On the 5th of August 2005, the Presbyterian Church entered the next phase of its divestment process from Israeli and multinational companies supporting Israeli policies. The Mission Responsibility through Investment (MRTI) Committee of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) published its divestment list that singles out Caterpillar, ITT Industries, Motorola and United Technologies as concrete measures towards economic pressure against Apartheid Israel and its accomplices.
The coming months are meant to give time to the management of the companies to stop their support of Occupationâs policies, otherwise, concrete divestment resolutions are due to be passed in June 2006. It is estimated that the Churchâs investments in the targeted companies sum up to $60 million in holdings.
Caterpillar has been placed on the Churchâs divestment list for its sale of equipment to the colonial regime that is used in destroying Palestinian homes, olive groves and construction of the apartheid infrastructure in the West Bank. Motorola, ITT Industries and United Technologies are both military contractors providing hi-tech equipment to the Occupation forces. Motorola is also a majority investor in one of the Occupationâs four cell phone companies. While targeting these specific companies only scratches the surface of Israeli crimes, it represents the beginning steps of awareness about international complicity in the ongoing occupation and expulsion of the Palestinian people.
However, ceding to Zionist pressure to hide the real roots and dynamics of what the Palestinian struggle for Justice and Liberation is up against, the Church is seeking a âneutral standâ between the colonizer and the colonized. By targeting Citibank for indirect support of âPalestinian violenceâ the Church has diluted the distinction between the support of daily crimes of occupation and payments to poor families, thereby reinforcing the Zionist strategy of collective punishment of the Palestinian people.
Yet, since the Presbyterian Church has called for divestment, many other churches all over the world have taken up similar steps and the World Council of Churches has called upon its members to enact economic pressure on Israel. Despite the shortcomings, these stands have the opportunity to strengthen the global movement to Isolate Apartheid Israel. It is thus important for activists within and outside the churches to move forward and enlarge the range of divestment campaigns and actions as well as a broad boycott of Israel on a consumer, cultural, sports and academic boycott. Motorola and Caterpillar are concrete targets for activists globally and should not be permitted to continue their support of the Occupationâs crimes.