Divestment from Conflict - Investment in Peace
One of the things that excites or inflamed people about the Presbyterian Church is something called "Divestment."
Sounds so very boring.
It is a plan that was approved in 2004 for the Presbyterian Church (USA) to divest its holdings in companies profiting from Middle East conflict and war. So far, not a dime of our $8 billion dollar portfolio has actually been divested. But we have identified five companies that profit from the Mid-East conflicts -- Caterpillar Inc., Citigroup Inc., United Technologies Corp., Motorola Inc. and ITT Industries Inc. How much the church has invested in those companies has not been disclosed.
The companies do business that either assists the Israeli military or supports the infrastructure of Israel's West Bank settlements. Caterpillar, for instance, sells heavy equipment used in the demolition of Palestinian homes. Caterpillar says it has no control over how its products are used.
It seems to me that the issue of divestment has been largely misunderstood -- with many Jewish groups claiming Presbyterians are anti-Semitic and are divesting themselves of Israel.
As much controversy as this has created, I am pleased that the church is trying to avoid a bias toward Israel or Palestine -- but instead seeks a bias toward peace, which I believe was the intent of the 2004 proposal.