The General Convention of the Episcopal Church, with more than 3 million members has voted to divest from companies involved in Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights!
The Episcopal Peace Fellowship Palestine Israel Network (EPF PIN) put in amazing work over many years to get to make the Episcopal Church the 10th Christian denomination in the US to take economic action for justice in Palestine. Thanks in large part to their mobilization, the church also passed ground-breaking resolutions:
- Asserting the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination
- Condemning Israel’s violence against protesters in Gaza
- Calling on the US government to reinstate funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA)
- Supporting the rights of Palestinian children
- Demanding equal access to Jerusalem and opposing Trump’s move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem
USCPR was proud to have Anna Baltzer, Director of Organizing & Advocacy, on the ground at the General Convention supporting EPF PIN. Many other Palestine solidarity groups were there, as well.
All the groups were working together to organize powerful testimonies (like this one from FOSNA’s Tarek Abuata) from Palestinian refugees, students, elders, clergy, and others, strategize outreach, and share why the church taking economic action is so important.
We’ve come a long way. In 2014, the Presbyterian Church (USA) became the first mainline church to divest from companies profiting from the occupation and just last month, they voted in ten pro-Palestine resolutions.
Now, divesting from Israel’s abuses of Palestinians’ rights is the norm – even in institutions like the Episcopal Church, which had previously voted down such measures more than once.
As icing on the cake, USCPR recently learned that the Quaker Friends Fiduciary Corporation – which has more than $400 million in holdings and has already divested from Hewlett Packard, Veolia, and Caterpillar – will now screen out all companies contributing to the occupation of Palestine and other occupations around the world.
These institutional shifts are a sign of changing times, and confirmation that years of hard work are producing results. The movement’s strategy to mainstream the struggle for Palestinian rights is paying off. Folks are understanding that being progressive means standing with Palestine!
USCPR puts a lot into supporting church divestment efforts for justice in Palestine, including sending staff to big annual meetings like this year’s Presbyterian and Episcopalian ones, sharing lessons learned from one annual assembly to another, supporting church groups, and putting together delegations of Palestinians and allies to give powerful testimony at assemblies.
As we celebrate, we are mindful of the reason these milestones matter: Israel’s continued violence, oppression, discrimination, and exile of the Palestinian people everywhere, every day. This win reminds us of our power, and the necessity to continue working until the Palestinian people achieve full freedom, justice, and equality.