JCRC Applauds Presbyterian Church for Rejecting Divestment and Investing in Peace
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 6, 2012
On July 6, JCRC President Bill Gabovitch and Associate Director Nahma Nadich released the following statement:
JCRC of Greater Boston expresses its appreciation of the Presbyterian General Assembly’s vote last night against a resolution calling for divestment from American companies doing business in Israel. Although the vote was extremely close, the result, and the subsequent vote in favor of investment in the West Bank, allows the church to pursue positive actions for peace rather than demonizing one party in a tragic conflict. This decision follows a similar rejection of divestment by the Methodist Church in May.
This morning, the Presbyterian General Assembly underscored their commitment to constructive action by overwhelmingly rejecting the use of the term “apartheid” to characterize Israeli law and practice. The term is a bald mischaracterization of the conflict that can serve only to poison the dialogue necessary for negotiation, and we applaud the decision to avoid it in discussions of Israel and the Middle East.
At the same time, we regret this morning’s approval of a boycott of goods produced in the West Bank, a decision that places the blame solely on Israel, while potentially damaging the economic situation of the Palestinian and Israeli workers who make these products. These economic measures, like the language of apartheid, distract from real efforts to make peace and to establish a viable Palestinian state living in peace and cooperation beside a secure Israel.
We applaud and support the collaborative efforts of our many partners in the effort to educate Methodist and Presbyterian commissioners about the complexities of the situation in the Middle East and the counterproductive efforts of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement to delegitimize and isolate Israel. Jewish groups from across the spectrum, including the Israel Action Network, JCPA, AJC, ADL, J Street, Americans for Peace Now, and many others, worked together to build this movement in favor of peace. Locally, we at the JCRC met with Methodist and Presbyterian leaders to discuss these complex issues and to share perspectives on the best way to make a positive impact on the cause of peace. We continue to deepen our relationships with these and other church leaders, including our biannual Christian Clergy Study Tour to Israel in August for a remarkably diverse delegation of ministers.
JCRC President Bill Gabovitch said:
“The work of resisting the delegitimization of Israel and actively promoting a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict needs to continue, both within the Jewish community and beyond it. The narrow margin at the Presbyterian General Assembly reflects both a well-organized campaign of pro-divestment forces and the frustration of thoughtful Protestants who are impatient for peace and concerned about the future of both Israelis and Palestinians. This vote should be a call to action for all of us to engage with our neighbors, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, in respectful dialogue about Israel and the necessity of a negotiated peace."
The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston (JCRC) is the representative voice of the organized Jewish community. Comprised of 40 constituent organizations, JCRC serves as a catalyst for building a strong and vibrant Jewish community in Boston and around the world; advocates for a safe, secure, Jewish, democratic state of Israel; and promotes an American society that is democratic, pluralistic and just.