C017 A Just Peace in the Holy Land

Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church direct the Corporate Social Responsibility Committee to identify by July 1, 2019 those companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands or whose products or actions support the infrastructure of the occupation and to place such companies so identified on its “no-buy” list; and be it further

Resolved, That the General Convention direct the Investment Committee to divest from any investments it might have in such companies and urge the Church Pension Group (CPG) to take similar action; and be it further

Resolved, That the General Convention direct Executive Council to disseminate to Episcopalians a list of products manufactured in Israeli settlements in the West Bank and marketed in the United States; and be it further

Resolved, That the General Convention encourage Episcopalians to avoid investing in such companies or buying such products.

Explanation

This resolution is predicated on grounds that are moral and legal.
Joining our voice to those of other Christian denominations against the oppression and apartheid endured by Palestinians on a daily basis would add greatly to the growing moral pressure on Israel and, not incidentally, enhance the reputation of the Episcopal Church. In doing so, we would respond to the pleas for economic pressure contained in the 2005 “Call from Palestinian Civic Society” and in the 2009 “Kairos Palestine Document” of Palestinian Christians. Most importantly, we would fulfill our baptismal vow to “seek justice and respect the dignity of every human being.”
The main obstacles to such action have been the justified feelings of guilt within the Christian community with regard to the Holocaust, the efforts by the Israeli Government and some American Jewish groups to equate economic pressure on the Israeli Government with anti-Semitism, and threats by some American Jewish groups to cut off the ecumenical dialogue, if we take such action. We in the Christian West must atone for the sin of the Holocaust, but, in vowing “Never Again,” insist that its memory not blind us to injustices in the Middle East or elsewhere. We must also reject the sin of anti-Semitism and affirm Israel’s right to live in peace within secure borders. We must, moreover, strive to maintain a lively, honest dialogue with our Jewish neighbors, celebrating our shared Judeo-Christian heritage, but ever mindful that friends do not seek to silence one another nor enable bad behavior by remaining silent. Breaking the silence sometimes demands courage. In seeking ours, we honor the courage of the growing number of Jews in both Israel and the United States critical of the policies of the Israeli government, opposed to the occupation, and supportive of economic pressure as a legitimate non-violent means to promote an end to the occupation and a just peace.
In terms of law and policy, the occupation and settlements are considered illegal by the international community and our own government. Nonetheless, in fifty years of occupation, the Israeli settler population in the West Bank and East Jerusalem has increased by five percent per year and, in the last decade, from 350,000 to 600,000. These “facts on the ground” have eroded the prospects for a two-state solution preferred by the Episcopal Church and the United States Government, diminished the hopes for peace, and demonstrated that “corporate engagement” and “positive investment” have failed. It is time to try new methods to persuade Israel to do what is in its own best interest.
One such method, which has proven its efficacy in combatting apartheid in South Africa and racial segregation and anti-LGBT legislation in our own country, is economic pressure in the long tradition of non-violent resistance to injustice. With regard to Israel/Palestine, various forms of such pressure have already been adopted by the World Council of Churches; the Methodist, Presbyterian, Mennonite, and Lutheran Churches; the United Church of Christ; and secular organizations such as the European Union.
Investigation and consultation with appropriate TEC officials have shown there are no budgetary implications to the resolution. Accordingly, the resolution contains no budgetary resolve.