(The Blaze/AP) — Once again, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) finds itself at the center of controversy over a potential anti-Israeli move the church may plan to make. The denomination, the largest Presbyterian group in the United States, is considering divesting from three companies over the Israeli military use of their products in the Palestinian territories.
The proposal before the PC(USA) has outraged many Jewish groups who sent representatives to the church’s national assembly in Pittsburgh this week to lobby against the measure. Divestment supporters say the targeted companies — Caterpillar Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Motorola — are profiting from Palestinian suffering. The American Jewish Committee, a public policy group, has said the proposal demonizes Israel and threatens Christian-Jewish relations.
Last week, the U.S. investment firm MSCI Inc. announced it had removed Caterpillar from three of its popular indexes that track socially responsible investments, citing concerns about the Israeli military’s use of company bulldozers in the Palestinian territories. The MSCI decision led mutual fund giant TIAA-CREF to divest $72 million in Caterpillar stock.