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US Episcopal Church moves towards divestment from Israeli occupation

An Episcopal Church in US [Daderot/Wikipedia]
An Episcopal Church in US [Daderot/Wikipedia]

The General Convention of the Episcopal Church, with more than 3 million members across the US, has passed a number of resolutions in support of Palestinian rights, including an unprecedented move towards divestment from companies involved in Israeli violations of international law.

At the 79th General Convention, six resolutions on Israel-Palestine made it through both the House of Deputies and House of Bishops, although the latter body failed to follow through on “bolder steps” backed by Deputies.

Issues singled out by the adopted resolutions “including the plight of Palestinian children, the status of Jerusalem, the disproportionate use of lethal force on both sides and ways the Episcopal Church can press for peace through its investment decisions”.

As regards that latter issue, resolution BO16 mandates the Church’s Executive Council’s Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility “to develop criteria for Israel and Palestine based on a human rights’ investment screen”, and “to engage in shareholder advocacy in support of human rights in Israel and the Occupied Territories”.

Read: US church with 1.5m members votes unanimously to support BDS

US Campaign for Palestinian Rights hailed the resolution as a “ground-breaking” development, noting that “divesting from Israel’s abuses of Palestinians’ rights is the norm – even in institutions like the Episcopal Church, which had previously voted down such measures more than once”.

“These institutional shifts are a sign of changing times”, US Campaign added, “and confirmation that years of hard work are producing results…Folks are understanding that being progressive means standing with Palestine!”

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