The Episcopal Church’s Decision to Divest: Here’s How It Happened...
July 17, 2018
Photo: Palestinians in Gaza ask the Episcopal Church, "Will you bind up the broken-hearted?" (Isaiah 61:1-2)
At its 79th general convening, the Episcopal Church considered several resolutions to support Palestinian rights, including multiple resolutions to take economic action. After 10 days of powerful organizing and lively debate, the Episcopal Church adopted six key resolutions affirming Palestinian rights, including resolution B016 calling for the adoption of a human rights investment screen on Palestine and Israel.
The resolution, adopted Friday, July 13, directs the Episcopal Church to follow a similar action adopted by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, calling for the development of criteria to screen investments based on the church’s long-held stance against human rights abuses in Palestine and Israel, for investment in the Palestinian economy, and for continued corporate engagement. This resolution passed handily in both the Episcopal House of Deputies and House of Bishops. Since 2005, the Episcopal Church has had a policy of corporate engagement with companies involved in the occupation. By voting to develop a human rights screen for its investments, the Episcopal Church set in motion a process of vetting its investments for companies involved in violations of Palestinian human rights and divesting accordingly.
An earlier resolution, also calling for a human rights social criteria investment screen to end “the Episcopal Church’s complicity in the 51 year old occupation,” passed by almost 75 percent in the House of Deputies after an unprecedented hour-long debate. Although the House of Bishops did not concur in this action, the deputies’ overwhelming support demonstrated a substantial leap from prior years when similar resolutions had not even reached the floor.
During the last several years, 10 Christian denominations have taken economic action for justice in Palestine. Although each such action has been slightly different depending on the church's culture, polity, and constituency, every church that has divested has employed the use of an investment screen like the one required by the resolution adopted by the Episcopal Church. We congratulate the Episcopal Church for joining its ecumenical partners in aligning its investments with its values and taking action for justice in Palestine.
Friends of Sabeel North America
US Campaign for Palestinian Rights
American Friends Service Committee