April 10, 2013
(Submitted by the Divestment Task Force, the Board of Church and Society, and Open Table of Christ United Methodist Church)
WHEREAS Palestinian Christians have implored Christians everywhere to put actions behind their words to end Israel's occupation of Palestinian land, which is destroying their lives;  and
WHEREAS, every United Methodist General Conference since 1996 has opposed the Israeli settlements built on occupied land, and the International Court of Justice has declared they are illegal;  and
WHEREAS, the 2012 General Conference asked “all companies that profit from and/or support settlements through their business activities to examine these and stop any business that contributes to serious violations of international law, promotes systemic discrimination or otherwise supports [Israel’s] ongoing military occupation,”  and
WHEREAS, although the United Methodist Church has for decades opposed the occupation, the New England Conference still holds stock in some of the companies which sustain that occupation;  and
WHEREAS, Palestinian human rights are violated by companies that sustain illegal settlements, segregated roads, checkpoints, the separation wall, home demolitions and other realities of the occupation inside the West Bank; and
WHEREAS, leaders from fifteen churches and religious organizations, including Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, President of the UM Council of Bishops, have written to the US Congress requesting an end to unconditional U.S. military aid to Israel, because human rights abuses are being committed against Palestinians with this US aid; and
WHEREAS, through these aid programs, Caterpillar knowingly provides the Israeli military with equipment used to demolish Palestinian homes and uproot Palestinian orchards, Motorola Solutions knowingly provides perimeter systems used to guard illegal settlements built on Palestinian land, and Hewlett-Packard knowingly equips checkpoints that limit Palestinians’ mobility within their own territory and has direct business relationships with at least two settlements; and
WHEREAS, United Methodists should not profit from these violations of human rights; and
WHEREAS, United Methodist general agencies, the New England Conference Divestment Task Force,  other annual conferences, and ecumenical partners have asked Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola Solutions (formerly Motorola), to stop their business activities which contribute to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land, and have engaged these companies for years on this issue with no substantial effect;  and
WHEREAS, the UMC Book of Discipline discourages investment in companies “that directly or indirectly” support the violation of human rights and encourages “shareholder advocacy, including advocacy of corporate disinvestment;”  and
WHEREAS, three United Methodist annual conferences – New York, Northern Illinois and West Ohio – have divested their conference-held stock in companies involved with Israel’s occupation, without any accusations of fiduciary impropriety; and
WHEREAS, divestment is consistent with the Church’s call to use non-violent means of securing a just peace for the peoples of Israel and Palestine; and
WHEREAS, all UMC missionaries serving in the Holy Land support divestment of church funds from companies that sustain the occupation;  and
WHEREAS, the New England Annual Conference in 2011 endorsed and forwarded a resolution to the General Conference asking that United Methodist general agencies divest from Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola Solutions because of their involvement with Israel’s occupation;  and
WHEREAS, this resolution was also endorsed by the General Board of Church and Society, the General Board of Global Ministries, six major United Methodist ethnic caucuses and six other annual conferences;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that all New England Conference boards and agencies will divest in a timely but prudent manner from any stock holdings in Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola Solutions, companies which have been engaged repeatedly by United Methodist agencies and annual conferences on this issue, retaining no more than one share in each to facilitate communication, and foregoing further purchases until these companies end their involvement in the Israeli occupation; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the New England Conference calls for all United Methodists to prayerfully consider corporate involvement in the occupation when making investment decisions; and
BE IT ALSO RESOLVED that the New England Conference encourages United Methodists to partner with Jews, Christians, Muslims, and other people of conscience who are working for an end to the occupation and true security for all people in Israel and Palestine.
1. Kairos Palestine. “A Moment of Truth: A Word of Faith, Hope, and Love from the Heart of Palestinian Suffering” www.kairospalestine.ps/sites/default/Documents/English.pdf December 2009.
2. International Court of Justice in The Hague, in its July 9, 2004 advisory opinion. www.icj-cij.org/docket/index.php?pr=71&code=mwp&p1=3&p2=4&p3=6&case=131&k=5a
3. Holy Land Task Force, Gen. Conf. Statements, https://www.umhltf.org/United_Methodist_Church.html
4. Holy Land Task Force. “Companies of Concern” www.umhltf.org/Companies_of_Concern.html
5. The Task Force was established after Resolution 204 was passed by the New England Annual Conference, June 11, 2005. See www.neumc.org/divest under Other Resources and Information.
6. UM Kairos Response web site. www.kairosresponse.org/Corporate_Engagement_04-11.html
7. The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church 2008. “Socially Responsible Investments” Paragraph 716 (Abingdon Press), 492. See Part V, Chapter 5 in www.nyac.com/pages/detail/1755
8. As of the 2012 General Conference, the four United Methodist missionaries serving in the Holy Land have stated their support for divesting from companies that help sustain the occupation. They are Rev. Alex Awad, Rev. Kristen Brown, Janet Lahr Lewis, and Tina Whitehead.
9. http://www.neumc.org/console/files/oFiles_Library_XZXLCZ/ACTIONSApproved11NOlinesJune17_HDZHJHQL.pdf, page 34, Petition To Align UMC Investments With Resolutions On Israel/Palestine.
10. Reference www.neumc.org/divest for companies supporting the occupation identified by the Divestment Task Force, New England Conference, UMC.