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JCPA petition appeals to Presbyterians on divestment

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WASHINGTON (JTA) — Close to 9,000 American Jews have so far signed a petition calling on the Presbyterian Church to reject proposals that would divest from three companies doing business with Israel. 

The petition, launched Monday and spearheaded by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the Israel Action Network, will be sent ahead the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s biennial General Assembly at the end of June. 

During the assembly, the church is expected to vote on a number of resolutions that would divest the church from Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola Solutions, three companies that conduct business with Israel. 

At least one resolution also under consideration would reject such divestment and more broadly repudiate the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

The JCPA letter says a divestment policy would be harmful to Israel and the relationship between Jews and Christians. 

“We understand and respect your calling to invest in a morally responsible manner. A policy of divestment to pressure Israel, however, runs counter to these goals. Such a one-sided approach damages the relationship between Jews and Christians that has been nurtured for decades,” the letter stated. 

In May, the general conference of the United Methodist Church rejected a similar divestment measure that would cut off investments with Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions and Hewlett-Packard.

In that case, JCPA organized a letter from 1,300 rabbis. A similar rabbinical letter is being prepared ahead of the Presbyterian assembly.

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