PITTSBURGH, July 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. Presbyterian Church decided against divestment from companies supplying Israel with equipment to enforce control over Palestinians, officials said.
A Thursday General Assembly vote -- 333 to 331, with two abstentions -- rejected the so-called B.D.S. movement encouraging people to boycott, divest from and sanction companies to apply economic leverage and encourage Israel to return occupied lands to the Palestinians, The New York Times reported.
"What divestment will achieve is this: We will add a whisper soon lost in the storm, but we will further the divisions in our church when we have our own serious problems to address, and we will precipitate divisions with the synagogues within our communities whom we work with frequently on a variety of issues," said Arthur Shippee, a delegate from New England. "This will be perceived as picking on Israel, and how could it not?"
The general assembly was considering divestment against Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions and Hewlett-Packard. Caterpillar provides bulldozers to demolish Palestinian homes, Motorola provides surveillance equipment to monitor Palestinian villages and Hewlett-Packard supplies scanners used at checkpoints, the Times reported.
"The Palestinians aren't asking us for a check, sisters and brothers. The Palestinians are asking us for justice. They're asking us for dignity. How can you write a check to a people who don't control their own water?" said Tim Simpson, a delegate from Jacksonville, Fla., who voted in favor of divestment.