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A committee of the Presbyterian Church USA adopted a compromise resolution regarding divestment from Israel which does not call directly for divesting from companies that profit from what it referred to as the Israeli occupation. The resolution, approved by 53 commissioners and opposed by six, was voted on Saturday and reaffirmed Sunday.
The new resolution, reached by the Committee on Peacemaking and International Issues, replaces the call "to initiate a process of phased, selective divestment in multinational corporations operating in Israel" in connection with the security fence and related topics with a general phrase that calls for the church to invest only in "peaceful pursuits" in Israel and Palestine. The new resolution does not include the word "divestment."
The committee also added a clause that acknowledges that the 2004 decision to divest from companies doing business with Israel "caused hurt and misunderstanding" among the Jewish community and adds that the church "grieves the pain" and accepts responsibility for the flaws in the process of adopting the divestment decision.
Jewish communal activists who came to Birmingham, Alabama, to lobby the church leaders during their conference expressed satisfaction with the compromise language adopted by the committee. "We have a strong feeling that they are getting our point," said Ethan Felson of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.
The new resolution does not rescind the 2004 divestment resolution, but it ends the practice of singling out Israeli from other international issues.
The final vote on the resolution is expected Wednesday evening at the Presbyterian Church General Assembly.