Middle East Committee affirms study of boycott, divestment and sanctions

June 22, 2016

Laurie Furr-Vancini listens during the Middle East Issues Committee meeting.

Laurie Furr-Vancini listens during the Middle East Issues Committee meeting. —Michael Whitman


The validity and use of the so-called “boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS)” tools as a way to bring peace dominated the work Tuesday of the committee on Middle East Issues of the 222nd General Assembly (2016) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

In the end, the committee voted 51-25 to recommend that the full assembly reject an overture calling for a “boycott of all products manufactured and sold by HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise until the companies cease to profit from non-peaceful pursuits and violations of human rights in Israel/Palestine.”

Then after learning that realty company RE/MAX LLC had responded favorably to concerns that it was benefiting, through its franchisees, by selling property in West Bank settlements, the committee turned around a resolution calling on the company to sever ties with those franchisees, instead urging it to “do everything within its legal and moral power to stop facilitating the sale and rental of property in Israeli settlement colonies,” and commended RE/MAX for its favorable response after discussions with PC(USA) representatives.

The committee, after a lengthy debate, recommended the adoption of a recommendation of prayerful study of “the call from Palestinian civil society for  boycott, divestment and sanctions against the state of Israel.” It was adopted only after amendments were added to ensure that those who oppose the BDS movement were also involved in the study.

The amendment was in reaction to a commissioner’s resolution calling for the denomination to end outright any affiliation or support of BDS, which it called “this divisive coalition.”

“This item is about education,” said Jon Forbes, a Young Adult Advisory Delegate from the Presbytery of Northeast Georgia. “It does not take a stance on BDS, but instead seeks to help us gain greater understanding, so that we can make smarter and more educated decisions. I’m a firm believer that there is no such thing as too much knowledge.”

  1. Please tell me why your assembly is pro BDS and against the holy land of Israel which includes Judea and Samaria. From now on, you should refer to the proper biblical names of the territory, not occupation. Please tell me, are the states of Texas and California occupied territories originally owned by Mexico? If so, you should support a BDS against the USA. I don't see that happening.

    by Barry Miller

    March 13, 2018

  2. I'm so confused. Has this BDS been changed again? I'm totally pro Isreal and do not want to be involved with a church that is going against Isreal Thank you for any information (recent) on this subject.

    by Patricia Denny

    July 2, 2017

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