The Advocacy Committee for Racial Ethnic Concerns (ACREC) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has issued an open letter to General Assembly Moderator Heath Rada, Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons and Presbyterian Mission Agency Executive Director Linda Valentine “applauding” the recent General Assembly’s decision to divest from three U.S. companies it determined “is profiting from the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.
The hotly-debated measure – which passed by a vote of 310-303 – calls for divestment from Hewlett-Packard, Caterpillar and Motorola Solutions. It has been widely misinterpreted as constituting divestment from Israel itself – a charge refuted by both the General Assembly itself and by denominational leaders since the mid-June vote by the 221st General Assembly in Detroit.
The full text of the ACREC letter:
12 September 2014
RE: Open Letter Regarding the 221st General Assembly (2014) Divestment Action
It is with deep concern that we, the members of the Advocacy Committee for Racial Ethnic Concerns, have recognized Israel’s practices and actions against the Palestinian people, both Christians and Muslims, and Israel’s physical changes to the land and infrastructure of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and its blockade and aerial bombardment of the Gaza Strip constitute (as defined by the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (RSICC))elements of crimes against humanity.
We, therefore, applaud the 221st General Assembly’s (2014) action to divest from U. S. companies that profit from the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories.
This action was in accord with the resolution (11-11) to recognize the prophetic call in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), passed by the 220th General Assembly (2012) which recognizes “. . . with joy and thanks to God the historic stance of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in pursuit of justice as a central mandate of our church, a mandate that calls us to upholdthe need to be faithfully partisan in situations of injustice and to speak truth to power,wherever necessary as we pursue justice, without fear of retribution or the delay of deflection.”
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) call for the boycott of products made in illegal Israeli coloniesand the action of divestment from companies profiting from the occupation of Palestinian territories are but a small step in worldwide recognition that things must change in Palestine/Israel. The PC(USA) General Assembly actions are a light onto nations.
Rev. Raafat Zaki, ACREC Chair, National Middle Eastern Presbyterian Caucus Chair and
Representative to ACREC (Grace Presbytery)
Elder Debra L. Battise-Kleinman, CRE, ACREC Vice-Chair, Native American Coordinating
Committee Chair (New Covenant Presbytery)
Rev. Samson Tso, ACREC Secretary, National Asian Presbyterian Caucus Representative to
ACREC (New York City Presbytery)
Rev. James R. Ephraim, Jr. (The Presbytery of Sheppards and Lapsley)
Rev. Dr. David Esterline (Blackhawk Presbytery)
Elder Nahida Halaby Gordon (Muskingum Valley Presbytery)
Pastor Kevin Johnson, ACSWP liaison to ACREC (Presbytery of Detroit)
Pastor Mark S. Jones, Sr., CRE, National Black Presbyterian Caucus Representative to ACREC
(Presbytery of the Pacific)
Rev. Joo H. Kim (Twin Cities Presbytery)
Rev. Gwendolyn D. Magby (Tropical Florida Presbytery)
Elder Ricardo Moreno, National Presbyterian Hispanic Latino Caucus Representative to
ACREC (San Gabriel Presbytery)
Rev. Lilia Ramirez-Jimenez (Presbytery of the Palisades)