Israel Advocacy News February 21, 2012: Boycott of Israel Hits Campuses and Churches



Boycott of Israel Hits Campuses and Churches

Source: Algemeiner, 2-21-12

University of Pennsylvania campus. Photo: wiki commons.

First came an entire conference dedicated to boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) at the University of Pennsylvania. More recently, the Presbyterian Church approved a report calling for divestment from three companies because of their sales to Israel. All in all, February has seen the anti-Israel BDS movement gain significant steam.

On Feb. 17, the General Assembly Mission Council of Presbyterian Church USA decided to receive a report from the Committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI), including a resolution recommending that Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard (HP), and Motorola Solutions “be placed on the General Assembly Divestment List until such time as they have ceased profiting from non-peaceful pursuits in Israel-Palestine.” The recommendations will now go before the church’s 220th General Assembly, set for June 30-July 7.

From Feb. 3-5, a national BDS conference at Penn armed was an anti-Israel training ground for college students, including sessions such as “The Economics of Israeli Occupation” and “Connecting with Grassroots Palestine,” with the stated goal of “touching on every aspect of the multifarious global effort to heed the BDS Call and bring an end to Israel’s system of oppression, segregation and dispossession.”

Don’t think BDS activity within the church and on campus takes place in respective vacuums, said Ethan Felson, vice president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) and the organization’s expert on divestment.

“When we take a look at the pro-BDS groups in the churches, they all were reporting on the Penn BDS conference, and the campus BDS movements are looking closely at what’s happening in the churches, each eager to trumpet a success of the other,” Felson said during a Feb. 14 conference call with reporters.

The recent growth of BDS hasn’t been limited to Penn and the Presbyterian Church within academic and religious spheres. At its quadrennial General Conference in April, the United Methodist Church will also consider a resolution to divest from Caterpillar, HP, and Motorola. At Harvard University, it won’t be surprising if BDS is a hot topic at a March 3-4 conference on the “One State Solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Paul Beran, a noted BDS activist, chairs the outreach center of Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies….READ MORE