WASHINGTON (JTA) — A Presbyterian Middle East advocacy group published a pamphlet aimed at stopping the church from abandoning support for the two-state solution.
“Two States for Two Peoples,” released this week, comes “as activists from the global Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement are working toward persuading the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. to drop its support for the two-state solution when the denomination holds its biennial meeting in Portland, Oregon, in June,” Presbyterians for Middle East Peace said in announcing the book.
The grassroots group was established in the late 2000s to preserve the church’s commitment to the two-state solution in the face of growing anti-Israel activity in the church.
Jewish groups specializing in interfaith dialogue, led by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, worked with Presbyterians for Middle East Peace at the church’s 2012 biennial to successfully deflect a bid to divest the church from three companies that dealt with Israel’s army.
Backers of divestment, however, succeeded in 2014 in getting the church to divest from the three companies, although an amendment to the resolution explicitly rejected BDS, which advances a much broader divestment strategy.
The 2014 debate was characterized by unusual bitterness, precipitated in part by the publication of an anti-Zionist tract by a group within the church that backs divestment.