Press Release

ADL Disappointed by Presbyterian Church’s Decision to Support Divestment from Israel

New York, NY, June 20, 2014 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed deep disappointment at the vote by the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly in favor of a resolution to divest from three American companies who conduct business with Israel. The League said the resolution, which comes in the context of years of hostility by PC(USA) leadership toward Israel, was “out of step with the views of the majority of Presbyterians in the pews” and sends a painful message to American Jews.

The resolution, which was approved in a 310-303 vote earlier today during the church’s General Assembly meeting in Detroit, Michigan, calls for PC(USA) to divest from Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard and Motorola Solutions due to their business dealings with Israel in the West Bank.

“We are greatly disappointed by the vote in favor of divesting from companies doing business with Israel, a move that is out of step with the views of the majority of Presbyterians in the pews at the community level,” said Rabbi David Sandmel, ADL Director of Interfaith Affairs, who attended the conference and was present during the deliberations. “The claim by the PC(USA) that it does not support the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is simply not reflected in this resolution and the overall tone of the discussions.  We recognize, however, that the General Assembly has not concluded and there can be other motions to reverse this result.”

“Over the past ten years, PC(USA) leaders have fomented an atmosphere of open hostility to Israel within the church, promoted a one-sided presentation of the complex realities of the Middle East, and permitted the presentation of a grossly distorted image of the views of the Jewish community,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.  “This resolution sends a painful message to American Jews and threatens the long-standing relationship between the Jewish community and the national Presbyterian Church with whom we have worked closely on many issues of mutual concern.”

ADL expressed gratitude to its partners within PC(USA), including Presbyterians for Middle East Peace, who have worked tirelessly in advocating to fulfill the church’s historic role as peacemakers who bring people together. “They represent the vast majority of Presbyterians, whose views are not reflected by the national leadership or in this regrettable resolution,” said Rabbi Sandmel.