Written by Gregg Brekke
After three hours of deliberation, the committee debating the Israeli-Palestinian resolution recommended that General Synod take no action on the resolution called “In Support of Effective and Constructive Peacemaking between Palestinians and Israelis through Positive Investment in Palestine.”
The discussion pivoted around whether boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDSs) are effective means of bringing about peace in the Middle East.
General Synod 25 in 2005 called for the use of economic leverage to promote peace in the Middle East, including but not limited to BSDs.
The background statement for the currently proposed resolution states:
Encouraging our Churches to get involved in positive investment in Palestine is a far more productive approach than boycott, divestment and/or economic sanction campaigns… These campaigns are based on the misconception that one side holds all the blame and are very destructive in that they serve to increase the fear and isolation of the Israeli public and markedly decrease the likelihood of their being willing to take the risk inherent in any peace agreement.
The show-of-hands vote for “no action” was nearly unanimous.
“If General Synod were to support this resolution, it might be misinterpreted,” said the Rev. Lori Esslinger, pastor of Flicksville UCC in Bangor, Pa., and a Synod delegate on the committee. “The Middle East needs every available option for a peaceful resolution of the tensions there. People need to be clear that the UCC still supports a negotiated peace process, even while BDSs are still a possibility.”