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Key Facts on Screens and Divestment
• UMKR is responding to a call from Palestinian Christians, who have asked us to support the struggle of all Palestinians for freedom through nonviolent means like divestment
• Many Jewish groups support selective divestment from the occupation, which is UMKR’s goal. UMKR has never asked for divestment from Israel. We seek divestment only from occupation.
• John Wesley said, “Beware, lastly, of imagining you shall obtain the end without using the means conducive to it.” Divestment, screening, and boycott are three means to end occupation.
• Divestment and boycott are already causing companies to leave the illegal settlements. UMKR has profiledeleven such companies; an Israeli group has done a report on others.
• Divestment from the occupation is not a change in policy. It is an attempt to align
our investments with existing United Methodist policy, which has long opposed
• The UMC has repeatedly passed “Opposition to Israeli Settlements in Palestinian Land.”
• In 2012, the General Conference called on all nations to ban the import of
• Since GC 2012, settlement building has skyrocketed. The UM Pension Board’s holdings in the settlements have also increased, with twelve new settlement companies added.
• The Pension Board now holds stock in some of the very companies whose products the church has asked all nations to ban.
• UMKR welcomed the significant step of the Pension Board’s exclusion of future investment in five banks financing settlements, plus divestment from three settlement companies. It regrets that two more settlement firms were added at the same time.
A screen could have avoided this.
• Pensions’ website has stated that Caterpillar’s “actions expose Caterpillar, and by extension its shareholders, to reputational and financial risk.” (2011) Divestment can
often protect fiduciaries.
• The 2012 General Conference asked all church boards and agencies to consider economic sanctions for firms refusing to adopt the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
• Caterpillar Corporation has refused a request from our Pension Board to adopt these.
It may do so before the conference begins, proving that the real prospect of divestment can bring change.
• Through the Foreign Military Sales program, Caterpillar provides 50-ton military bulldozers with gun turrets which are armored in Israel with the help of Caterpillar’s sole Israeli representative, ITE. ITE also provides employees to service the equipment for the Israeli army during battle.
• If we want to end violence, we must support nonviolent solutions that give hope. Divestment and boycott are nonviolent means used by the church in the past to
• In the 1980s, the church divested $77 million from 17 companies involved with apartheid in South Africa. It was only when churches and other organizations began to divest and boycott that apartheid finally ended. Archbishop Tutu and others have called Israel’s policies apartheid.
• The time for praying for peace and paying for occupation is over!
Resources GENERAL CONFERENCE 2016
Dec. 2016 – UMKR has a (slightly) new name: United Methodists for Kairos Response
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