Divestment Vote


After passionate debate over how best to help break the deadlock between Israel and the Palestinians, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted on Friday at its general convention to divest from three companies that it says supply Israel with equipment used in the occupation of Palestinian territory.

The vote, by a count of 310 to 303, was watched closely in Washington and Jerusalem and by Palestinians as a sign of momentum for a movement to pressure Israel to stop building settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and to end the occupation, with a campaign known as B.D.S., for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.

Wonder how many more groups will do this.

76 replies
  1. 1

    What does John McCain think? Are we all Israelis now? and who should we be bombing?

  2. 2
    mike in dc says:

    There will be more. This will be incredibly divisive within some congregations, though.

  3. 3

    I never could understand why Israel has this hard on to build in Palestinian land. You’d think that Jews, of all people, would understand what it’s like to be on the short end of the stick.

  4. 4

    @mike in dc:

    I think most mainline Protestant denominations will end up doing this. The fundamentalists will never even have a vote.

  5. 5
    scav says:

    They just had the vote on Gay Marriage too, getting the ball rolling there as well, no? (top-level, different things happen further down as I understand the denomination). Interesting cross currents could be building below.

  6. 6
    c u n d gulag says:


    A Christian religious sect doing something POSITIVE?!?!?!?!


  7. 7
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.):
    The people in power apparently believe that the lesson of the Shoah is that Jews should do unto others what others have done unto them. Which goes against Jewish teaching as I understand it, but then I’m only a Gentile so what do I know?

  8. 8
    Chris says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.):

    Harry Truman had this to say about it:

    “Put an underdog on top and it makes no difference whether his name is Russian, Jewish, Negro, Management, Labor, Mormon, Baptist he goes haywire. I’ve found very, very few who remember their past condition when prosperity comes.”

    ETA: see also, “why do so many American Irish, Italian, Polish, and even a certain amount of Jews vote for nativist, racist assholes and policies that screw blacks and Hispanics, when they of all people should know what it’s like to be in their position.”

  9. 9
    Baud says:


    Smart guy. Probably the most underrated president.

  10. 10
    Corner Stone says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    and who should we be bombing?

    “All of them, Katie.”

    Oh, wait…

  11. 11
    Alex S. says:


    Truman was a most fortunate accident. Guys like him (or Elizabeth Warren, or Sherrod Brown) usually don’t become president.

  12. 12
    andy says:

    I remember back in the day that disinvestment was the point when the collapse of apartheid started to look inevitable. This happens enough in a noisy enough way then the people running Israel are really going to start to sweat.

  13. 13

    Good for the Presbyterians, no wants dogma on Caturday. Obligatory Caturday Kitteh.

    P.S. Caturday Kitteh is Tunch’s Japanese cousin, Shiro.

  14. 14
    WereBear says:

    @Chris: For some people, kindness and mercy implies they will need it.

    And they don’t want to rely on it! Because it is not within themselves.

  15. 15
    JPL says:

    The Lemon Tree by Sandy Tolan is an excellent read about the difficulties between Israel and Palestine. Most Americans are shamefully ignorant about and unfortunately, want to remain that way. Good for the Presbyterian Church and may others follow.

  16. 16
    some guy says:

    the opposition to apartheid will continue to grow. maybe too slowly, but grow it will. Boycott, Divest, Sanction.

  17. 17
    Jordan Rules says:

    Wow. Had no idea this was even on the radar of these groups.

  18. 18
    WereBear says:

    @Jordan Rules: Because it is difficult for a non-Fundie to get on TV.

  19. 19
    RobertDSC-Power Mac G5 Dual says:

    Very glad.

  20. 20
    Joel Hanes says:

    @c u n d gulag:

    This is the Presbyterian church in which I grew up, one of the more liberal of what used to be called “mainstream” Protestantism.

    Back in the late sixties they actually supported Angela Davis.

    Acceptance of gay was more difficult for some congregations, but they’ve almost completed that “evolution”.

    Unfortunately, the cool, rational, liberal, “mainstream” Protestant denominations no longer dominate in our national religious discourse; hot, reactionary Talibangelical victimism has increasingly held the floor ever since that old fraud Billy Graham was invited to the White House.

  21. 21
    Tom Q says:

    @Chris: Which is part of what makes Nelson Mandela such an extraordinary figure in modern history. His opponents expected him to fall into this category — much of his following WANTED him to — and he steadfastly refused.

  22. 22
    Keith G says:


    Because it is difficult for a non-Fundie to get on TV.

    I would surmise that it’s more about wanting to get TV time than being blocked from TV time.

    I usually find bizarre when folks complain that the Sunday “Talk” shows don’t give the Obama administration enough time. The shows would book ’em if they wanted to show up.

  23. 23
    WaterGirl says:

    May this be the beginning of a landslide.

  24. 24
    WaterGirl says:

    I hope we are all Presbyterians now.

  25. 25
    Chris says:

    @Alex S.:

    He’s probably my favorite, actually. At least, it’s under him that the party I identify with and vote for nowadays took its form.

  26. 26
    Jordan Rules says:

    Yeesh. The vote was pretty close.

  27. 27
    Baud says:


    Nope. A Pastafarian for now and always.

  28. 28
    WaterGirl says:

    @Baud: Be sure and post the results when the Pastafarians vote to divest.

  29. 29
    Morzer says:


    Have the Pastafarians ever invested?

  30. 30
    Baud says:


    Truth be told, there’s something of a schism developing between the Zitis and the Rigatonis on how best to handle the I-P issue.

  31. 31
    Morzer says:


    They are almost going to the matz o’er it.

  32. 32
    WaterGirl says:

    @Baud: That’s kind of shocking since the Zitis and the Rigatonis normally have so much in common. This really is a divisive issue.

  33. 33
    Bex says:

    AFAIK, Quakers and Mennonites have divested in Israel. Other mainline churches have divested in companies providing particular services to Israel, i.e., the PCUSA, or are considering some form of divestment, including the United Methodist Church, the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ and the Evangelical Lutheran Church. This info may be somewhat out of date, but it’s all I could find quickly.

  34. 34
    WaterGirl says:

    @Morzer: You raise a good point. Perhaps the Pastafarians should invest, just so they can get into the news when they divest.

  35. 35
    gbear says:

    @Alex S.: …or Obama.

  36. 36
    WereBear says:

    @Keith G: Well, no.

    This happened in 2005:

    ABC to Run Focus on the Family Ads, Rejected Ads from United Church of Christ Last Year

    And I’m sure it continues to go on. There are lots of progressive, activist, enlightened Christian leaders, male and female, who are attractive and persuasive speakers.

    But I never see them on television.

  37. 37
    WereBear says:

    @WaterGirl: It’s the Rotellis who are the disruptive element. You never know which side they’re on!

  38. 38
    Morzer says:

    You guys won’t believe what Frankie Pope has just done:


    Using his strongest language to date, Pope Francis told Italian Mafia members Saturday that they are excommunicated from the Catholic Church.

    “Those who in their life have gone along the evil ways, as in the case of the Mafia, they are not with God, they are excommunicated,” Francis said.

    It is the first time a Pope has spoken of excommunication for the Mafia.

    Excommunication, which excludes Catholics from the church, can be imposed by church authorities or incurred automatically for certain grave offenses.

    The Pope’s remarks will resonate strongly in this part of southern Italy, where the Mafia attempt to portray themselves as upstanding religious men in good rapport with the Catholic Church, in order to maintain local credibility.

    During a one-day visit to Calabria, in southern Italy, the Pope denounced the local mafia, called ‘Ndrangheta, as an example of “the adoration of evil and contempt for the common good.”

  39. 39
    FlyingToaster says:

    @scav: Probably not.

    The big reorg happened in the 70s and 80s. I walked out of my mom’s church (then United Presbyterian) because the minister was allowing fundamentalists to take over the Sunday school and one of them spent three years calling me a witch. Note: evidence of witchcraft consisting of having a telescope in the backyard every summer and doing my homework on Lenin’s quote: “Religion is the opiate of the people.” when we were studying propaganda.

    When the former junior pastor of my mom’s church returned from Princeton and took over, he booted the lot of them. The fundamentalists all ended up in one of the schism that includes Todd Akin.

    The problem for most of the mainline Protestant demoninations is irrelevancy; they spend a lot of time battling fundy thinkers in their congregations and then have to take votes in public on “hot” issues.

    The Presbyterian Church USA is the successor organization to the United Presbyterians. And they’re generally decent folks, despite my walking out on them. I’m glad they’re acting like adults nowadays.

  40. 40
    Bex says:

    @Morzer: Go get ’em Frankie, and hope that they don’t get you.

  41. 41
    Baud says:


    Pastafarians survived the Red or White Sauce Schism of 1898. We’ll get through this just fine.

  42. 42
    James E. Powell says:


    There are lots of progressive, activist, enlightened Christian leaders, male and female, who are attractive and persuasive speakers.

    But I never see them on television.

    The right-wing religious fanatics have mastered the art of terrorizing advertisers. If a progressive religious message is barred from broadcast, there will be some blog chatter about it for a week at most. If a right-wing religious message is barred from broadcast, there would be a 24/7 shitstorm from FOX to Rush to every other right-wing radio show until the person who barred the message is fired.

  43. 43
    ⚽️ Martin says:

    @Keith G:

    I usually find bizarre when folks complain that the Sunday “Talk” shows don’t give the Obama administration enough time. The shows would book ‘em if they wanted to show up.

    But they’d be sitting there having to answer to John McCain, not to the host. That’s the problem. Even if the administration shows up, it’s still going to be a right-wing narrative from the outset.

  44. 44
    Morzer says:


    So I said, “Die, heretic!” and then I pushed him off the bridge.

  45. 45
    JoyfulA says:

    @Keith G: Not so! The United Church of Christ raised money (from people like me) to create and run TV ads. The networks refused to take our money and run our ads about inclusiveness (like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mW6X6l5XGsw ) because they were “divisive.”

    Edit: As Werebear noted.

    Our leadership has presented themselves as available and interested to be on TV many times, and the only time they’ve been on was once on the topic of our rejected ad. (BTW, local stations ran our ads and didn’t see any problem.)

  46. 46
    Baud says:



  47. 47
    WaterGirl says:

    @WereBear: Both sides do it!

  48. 48
    WaterGirl says:

    @Baud: Yeah, but what about the Salsa Rosa people? Just pick a side, dammit! Is that so hard?

  49. 49
    Schlemizel says:

    There is an unrecognized great episode of “Cheers” (yeah, who knew?) where Woody and his fiance have a falling out over religion that threatens to destroy the marriage. They are both Lutherans but separated by some arcane bit of religious trivia.

    Woody explains the difference & is is as stupid as any religious argument – it is worth the 4 minutes:

  50. 50
    Baud says:


    Thanks. I can’t watch right now but will check it out later.

  51. 51
    WaterGirl says:

    @Schlemizel: Yes, dear.

  52. 52
    gogol's wife says:


    Hello, fellow UCC-er.

    We get no respect.

  53. 53
    Chris says:


    Holy, holy, holy shit. Flipping the bird to the mob in the middle of Calabria of all places?

    I like this guy.

  54. 54
    JoyfulA says:

    @gogol’s wife: You have respect from me!

  55. 55
    Morzer says:


    I think he’s got serious potential for some hot Pope on money-changers action.

  56. 56
    debbie says:

    Wouldn’t these bulldozers also have been used to demolish Palestinian homes as punishment, or has Israel stopped that practice?

  57. 57
    Suzanne says:

    I was raised and baptized and confirmed Presbyterian. I left because I didn’t think they were liberal enough. I still think that, but this makes me feel warm feelings toward them right now.

  58. 58
    Suzanne says:

    @gogol’s wife: I went to a UCC church a couple of weeks ago for the first time and I really liked it. I really like going to the Phoenix UU congregation, but sometimes I could use a little more God with my God, even though I don’t really believe in the traditional Christian concept of God. It is amazing to me how emotion-driven this is for me, and I am typically quite rational. Sigh.

  59. 59
    PopeRatzo says:

    @⚽️ Martin:

    But they’d be sitting there having to answer to John McCain, not to the host. That’s the problem. Even if the administration shows up, it’s still going to be a right-wing narrative from the outset.

    That’s part of the deal, though, talking to the assholes. Really, how hard can it be to make John McCain look like a dope? It shouldn’t even be a fair fight.

    Truman did a pretty good job of making Republicans look like dopes in the media. Send fucking Joe Biden for chrissake. He’s terrific at deflating these blowhards. Give him something to do and you wouldn’t have to sit and cringe watching Susan Rice or some other sacrificial lamb.

  60. 60
    gogol's wife says:


    You are not alone.

    I’ve been Baptist, UCC, Lutheran, then UCC again. I like the Lutherans, but in the Northeast it’s not a real option — too marginal.

  61. 61
    Morzer says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    You’ve never tried the Episcopalians?

  62. 62
    gogol's wife says:


    Nope. Too high-church for me. I visit occasionally, though.

  63. 63
    Stillwater says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.):

    I never could understand why Israel has this hard on to build in Palestinian land. You’d think that Jews, of all people, would understand what it’s like to be on the short end of the stick.

    They learned they’re lesson. Don’t be on the short end!

  64. 64
    Narcissus says:

    I hope the Swiss Guard have been eating their Wheaties

  65. 65
    JoyfulA says:

    @gogol’s wife: I find the Lutherans these days to be too high church for me, unlike the Lutheran churches of my childhood I visited with relatives.

    There are a lot of Lutherans in Pennsylvania—there’s a church two blocks from me even—and there used to be a separate Lutheran denomination headquartered in Philadelphia. They merged with the one headquartered in Minneapolis, and I wonder whether that’s how Lutherans became more high church.

  66. 66
    JoyfulA says:

    @JoyfulA: I get to go to a Lutheran funeral every 2 or 3 years these days, which is how I keep up with things.

  67. 67
    Betsy says:

    @Joel Hanes: agree, and that’s among the reasons I’m headed back to church. Not letting the angries have the future of Christianity.

    Also, a couple of sermons by Rev. Barber at
    Moral Mondays, and I was thinking “Now… why did I leave, again?”

    Even my nonbelieving sweetheart loves to hear Rev. Barber preach it.

    Powerful stuff.

  68. 68
    Betsy says:

    @gogol’s wife: I’m attending a United Church of Christ congregation bc of the UCC’s early stand on so many social justice issues (in part). = respect!

    Love the Presbos, grew up there, but needed to be ahead of the curve on justice — and UCC is familiar liturgically, uses the words “God” and “Jesus”, and bears the flag for social justice way out front. Liking it!

  69. 69
    Betsy says:

    @Suzanne: I hear you!! And second that emotion. Go Presbyterians!

  70. 70
    Betsy says:

    @Suzanne: hate to keep weighing in here, but with each comment you are writing my very thoughts. UUs and Quakers so attractive but I do like a little bit of Jesus in my Sunday morning.

    I have to say the Quakers have really never persecuted anyone. Impressive that.

  71. 71
    Betsy says:

    @Narcissus: and not just chocolate bonbons

  72. 72
    blueskies says:

    @Keith G: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary data. Please show your data.

  73. 73
    Biff Longbotham says:

    This, and their same sex marriage vote, make me proud to be a PCUSAer.

  74. 74
    Chet says:


    I find the Lutherans these days to be too high church for me,

    By “Lutheran”, I take it you mean ELCA.

    The Missouri Synod —  which Yours Truly was brought up in, and to which his mom still belongs — may be a lot of things (most not particularly good), but “high church” sure as hell ain’t one of them anymore.

  75. 75
    dmbeaster says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.):

    The settlers represent the founding spirit of Israel, which largely consists of land taken from Arabs. Hard to turn that off since it has worked so far.

  76. 76
    daninNYC says:

    @WereBear: Once in a while a mainline leader becomes a TV personality. Episcopal (Gay) Bishop Gene Robinson was a regular on the Daily Show and the Colbert Report. But most mainline leaders aren’t all that controversial and that’s all the media cares about (or they tend to teach anti-corporate messages which isn’t something that the corporate media want to play up much.

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