Commissioners of the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly voted Thursday night to replace a controversial resolution to divest from companies doing business in Israel with an alternative resolution emphasizing positive investment in enterprises that would help grow the Palestinian economy.
The vote could not have been any closer, with 333 commissioners voting in favor of replacing the divestment resolution, and 331 voting against it. Two commissioners abstained.
The resolution for “positive investment” then passed the General Assembly, with a vote of 369 in favor, 290 opposed, and eight abstentions.
The PC (USA)’s 220th biennial General Assembly has been convened at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center all week. The commissioners of the G.A. voted against the divestment resolution despite the recommendation of the church’s Middle East and Peacemaking committee to pass it.
The vote came after nearly three hours of debate that spanned a range of opinions and attitudes prevalent among the Presbyterians in attendance. While some urged the commissioners to vote against divestment for the sake of Jewish-Presbyterian relations, and because only the Palestinian narrative would be endorsed by taking such a position, others resorted to a vitriolic lexicon, accusing Israel of “apartheid,” and “ethnic cleansing.”
Read the full story in next week’s Chronicle.
(Toby Tabachnick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)