LONDON (JTA) — The Church of England divested from the American company Caterpillar.
The divestment announced Monday took place in December, according to Church officials. The announcement said the divestment was for purely economic reasons, though the Church has been urged to divest due to the company’s involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
It came just before the publication of a letter to the British Guardian newspaper in which some Church clergy condemned the Church’s "unethical" investment policy.
The controversy over the Church of England’s investment in Caterpillar has been ongoing for years, with some in the Church calling for divestment from the company that has been selling bulldozers and mining equipment to Israel used in house demolitions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The Church said the withdrawal of its $3.3 million was not on political or ethical grounds.
Twenty-three clergy members signed the letter to the Guardian, which had been scheduled to be printed before the announcement but ultimately was not published.
It reads: “We believe that given the events in Gaza as well as the continued illegal occupation of whole swathes of Palestinian land and the illegal land grabs by settlers, supported by the Israeli Government, that the Church of England must make good on its policy of disinvestment and withdraw its investments from those who profit from the misery of millions of Palestinians immediately."