Daily Israel Report

Church Divestment Campaign Loses Steam

The campaign to convince Protestant churches to divest from companies that make products Israel uses in Judea, Samaria and Gaza is slowing down, according to Reuters News Agency.

By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 10/14/2005, 11:50 AM / Last Update: 10/14/2005, 12:41 AM

The anti-Israel divestment campaign threatens billions of dollars of investments in Israel by international companies. It gathered steam after the Presbyterian Church of the United States voted last year to begin slimming down its $8 billion portfolio in companies with investments in Israel.

One of the prime targets has been Caterpillar Inc., which sells heavy equipment to Israel’s defense establishment. Other targets are Citigroup, United Technologies, Motorola, and ITT Industries.

"No church in the United States except the Presbyterians has voted for divestment," Reuters quoted David Elcott, an officer for the American Jewish Committee. He said the campaign was moving forward in the media more than it is in reality.

Both the Episcopal Church in the U.S. and the United Church of Christ have rejected the divestment proposal.

The Presbyterian Church has not yet carried out its decision to get rid of investments in targeted companies, and a church spokesman told Reuters that "we're not in a hurry." He explained that divestment only is a last resort, depending on whether Israel carries out further expulsions of Jewish residents from Judea and Samaria.

Rev. William Harter, one of the leaders against the divestment campaign, was quoted as saying that there is growing pressure to rescind last year's disinvestment vote.