To our Commissioners at the 220th Presbyterian General Assembly:
At the upcoming GA in Pittsburgh, you will be faced with two distinct choices on Middle East peacemaking. The first is to stay the course and endorse a two-state solution that recognizes the rights and aspirations of both Palestinians and Israelis. The second choice is to have our denomination become part of the global Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) movement. These are distinct choices, and only one can be chosen. We ask you to consider the following:
The PCUSA is called to be an effective, faithful peacemaker in the Middle East and elsewhere. Rather than creating peace, BDS will cause both Palestinians and Israelis to dig deeper into their own positions.
The Mission Responsibility through Investment committee (MRTI) has been working on divestment for eight years, during which time several consecutive General Assemblies have refused to adopt overtures embracing divestment. MRTI has failed to build the case and/or consensus needed for divestment to be approved. It is time to move on.
BDS advocates within the PCUSA have referred to the idea of “investing in peace” as a “myth”. Dialogue, reconciliation, and improving the lives of ordinary Palestinians through economic development must occur for peace to be realized. It is time to fully recognize this. It is the truth, not a “myth”.
Other mainline denominations have rejected divestment. What special insight does the PCUSA possess that these other denominations missed?
We urge all commissioners, and especially those with the responsibility to serve on committee 15, the Middle East committee, to invest as much time as possible hearing different voices and gathering facts. We ask you to read carefully all of the overtures and rationales focusing on the Middle East. We also invite you to visit our website at www.pfmep.org where we have assembled materials that can hopefully help you reach a thoughtful decision.