Yours truly has not had many good things to say about organized religion, yet today we celebrate just that. Or more specifically, the Presbyterians, who voted on June 20th to divest its holdings in three companies (Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions) associated with supplying Israel.
In fact, the Presbyterian Church has gone so far as to
1. Call upon all nations to prohibit the import of products made by enterprises in Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.
2. Call for the boycott of all Israeli products coming from the occupied Palestinian Territories, including AHAVA Dead Sea Laboratories Beauty Products, and all date products of Hadiklaim, The Israel Date Growers Co-Operative Ltd, often marked by the brand names: King Solomon Dates and Jordan River (not Israeli products from Israel).
3. Direct the Stated Clerk to communicate this action to all other PC (USA) councils and entities and invite and strongly encourage those groups and organizations to endorse this boycott until significant progress toward Palestinian rights and independence can be reported to the General Assembly or the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board (note: formerly General Assembly Mission Council.)
4. Direct the Stated Clerk to inform our ecumenical partners of this action, both nationally and globally, and call upon them to join in the boycott of these companies.
Now granted, the Presbyterian general assembly is a supporter of the so-called “two-state solution”, which would create two equal, but nonetheless segregated, states of Israel and Palestine, but people, this is progress.
We’re not just looking at not just another victory for the struggle for Palestinian freedom (though that alone would be great news) but a landmark blow to the blindly pro-Israeli sentiment that has monopolized American politics. In particular this action is a stunning slash at the nauseating ideology that is “Dispensationalism“- the idea that the modern day state of Israel is somehow the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy and essential to the apocalypse and the return of Christ. This ideology, along with the equally repellant “Christian Zionism“, has insidiously made its way into much of Western Christianity, and that an entire branch of the religion has risen up against it is nothing short of miraculous.
I cannot state enough just how amazing this is, or how much this move will pump fresh life into the battered (yet unbroken) Palestinian struggle for liberty and justice. There hasn’t been a score for the Palestinians this great since Nelson Mandela lent his unequivocal support to their cause.
And already, there are those who have accused the church of being short-sighted. There are those who could go so far as to accuse them of being racist. But to the good folks of the Presbyterian church, who have decided that enough is enough…
…We thank you.
Keep fighting the good fight.