Calls within the United Methodist Church (UMC) to divest from Apartheid Israel in support of the Palestinian struggle for justice and freedom are growing by the day. In the latest move, the Virginia Conference of the UMC this week passed a resolution to consider divestment from companies profiting from or facilitating the seizure of Palestinian land or the destruction of Palestinian homes.
The move by the Virginia Conference â which represents more than 340,000 United Methodists in Virginia and has 1,207 congregations throughout the state â comes just days after the UMC in New England passed a resolution directly urging churches to divest from companies complicit in the Occupation.
This weekâs motion was proposed by the Virginia chapter of the Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA), an advocacy group that unites activists within the UMC to take action on issues of justice, peace and liberation around the world. In presenting the resolution, Hunter Mabry, a spokesman for MFSA, drew attention to the workings of multinational companies in supporting or facilitating the Occupation. He noted that many products of such companies are âused in destroying Palestinian homes and seizing Palestinian land for Israeli resettlement.â
Passing the resolution, the Conference noted that the UMC has implemented financial boycotts in the past as a means of challenging apartheid in South Africa.
The resolution calls for the national pension and social justice boards of the United Methodist Church in Virginia to begin to identify any âmultinational corporation profiting from the use of its products in the illegal destruction of Palestinian homes and properties.â Supporters expect that the resolution will pave the way for churches in Virginia to implement full divestment against Apartheid Israel.