The news about the church’s General Assembly decision to divest from companies doing business with Israel wasn't, frankly, a bombshell. It was expected.
The church’s General Assembly voted by a razor-thin margin — 310-303 — to sell stock in Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions, companies which supporters of the resolution said were involved in demolition and surveillance activities against Palestinians in the West Bank. Two years ago, the General Assembly rejected a similar divestment proposal by two votes.The usual troublemakers (that call themselves "activists", of course) usually prevail in cases like these, when the majority of voting members simply succumb to the vociferous minority with a cause. As it happens, the main motive of the voters is to put an end to endless speechifying and verbal assaults by the said activists, while the voters themselves don't care and couldn't care less about the subject of the vote.
Of course, there is much to say for what some members of the church feel:
“We are already losing control of our message. Divestment will not end the conflict and bring peace. Divestment will bring dissension,” said resolution opponent Frank Allen, of the Presbytery of Central Florida.But many in the upper layers of the church don't mind the dissension. After all, some of their best friends are Jewish...
Heath Rada, moderator for the church meeting, said immediately after the vote that “in no way is this a reflection of our lack of love for our Jewish brothers and sisters.”Yeah, where did I hear this already? Anyway, to better express their love to their Jewish brothers and sisters, some leaders of Presbyterian church have sponsored the infamous “Zionism Unsettled”, "A how-to guide for class leaders and focused discussion prompts make it an ideal resource for multi-week exploratory education programs in churches, mosques, synagogues, and all classroom settings." I am not sure that many synagogues will fork out the money for the brochure, but many mosques will definitely scoop it up. Judging by the wholehearted approval by David Duke*, this is just the ticket...
Oh well, enough about love, let's proceed to mundane matters, such as (to choose a few) publicity, income, investments etc. You see, being a committed atheist, I confess to general ignorance in all matters religious. So I have done me some googling on the church in question. Apparently, Presbyterian church isn't doing so well, not in US of A in any case. Here is a bit of info on the subject:
Membership in the Presbyterian Church (USA) declined by more than 100,000 last year, according to the 2012 statistics released recently by the denomination’s Office of the General Assembly. It is the single largest annual membership decline since the PCUSA was formed in 1983.
This doesn't bode well for the outfit. Of course, any effort that increases publicity is welcome to the management, and what better than a noisy scandal about a BDS move? To some members of the church it seems to be worth a bit of internal dissent, I guess. And who knows - it may bring some much needed petrodollars from you know who in the future.
And now to a purely technical matter. The ToI article, linked in the beginning of this post, shows a curious picture with an even more curious caption:
|Several attendants of the Presbyterian General Assembly in Detroit form a prayer circle and sing for Israeli-Arab peace. Two are seen wearing shirts which read: “Another Jew supporting divestment.”|
(*) And no, the Presbyterian site doesn't include David Duke's glowing testimony for some unknown reason, so I was forced to link to the original.
Update: NGO Monitor published a report: The Role of Antisemitism in the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s Decision to Support Divestment. I am not very hot on shouting "antisemitism" on every occasion. But read the report, at least the KEY POINTS part.