A full page ad in the New York Times on Thursday, November 21 stated “Presbyterians: We can do better than divestment.” The ad, endorsed by over one hundred leaders of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and sponsored by Presbyterians for a Just and Peaceful Future in the Middle East, is a response to the narrow decision (310-303) by the PC(USA) General Assembly this past summer to divest from three American companies who conduct business with Israel in the West Bank, a decision the ADL deplored.
The ad calls for Presbyterians to “reclaim the church’s role as ‘repairers of the breach’” between themselves and other religious communities, “to reaffirm boldly the church’s commitment to two-state solution,” and “to seek opportunities in Palestine, Israel, and between Israelis and Palestinians for proactive investment.”
Polling data consistently show that “mainline” Protestants overwhelmingly support a safe and secure Israel, even while also being concerned about the situation of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. The efforts at the PC(USA) and other churches to pass divestment resolutions reflect the views of a minority of activists within those churches who take advantage of the structures of those churches to press their agenda.
ADL hopes this ad will promote exactly the kind of respectful discussion and collaboration for which it calls, as well as serve to encourage others within the PC(USA) and other mainline Protestant churches who have considered divestment resolutions to look for constructive initiatives that promote Israeli-Palestinian cooperation and reconciliation.