the 221st General Assembly


In its roundup of BDS achievements for 2014, the Palestine News Network lists the Presbyterian divestment decision:

Years of grassroots organising pays off as the Presbyterian Church (USA) general assembly in Detroit votes to divest its holdings from three US corporations – Hewlett Packard (HP), Motorola Solutions and Caterpillar – on the basis of their well-documented record of complicity in the oppression and denial of human rights of Palestinians.

The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions National Committee “warmly thanks each and every person who supported and contributed to the BDS movement this year.

Contrast this with the language inserted into the PC(USA)’s divestment decision:

“This action on divestment is not to be construed or represented … as … an alignment with or endorsement of the global BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanctions) movement.”

And with Moderator Heath Rada’s comforting assurance:

“In no way is this a reflection for our lack of love for our Jewish sisters and brothers.”

Your fig leaf is slipping.  The world outside the peculiar atmosphere of the 221st General Assembly Meeting last June had absolutely no illusions about the action.  Most of the assembled commissioners had no illusions about the action.  Some lied about it; others lied to themselves about it.  But most understood the reality.

You cannot be a little BDS.  As an entity, the PC(USA) has endorsed (selective) boycotts, (selective) divestment, and (selective) sanctions.  Oddly enough, that sounds eerily reminiscent of some global movement of some sort.  As an entity, the PC(USA) has used resources at its deliberative assembly that are affiliated with just such a global movement.  As an entity, the PC(USA) has promoted resources for congregations, for Presbyterians, and others that have at times employed overtly antisemitic language.

Sure, there have always been reasons given why it wasn’t to be construed that way.  Sure, there have always been denials of responsibility for the more inflammatory materials.  But these also seem to ring hollow.

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Comments on: "Palestine News Network lists PC(USA) divestment among bds achievements in 2014" (2)

  1. […] Your fig leaf is slipping. The world outside the peculiar atmosphere of the 221st General Assembly Meeting last June had absolutely no illusions about the action. Most of the assembled commissioners had no illusions about the action. Some lied about it; others lied to themselves about it. But most understood the reality. Read more here. […]

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  2. Elizabeth Carlson said:

    Thanks, Will, for continuing to hold folks in the PCUSA accountable. Shining the light of truth is a blessed deed , and your actions will bring good results. Thanks for all you are doing. All the best for 2015, Elizabeth
    P.S. I left the denomination shortly after the divestment vote and, for now, happily think of myself as a “none” still seeking to follow Jesus’s teachings.

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