Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The committee recommendation is multifaceted. This post from Monday had a run-down with multiple links: Presbyterian Divestment -- Where do we stand? The basic gist is that the "divestment" language has been successfully removed. A hearty congratulations on everyone, especially our Presbyterian friends who worked so hard on this.

Here is the official result with the full language of the recommendation of the committee: On Rescinding and Modifying Certain Actions of the 216th General Assembly (2004) Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Here's some of the language on the divestment issue:

"We acknowledge that the actions of the 216th General Assembly caused hurt and misunderstanding among many members of the Jewish community and within our Presbyterian communion. We are grieved by the pain that this has caused, accept responsibility for the flaws in our process, and ask for a new season of mutual understanding and dialogue.

To these ends, we replace the instructions expressed in Item 12-01 (Minutes, 2004 Part I, pp. 64-66) item 7, which reads

"7. Refers to Mission Responsibility Through Investment Committee (MRTI) with instructions to initiate a process of phased selective divestment in multinational corporations operating in Israel, in accordance to General Assembly policy on social investing, and to make appropriate recommendations to the General Assembly Council for action."

with the following:

To urge that financial investments of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), as they pertain to Israel, Gaza, East Jerusalem, and the West Bank, be invested in only peaceful pursuits, and affirm that the customary corporate engagement process of the Committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment of our denomination is the proper vehicle for achieving this goal."

No serious trouble was seen in the floor debate. Below is a very rough live-blog based on the live video-feed. My apologies to anyone who's name I butcher, or who's picture I assign incorrectly. Corrections are welcome. [I will be editing and cleaning up this post for awhile without comment. done]

New York Commissioner McLeod recommends an ammendment. Concerned about conflict with the Barman Declaration and the issuing of an apology...wants to withdraw apology language...


Noel Anderson, committee member, speaks against the motion...with all respect to Mr. McLeod...please vote no on the ammendment and accept...we worked very hard, prayerfully, etc...

Noel Anderson

Sandy Irving [no pic] stands for the ammendment...first educated on the Palestinian issue by a book by Elias Chacour..."ending the occupation through divestment is pro-life..."

Adam Fisher of a theological seminary rises in opposition to the ammendment...reconciliation begins with "I'm sorry."

Adam Fisher favor...blames the reporting of the last General Assembly's actions for the problems the PC(USA) has had over the past two years (probably referring to the fact that it's supposed to be "phased, selective divestment," not just "divestment" as it's usually referred to)...


Stacy Smith, seminarian...asks a question about the language...

Stacy Smith

Jay Rock speaks in response to explain the committee's language...

Jay Rock

Ken Robins speaks against the motion...served on committee...we already have a committee to address investment concerns...the original language disrupted that work...

Ken Robins

Question is called...machine vote to end debate...debate is voted to end on the ammendment to strike and add language...ammendment is voted DOWN 76% - 24%...more motions...

Mark Davidson introduces motion to change language to support Palestinian Christian partners...feeling Palestinian pain and support justice for Palestinian people...don't abandon Pals in a rush to shore up our relationship with Jewish community...

Mark Davidson

Bruce Ogden...speaks against motion...don't dismantle the committee's work with piecemeal ammendments

Bruce Ogden

Jeffrey Deal...went on Presbyterian peacemaking trip...blames Christian crisis on occupation...

Jeffrey Deal

Doug Runyon (no pic)...against...believes committee is already balanced and notes language calls for wall to return to green line [true, and a still problematic part of the report, but it is a step in the right direction as it does not call for the wall to be removed altogether]...

Fahed Abu Akel...brings greetings from 15 million Arab Chrisitians...urges a yes vote

Abu Akel

Ray Quiles...speaks out for messianic Jews in Israel who will be supported with the committee's recommendations...

Ray Quiles

Frances favor of the ammendment...also took the "peacemaking" trip...

Frances Hayes

Bob Henley [no pic] calls the question for this and all FURTHER questions (please, please pass)...MOTION they vote for the ammendment THEN the whole document...ammendment vote FAILS 53-46% (GOOD)

Now the vote on whether to accept the committee's report...this is the big one...the question PASSES 94% in the Yes column

Motion to have all further business of the committee go by this vote and skip any more debate or voting...PASSES 98%

That's IT.


Norman Finkelstein's book sleeps with the fishes.

Update: Power Line has another exclusive report from Joel Mowbray that starts:

In a stunning reversal of two years ago, the Presbyterian Church's 534 voting members this evening overwhelming disavowed their previous embrace of "phased, selective divestment" from Israel. This is a crushing defeat for proponents of the movement to brand the Jewish state the new apartheid South Africa, as this was the very same organization that kickstarted mainstream acceptance of divestment back in 2004...


So I'm wondering what now?

On to "Mother Jesus" and Rock/Paper/Scissors.

They are so clueless and they'll be surprised when membership falls further.

If they weren't so crippled by p.c. thinking, they would be able spare a moment to consider the fate of their own fellow Christians in the lands of the Arabs and see that they are floundering and disappearing. Their response??? Divest from...Israel. Or not. Idiots.

Where those of us who fight divestment on many fronts go next is clear. The Presbyterian Church was the lynchpin for a divestment movement that, by its own admission, has failed at universities, in corporations and at cities. At this year's ISM conference, they made it clear that churches were their last best hope for regaining lost momentum for their propaganda campaign. The Presbyterians were, until yesterday, the one example they could point to where a major institution was behind their efforts. Today, they can no longer do so.

We must use this victory to make sure any school, church, city, town, union or other political or civic organization understands that divestment is NOT an option those who seek peace embrace. Divestment must be placed where it clearly belongs: beyond the mainstream of peace-loving individuals, a tactic that is little more than a propaganda program for those who prefer conflict to reconciliation, war to peace.

Thanks for keeping up the drumbeat on this issue and special thanks to the many Presbyterians who were the real driving force to seeing divestment overturned within the church. Mazel Tov!

I don't understand was McLeod or Anderson taking a pro Palestinan stance?

What was McLeod's attempted ammendment intended tto do? What is the Barman Declaration? Who was there apology language to, Israel? for attempting divestment?

Anderson spoke against what motion and against what Amendment(McLeod's) ?

Please oblige me I couldn't follow every morsel of this continuously?

I can't find the wording of the ammendment but McLeod was hostile, Anderson friendly. I'm *guessing* McLeod was trying to ditch or change this part: "1. We acknowledge that the actions of the 216th General Assembly (2004) caused hurt and misunderstanding among many members of the Jewish community and within our Presbyterian communion. We are grieved by the pain that this has caused, accept responsibility for the flaws in our process, and ask for a new season of mutual understanding and dialogue." But that's only a guess. I don't know what relevance the Barmen Declaration has in this context. When I heard the reference I thought the ammendment might be friendly, since Dexter Van Zile has noted repeatedly that Protestant groups' (and Sabeel) stance with regard to Palestinian Nationalism is in direct contradiction to the Barmen Declaration, but further explanation by Noel made it clear his was an unfriendly ammendment.

Sorry, that should be "further explanation by McLeod"

Jon - thanks.

It was not everything many of us in the PC(USA) (who opposed 2004 policy) wanted, but in spite of the attempts at spin, the combination of this with the statement that suicide bombing and terrorism are crimes against humanity really does set the "divestment" movement back considerably.

McCleod's ammendment was intended to remove the apology language. He wanted language that expressed regret that people misunderstood what the PC(USA) had done. This is not the case, so the amendment would have scuttled the resolution. He opposed any actual apology -- including the admission of an originally flawed process. He also resented the notion that the 217th GA would apologize to Presbyterians for actions of the 216th GA -- which makes little sense since the GA's are composed of representatives of Presbyterians. He seemed to favor an, "if you don't like it and you're a Presbyterian, too bad . . ." approach to the 2004 action.

His reference to the Barmen Declaration was unrelated. It was to the language about not telling a sovereign nation whether it can defend itself. This is a gross misinterpretation of Barmen (the original that the committee amended also had language about how a nation could defend itself, would have raised a possible conflict).

Dexter (and I agree) has argued that adopting the politically correct divestment initiative singling out Israel and telling a country that it has no right to defend itself (as was essentially done in 2004) grossly conflicts with the Barmen declaration. This was unrelated to McCleod's attempts.

I see you refused to print a rebuttal that I sent last night. Hmm go figure!!!

Your statement that you welcome opposing opinions is typical.

You have becme the oppressors!!!

I have not removed any comments. Your comment is probably still in the thread you put it in (not this one).

"Syme: It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. You wouldn't have seen the [Newspeak] Dictionary 10th edition, would you Smith? It's that thick. [illustrates thickness with fingers] The 11th Edition will be that [narrows fingers] thick. Winston Smith: So, The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect? Syme: The secret is to move from translation, to direct thought, to automatic response. No need for self-discipline. Language coming from here [the larynx], not from here [the brain]" -1984 (film)


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