“Efforts toward positive investment in Israeli-Palestinian peace continue to move forward…” This was the latest statement heralded by Presbyterians for Middle East Peace (PFMEP) in its ongoing efforts to delegitimize courageous efforts of groups exposing the immoral Israeli occupation and its ongoing program of ethnic cleansing.
“Pro-Zionist organizations like PFMEP pretend that there is no such thing as ‘negative investment,’ and that all investments in Palestine are good and positive,” said Rev. Jeff DeYoe, Advocacy Chair of IPMN, The Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church, (USA). “Once again,” he said, “We need to reiterate the reality and truth about negative investment in Palestine and how we are complicit in Israel’s immoral occupation if we profit from it.”
The IPMN joins other pro-justice groups and calls for an end to all forms of negative investment in Palestine, by the public and private sector. The United States gives Israel $3.1B in military aid every year, as compared to $2.4B in U.S. military aid that is divided among 80 other nations in the world. U.S. aid is deposited into an Israeli interest-bearing account, early in the year.
The money Israel receives supports its military and helps continue the nonstop building of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, subsidizing mostly Western Jews who emigrate to Israel. In support of these settlements, Palestinian natural resources are usurped, polluting human waste trickles down off the hills the settlements to the Palestinian lands below, and the settlers become increasingly intransigent. And our funds help restrict the movement of Palestinians in their own land in the most draconian ways.
This is the reality we as taxpayers are making possible through negative investment by our public sector. Here are only two examples of negative investment by our private sector:
1) Caterpillar sells D-9 bulldozers to the Israeli Defense Forces, which then has them weaponized by an Israeli company. These bulldozers are also used to destroy West Bank Palestinian homes, steal Palestinian natural resources, and build the barriers that not only separate Palestine from Israel, but Palestinians from Palestinians, preventing the free-flow of goods that would support the Palestinian economy. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), among other churches, profits from being a shareholder in this company.
2) Hewlett-Packard sells hardware to the Israeli military and helps them enforce the Occupation. HP is instrumental in the Israeli military’s operational communications, logistics, and planning including the naval blockade of the Gaza strip. The company is also provides biometric scanning equipment (hand scanning as ID) to monitor only Palestinians at checkpoints inside the West Bank in order to restrict Palestinian movement. This is outright racial profiling. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), among other churches, profits from being a shareholder in this company.
In 2012, the Presbyterian Church (USA) was prophetic in calling for boycott of all settlement products. It is past time that the church shows the same leadership and places those companies engaged in negative investment in Palestine on the PC(USA) “DO NOT INVEST” list.
Our continued negative investment in occupation and human rights abuse prevents Palestine from becoming a productive member of the global community of nations. The “positive investment plan” promoted by Sec. of State Kerry and groups who are celebrating it, like PFMEP, is dangerous because it uses divide-and-conquer tactics with the Palestinian justice movement.
“What’s really going on here is an attempt to buy Palestinian cooperation and silence,” said Prof. Nahida Halaby Gordon, a Presbyterian elder from Ohio with Palestinian roots. “In order to make the unjust status quo permanent and ‘normal,’ we are promoting investment in Palestine and telling the Palestinians, ‘Take the money and be quiet…’”
The Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church, (USA)
In joyful obedience to the call of Christ, and in solidarity with churches and our other partners in the Middle East, this network covenants to engage, consolidate, nourish, and channel the energy in the Presbyterian Church (USA) toward the goal of a just peace in Israel /Palestine by facilitating education, promoting partnerships, and coordinating advocacy. Our network speaks TO the Church not FOR the Church.