The Presbyterian Church (USA), which represents 1.5 million Americans, has voted overwhelmingly in support of the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign (BDS).
Members took part in a vote last Friday on a slate of resolutions put forth by one of its member groups, the Israel Palestine Mission Network (IPMN).
The Presbyterian Church (USA) defended the free exchange of ideas on Israel/Palestine, refusing to accept a prohibition on describing the occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza as “a colonial project.” https://t.co/DIaEIUDgAn pic.twitter.com/XrtEtqOF5y
— BDS South Africa (@BDSsouthafrica) June 25, 2018
The church opposed congressional and state anti-BDS legislation calling on Americans to “defend and advocate for the constitutional protection under the First Amendment for all United States citizens”.
It opposed “specific US legislation and efforts by agents of foreign governments to suppress” those freedoms.
Human Rights Heroes:
This past weekend, the @Presbyterian Church of the USA overwhelmingly passed 10 resolutions in support of Palestine justice. Resolutions including support for Palestinian churches in working for Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions #BDS: https://t.co/nPoX027SZW
— Alice Rothchild, MD (@AliceRothchild) June 26, 2018
It also insisted that the “The Israel Anti-Boycott Act”, Senate Bill (S) 720 and House Resolution (H.R.) 1697, which seek to impose civil and criminal penalties for nonviolent BDS resistance against human rights violations in Israel and Palestine, was against the US constitution and a threat to free speech.
The resolutions won by a landslide following powerful testimonies from local and visiting Palestinians, Black Lives Matter leaders, Presbyterians, and others. Most of the resolutions passed by 80 or 90 percent or unanimously in committee and through the General Assembly, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR) reported.
— Jamil Dakwar (@jdakwar) November 6, 2017
USCPR, another member group of the church said that the tide was turning. Four years ago the pro-Palestinian campaign group secured a narrow victory – 310-303 – for a resolution to divest holdings from three US companies profiting from Israel’s occupation.
The church also voted against a resolution that would have ended the church’s classification of Israel as a “colonial project.”https://t.co/UDB9bPwrbU
— BDS South Africa (@BDSsouthafrica) June 26, 2018
In just a few years, they have gone from “near parity to a church standing boldly and unequivocally for Palestinian rights”, USCPR said.
Praising the work of USCPR members and affiliates the campaign group said that they had,
“gone from focusing on Israel’s 1967 occupation to a broad platform challenging all aspects of Israeli colonialism, and advocating the rights of all Palestinians throughout historic Palestine, including those fighting for their right to return home”.
In the photo is Jewish pro-Palestine activist @Anna_Baltzer showing love to fellow Palestinian activist Neveen Ayesh at the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the USA
Over the weekend the church voted overwhelmingly for several pro BDS resolutions ❤️ pic.twitter.com/PCPZHWFubb
— BDS South Africa (@BDSsouthafrica) June 24, 2018
“Massive, mainstream institutions like PC (USA) show how the political orientation and analysis at the grassroots level is shifting quickly, and that those claiming to be progressive without standing with Palestine are increasingly out of touch.”
(MEMO, PC, Social Media)