TASK FORCE ISSUES DIVESTMENT RECOMMENDATIONS
United Methodists Urged to Divest From 20 Companies Supporting in a Significant Way Israel�s Occupation of Palestinian Land
LAWRENCE, Mass�(June 21, 2007)� The Divestment Task Force of the New England Conference of The United Methodist Church has issued a report including recommendations for divestment from twenty companies identified as supporting the Israeli occupation in Palestine.
The Divestment Task Force was created to implement Resolution 204, which was passed during the 2005 New England Annual Conference session (RS-204: Resolution on Divesting from Companies that are Supporting in a Significant Way the Israeli Occupation of Palestinian Territories).
Resolution 204 of the New England Conference followed on the heels of the 2004 General Conference of the United Methodist Church, which passed Resolution 312 calling for an end to the Israeli occupation. �Selective divestment is consistent with the United Methodist commitment to a just and sustainable peace for all the people of the Middle East,� commented William P. Aldrich, chairperson of the Divestment Task Force. �Resolution 204 and the work of the Divestment Task Force in New England support the General Conference resolution and offer a tangible way of working toward this goal.�
Over the past two years, the task force has done extensive research and examined many companies to determine whether they support in a significant way the Israeli occupation. Each identified company was contacted in writing with the concerns of the task force, and given a defined period (60 days) to respond. The findings include a list of twenty companies from which United Methodist individuals, churches and investment managers in the New England Conference are encouraged to divest.
Aldrich does not expect the United Methodist divestment activity to significantly affect Israel�s economy or the bottom line of the companies listed. �This is not the goal,� he stated. �The goal is to make all United Methodists and other Americans aware of their relationship to companies that benefit from the Israeli occupation, and to give them an opportunity to withdraw from such relationships so they are not participants in human rights violations that go against Christian principles and international law.�
Based on its research and findings, the task force report recommends divestment from 20 companies. The company listing, as well as details on each company and the reasons for the divestment recommendation, can be found at www.neumc.org/divest. The web site also includes the original resolution, a full copy of the report and recommendations of the Divestment Task Force, additional supporting documentation and resources, including statements from Jewish organizations in support of divestment.
�Ending the Israeli occupation is a stated goal of The United Methodist Church,� said Bishop Peter D. Weaver of the New England Conference. �This report provides concrete information that can be used by New England Methodists in working toward that goal.�
About the New England Conference.
The New England Conference includes 550 United Methodist and federated congregations in Eastern Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island - and one in Vermont. The offices of the New England Conference are located at 276 Essex Street, PO Box 249, Lawrence, MA 01842-0449, and can be reached at 978-682-7676 or on the web at www.neumc.org.
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