Members vote during the United Church of Christ general synod 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo courtesy of United Church of Christ via Flickr

United Church of Christ votes to divest from Israeli companies in occupied territories

Members vote during the United Church of Christ general synod 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo courtesy of United Church of Christ via Flickr

Members vote during the United Church of Christ General Synod 2015 in Cleveland. Photo courtesy of United Church of Christ via Flickr

(RNS) The nearly 1 million-member United Church of Christ voted overwhelmingly Tuesday (June 30) to divest from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation and to boycott products of Israeli companies based in the West Bank, a move that follows a divestment vote taken by the Presbyterian Church (USA) last spring.

The 508-124 vote of the UCC's General Synod marks a victory for a broad international movement that aims to pressure Israel into extracting itself from Palestinian lands by a strategy known as BDS -- Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions -- and could foreshadow similar resolutions now being considered by the Episcopal Church, which is holding its General Convention this week, and the Mennonite Church USA, whose convention began on Tuesday (June 30).

"In approving this resolution, the UCC has demonstrated its commitment to justice and equality,” said the Rev. Mitri Raheb, a Christian Palestinian pastor in Jordan and the Holy Land, who traveled to Cleveland for the synod.

“For Palestinians living under occupation or facing systematic discrimination as citizens of Israel, enduring the destruction of their homes and businesses, the theft of their land for settlements, and living under blockade and siege in Gaza, this action sends a strong signal that they are not alone, and that there are churches who still dare to speak truth to power and stand with the oppressed.”

Israel took the West Bank and Gaza during the 1967 Six-Day War. Though it has returned other lands, it maintains the occupation of the West Bank and a blockade of Gaza, which is ruled by Hamas.

Though one Jewish group, Jewish Voices for Peace, has actively promoted divestment resolutions under consideration by Protestant denominations this summer, mainstream Jewish groups overwhelmingly blast the strategy as one-sided and oblivious to Palestinians' willingness to resort to terrorism.

“The UCC’s one-sided view of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process singles out Israel and, shockingly, ignores any Palestinian accountability,” said Rabbi Noam Marans, the American Jewish Committee's director of interreligious and intergroup relations.

“Blatantly absent from the 2015 UCC resolutions is any mention of Hamas, the terrorist group that still controls Gaza and instigated last summer’s war with Israel by firing thousands of rockets and missiles and building an extensive tunnel network to infiltrate Israel to harm and kill Israeli civilians,” Marans said.

The UCC this week also voted to boycott games and merchandise of the Washington, D.C., NFL team, until the "Redskins" change their name, which many church members and Native Americans consider racist.



  1. The UCC?

    Sound like a bunch of scumbags.

    If you disarm the Palestinians, there will be peace. If you disarm the Israeli’s there will be slaughtered Israeli’s.

    No, now that I think about it, the UCC are scumbags.

    Progressives right?


  2. This is purely political. This decision has nothing to do with Christianity and everything to do with siding with Israel’s enemies. We need to support Israel and pray for the peace of Israel, and share the gospel of peace with them. Jews and Gentiles need Jesus. We need to be forgiven of our sins. Jesus is the only provision that God has given whereby we must be saved. Receive Him as Savior and Lord, turn away from sin, and follow Him as He leads. God Bless

  3. I am ashamed to have been a member of, and relieved to have left, the intolerant, anti-Semitic, hateful United Church of Christ

  4. Israel: State of occupation and racist The civilized world have to put an end to its occupation and racism

  5. Of course, a vote is a vote and you are free… in this country. If you were in Israel, you would also be free to vote and support the political party of your choice.

    Yet, if you were in any of the countries or regions surrounding Israel, you would have almost no freedom. Your churches would be torched as is happening regularly in Egypt, you could be arrested and even executed for spreading your faith in Saudi Arabia, and you could be burned alive in ISIS-controlled areas of Syria and Iraq. In Pakistan, you could be unfairly accused by a Muslim with a grudge, and arrested and all your property confiscated. In Afghanistan you could be shot.

    Yet, it is Israel that you target, the one country in the region that is friendly to Christians, that is a responsible steward of the holy sites, that is a democracy dealing with a difficult and violent Arab population partly on “occupied” land.

    Know that your “boycott” does NOTHING to advance the peace.
    Shalom and God have mercy…

  6. Print a list of who voted for this si we know which ucc church supported it

  7. Thank you
    I don’t understand why Christian people cannot get that.
    We are told by God, we are not to turn our back on Isreal.

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