ADL Welcomes Presbyterian Church Vote Rejecting Divestment; Calls Campaign Against Israel 'Biased from Start to Finish'

New York, NY, July 6, 2012 ... The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the Presbyterian Church (USA)'s decision to reject divestment from three companies doing business with Israel, but said it remains deeply concerned at the "vehement anti-Israel sentiment" expressed throughout the debate.

The 220th General Assembly narrowly defeated a resolution to divest from three American companies who, anti-Israel advocates claim, are supporting "the occupation." Delegates meeting in Pittsburgh for the church's bi-annual national conference also rejected a resolution to use "apartheid" language against Israel.

The divestment resolution -- which would have targeted Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions and Hewlett-Packard -- was narrowly defeated by a vote of 333 to 331, with two abstentions. However, the assembly overwhelmingly voted 369-290 to approve a boycott of all Israeli products from the occupied territories, including Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories Beauty Products and all date products of Hadiklaim, the Israel Date Growers Co-Operative Ltd.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

It is a relief that the Presbyterian Church (USA) has once again defeated a counterproductive and biased resolution to divest from companies doing business with Israel. But it is still deeply troubling that the divestment issue was decided on such a narrow vote, and the debate was biased from start to finish with vehement anti-Israel sentiment. It is disturbing that some of the loudest voices representing the Jewish community in all of this were those of fringe groups who do not reflect the perspective of the vast majority of American Jews. 

The failure of the Presbyterian Church's national leadership to engage with the mainstream American Jewish community -- which is composed of both its mainstream religious and communal organizations -- and to ally itself with only extreme-left Jewish voices, continues to demonstrate a fundamental unwillingness by some in the Presbyterian community to recognize those points of view that do not jibe with their own slanted perspectives on the Israel-Palestinian conflict. We still have a long way to go to educate those who would seek to punish only one side -- Israel -- in a truly complex situation.

We applaud and deeply appreciate the great efforts of the many fair-minded and loving Presbyterian friends who have worked so hard to foster understanding between Presbyterians and Jews and who spoke out eloquently in opposition to divestment during the debate. We look forward to continue working with them to help bring peace and repair the world.

The approved Presbyterian Church (USA) resolution to invest in creative positive projects and programs calls for "a process of engagement" that will bring Jews, Christians, and Muslims from the U.S. together for study, travel, and social action; devises a plan of active investment in projects to support collaboration among Christians, Jews, and Muslims and help develop a viable infrastructure for a future Palestinian state; and advocates for educational programs that expose U.S. Christians, Jews, and Muslims to both Palestinians and Israelis. The resolution also instructs the General Assembly Mission Council to "create a process to raise funds to invest in the West Bank."

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.