Methodists Reject Divestment in Companies Trading with Israel

(UMNS Photo/Paul Jeffrey)David Hosey, a delegate from the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference, speaks during a May 2 debate at the 2012 United Methodist General Conference in Tampa, Fla. Hosey spoke in favor of divestment from corporations profiting from Israeli settlement of occupied Palestinian territories. Hosey was a United Methodist mission intern in the Holy Land. The petition to require divestment was defeated.

Delegates to the United Methodist Church's 2012 General Conference voted against divesting from three large US companies who advocates say profit from the sale of equipment that enforces Israeli policies that repress Palestinians.

The initial petition called for divestment from Motorola Solutions, Hewlett-Packard and Caterpillar. However the Finance and Administration committee submitted language urging "positive, rather than punitive options," committee chairperson Jessica Vargo of East Ohio told the United Methodist News Service.

Other measures involving the Israel-Palestine conflict were approved including one calling on the United Methodist Board of pension and Health Benefits to explore "serious peace-making strategies in Israel and Palestine, including positive economic and financial investment in Palestine."

A measure that was approved denounced the Israeli occupation and called for "all nations to prohibit the import of products made by companies in Israeli settlements on Palestinian land."

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