New York, NY, May 3, 2012 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the United Methodist Church (UMC) rejection of an unfair anti-Israel resolution that called for divestment from three companies doing business with the Jewish State. At the same time the League expressed concern over the adoption of a measure recommending the boycott of products manufactured in Israeli settlements.
The vote took place on May 2 during the UMC’s quadrennial general conference, which is being held this year in Tampa, Florida. In 2008, the UMC also rejected an Israel divestment resolution.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
Despite an intense campaign by a small group of anti-Israel activists, the United Methodist Church acted responsibly by once again rejecting a resolution to divest Church holdings in companies doing business in Israel. We trust this second failure by divestment activists makes clear that the UMC rejects the divisive anti-Israel approach of divestment, while seeking constructive ways to promote Israeli-Palestinian peace and to promote Palestinian quality of life.
It is sad that some in the Methodist Church are preoccupied with demonizing Israel at a time when we need real religious and moral leadership to deal with pressing issues around the globe. In an imperfect world surely there are many, many other humanitarian concerns and crises that demand more immediate attention.
It is disturbing that the Church approved a measure to boycott products from settlements, an essentially anti-Israel approach which promotes the punishment of only one side in this complicated conflict. Positive economic investment in peace is the fruitful way toward reconciliation and to bolster the confidence of both parties in the conflict.
One resolution referenced the Kairos Palestine Document, a 2009 statement authored and endorsed by prominent Palestinian Christian leaders which supports boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel, praises violent attacks against Israel, and employs religious and theological arguments to undermine the legitimacy of Israel and Judaism.
A United Methodist Church committee had originally considered a proposal calling for all United Methodist general boards and agencies to divest promptly from Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions, and Hewlett Packard until they end their involvement in the Israeli occupation. However, by a committee vote of 50-24, with three abstentions, that motion was amended to exclude divestment, and replace it with positive economic investment before being presented to the conference delegation. The amended version read: “The 2012 General Conference calls on the General Board of Pensions and Health Benefits to explore serious peacemaking strategies in Israel and Palestine including positive economic and financial investment in Palestine.”
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.