Cleveland, OH – July 1, 2015 The Israel/Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) of the Presbyterian Church (USA) congratulates the United Church of Christ (UCC) for boycotting and divesting from the Israeli occupation. The UCC’s 30th General Synod voted by an overwhelming majority to divest from five companies profiting from the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory and to boycott all settlement goods. Delegates also recommended Kairos Palestine for prayerful study.
After the vote, Tarek Abuata, a member of the Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace, commented, “God is still speaking. And as a Palestinian, I know that the UCC today heard and acted on His words of justice for the Palestinian and Israeli people.”
Rev. Jeffrey DeYoe, moderator of IPMN noted, “One year ago, when there was much less clarity among Presbyterian rank and file about the oppressive conditions in Palestine, PCUSA commissioners voted by a slim majority to divest from the Israeli occupation. Yesterday, the United Church of Christ voted by an 80% majority to boycott and divest. Clearly the momentum has shifted as more and more people in the U.S. and across the world realize that this oppression and injustice must stop. We also applaud the UCC's clear concern for the well-being of Jewish people in Israel, the United States and elsewhere, even as the church takes this necessary step towards justice.”
American churches are responding loud and clear to the Palestinian call to boycott, divest from, and sanction the illegal occupation of Palestine. The United Church of Christ now joins the Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Methodist Church Board of Pensions, and the Friends Fiduciary Corporation in divesting from the Israeli occupation. It is clear that the movement to divest from the military occupation of Palestinian territory is firmly in the mainstream of American churches. Indeed, BDS, as a non-violent set of tools to resist oppression, is not going away until the occupation and all other human rights abuses against the Palestinian people also go away.
“I have no doubt change is coming to Palestine. I’m certain freedom is coming. I’m convinced justice is coming. But be prepared. God might use you and me to make that change, and we become the unexpected places that God uses to bring change to Palestine and abroad,” said the Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb of the Evangelical Christmas Church in Bethlehem, Palestine.
The IPMN joins the United Church of Christ, and the UCC Palestine Israel Network in particular, in continuing to work and pray for a just peace in Israel/Palestine.