A Midwest region of the United Methodist Church will consider urging divestment from Caterpillar Inc. and other companies for their sales to Israel.At the Illinois Great Rivers region conference of the church on June 6-9, the group will explore a resolution calling for “phased, selective divestment” from such companies. The region covers the southern two-thirds of Illinois.Caterpillar sells heavy equipment to Israel that resolution supporters claim is being used to demolish the homes of Palestinians.The Rev. Danita Parra, one of 15 resolution sponsors, said Caterpillar is “profiting from illegal demolition of Palestinian homes, destruction of Palestinian economy and confiscation of Palestinian land.” Parra told the Peoria Journal Star that “to say we are standing for peace and justice in the Middle East conflict and to have our pensions invested in a way as to not support that position is wrong.”Susan Katz, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Peoria, countered that “a policy of divestment polarizes people and does not encourage dialogue or discussion. Efforts should instead be guided towards reconciliation and common ground.”The Virginia and New England regional Methodist organizations are also on record as urging divestment from Caterpillar and other companies that allegedly profit from Israel’s occupation.
Illinois Methodists to consider divestment