Al Jazeera, Apr 30, 2012
Two major US churches are considering resolutions to boycott and divest from companies they say are profiting from the Israeli occupation.
These companies include Caterpillar, whose bulldozers are used by the Israeli military to demolish Palestinian homes, and Motorola Solutions, whose surveillance equipment is used in illegal settlements.
The resolution being considered by the United Methodist Church, one of the churches considering divestment, states: "The biblical mandate to be peace-makers demands that we express our love of our Palestinian and Israeli neighbours both in word and through nonviolent actions ... Divestment is not aimed at Israel itself, but at the occupation of land beyond its internationally recognised borders. As a non-violent moral action, divestment seeks to strengthen the Church's support for the peoples of Israel and Palestine, whose future can only be secured through a just peace."
The proposal is part of a wider international movement called the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign (BDS).
Critics say the initiative is a form of collective punishment against all Israelis, but its supporters, who were inspired by a similar movement against Apartheid South Africa, disagree. They say it is a non-violent means to pressure Israel to abide by international law.
The international BDS campaign is calling for military, diplomatic and economic sanctions against Israel. It has also organised a consumer boycott of Israeli companies and of international companies involved in Israeli policies they say violate Palestinian human rights and international law. There is also an academic boycott calling for an end to collaboration with Israeli institutions and universities and a cultural boycott, which encourages artists, academics and celebrities not to perform in Israel.
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