three U.S. companies doing business in Israel came exactly a week after news broke of the kidnapping of three yeshiva students (may their memory be a blessing) and at the same time that an Islamic terrorist faction was sweeping through Iraq.

Eyes open to the world, nerves on edge, our hearts open to those teenagers and the suffering on so many sides, my feelings are a mixture of sadness, pain, and acute worry for Israel, the Middle East, and the world.

The Presbyterian Church (USA) vote is but a minor addition to that mix. In the big picture, I can understand why people who care about peace between Israelis and Palestinians are frustrated by a peace process that seems to go nowhere, and may feel driven to drastic action. However, we must not ever let hope die.

That’s why I am prepared to assume that the majority of the Presbyterians who voted for divestment did so without malice. It is worth noting that the decision was made by a narrow margin of 310–303; the Presbyterian community is clearly passionately divided on this issue.



Comments 12

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  • Why do I even bother to comment.. It’s useless…I feel as though I’m back in Salem Massachusetts witnessing the witchery….or maybe I’m witnessing the trial at Nuremberg… Wake up PCUSA… Would you prefer to be an accomplice?

    • Charlotte,

      The organization called pcusa has long since signed its own death warrant, and the worst is yet to come. When you violate the Holy Bible and the WCF which gave rise to Presbyterianism, do not be surprised at all of this heresy, but contend for the faith once given over to the saints, Jude 3.

    • an accomplice to what exactly? it’s not like talking about killing babies in the womb on this topic, that one is obvious, we’re talking about a group of church lay people sitting around a table trying to play politics. whether it’s PCUSA, or any other denomination, it doesn’t matter. there is supposedly a separation of church and state in this country, which is really not the point.

      if there was no money in the PCUSA accounts would leaders really be spending church time on such matters? it makes absolutely no sense. we don’t know for sure the asset level of the church, but the point is the powers that be have this information and it has gone to their collective heads. it is our responsibility as Christians to speak up otherwise we will be held accountable. at some point it’s going to be almost impossible for a soul to extract itself from this level of pride, evil, call it whatever you prefer, it’s a judgment call, agreed, it’s at that point you’ll probably see this website go silent. just be patient, at the rate things are going it won’t be long now.

  • it’s ironic that probably the vast majority of the PCUSA are personally invested in these and other corporations like them, via 401K plans, pension plans, mutual funds and the like, and much worse than that, are employed by some of these same organizations, or other organizations, financial in particular, that have been actively involved in white collar criminal atrocities. why not start naming names and calling for PCUSA excommunication, why stop at divesting? if PCUSA is going to pass judgment on individual corporations for church investments it’s highly hypocritical to use different standards for member conduct and personal portfolio holdings.

  • Zero

  • Presbyterians who supported divestment voted with malice and ignorance. The result is that Hamas is empowered.

  • As an elder in a PCUSA church, I stated over a year ago to our session that my heart ached at the thought that our Jewish friends might learn of the discussion in the PCUSA of divestment. This was one of the concerns that led me to resign from session and to leave the PCUSA. How can it be that those who claim to be Christians would align themselves with those that refuse to acknowledge the right of Israel to exist and who seek the annihilation of the Jewish people? The decision by the PCUSA to divert their attention from the Great Commission to Social Justice Issues was made half a century ago and we are now seeing the painful fruition of that decision.

  • Our vote for divestment was a slap in the face to our friend and ally Israel, no one is saying they are bunch of choir boys, but given the alternative we should take Israel side against Hamas anyday.

    • The PCUSA is not responding to the use of gigantic militarized Caterpillar tractors in the destruction of “Hamas” olive groves. Rachel Corrie was not killed blocking the path of a Caterpillar tractor attempting to destroy the home of a “Hamas” pharmacist.

      The PCUSA does not hold investments in Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, SAIC, and others involved in production of military equipment used for legal purposes, why should we hold investments in companies selling equipment used for purposes that are illegal under international law?

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