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The decision by the United Methodist Church's Pension Board to divest from the five largest Israeli banks and one Israeli company is something we need to stand up and challenge. I do not believe that the majority of Methodists support this move at all, and I've posted what's below on the Church's web site.
UNITED METHODIST CHURCH'S PENSION BOARD SHOULD RECONSIDER BOYCOTT OF ISRAELI BANKS
It is very sad to read that the United Methodist Church's Pension Board has included five Israeli banks among the 39 it is blacklisting.
This lumps Israel in with countries like Sudan, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Syria - a designation that makes no sense whatsoever.
The reason behind the decision is that these five banks invest in and support what the Church views as illegal construction of, support for and financial assistance to settlements in Judea, Samaria and the West Bank, according to its public statements.
Strangely enough, the Palestinian Authority Banks and those controlled by Hamas in Gaza are not listed, despite the fact that the PA Charter requires that no Jews be allowed to live in any emergent Palestinian State, while Hamas not only prohibits them, but calls for killing all Jews and their supporters worldwide.
And of even more interest, there is no blacklisting of banks in places like China (which has occupied Tibet since the early 1950s), Morocco (which has occupied the Spanish Sahara - once an independent country - for more than 20 years), Russia (which invaded and seized 20% of the Ukraine last year), Armenia (which seized 20% of Azerbijian more than 20 years ago and ethnically cleansed it), Lebanon (where the terrorist group Hezbollah has undermined the government, militarily supports the Bashar Asad regime in neighboring Syria and blew up the US Marines Barracks as one of its countless documented terrorist attacks, while also calling for the elimination of Israel), etc.
Egypt, which has closed its border with Gaza and razed 1,100 yards of land adjoining that border and is flooding the smugglers' tunnels that run under that border, gets a free pass...so does Venezuela, which has done more to undermine democracy in South America than any other country save, perhaps, Cuba (which also gets a free pass, despite its history of persecution).
Another question to be raised is: if the issue is financial activity in Judea and Samaria, exactly what boundaries is Israel supposed to exist within? According to every site I've checked, Judea included everything from the Tel Aviv area to ALL OF JERUSALEM, and south well past Beersheva. It also included Shiloh, Shechem (now known as Nablus), Jericho and a host of other familiar names that the Palestinians claim as their own.
So, if construction inside Judea is illegal - and if you check the map, you'll see that biblical Samaria also included the rest of modern Israel - exactly where is the Methodist Church setting Israel's boundaries?? Or, has it constructively called for the abolishment of the Jewish Homeland?
Furthermore, under international law, the West Bank was illegally occupied by Jordan from 1948-67 (where was the United Methodist Church during those days?) and Gaza was illegally occupied by Egypt during the same period. However, Israel is not an "occupier" because there was NEVER a country of "Palestine," and there is no centuries-old history or holidays, unique language or customs, etc., for this Arafat-created entity.
It is also shocking that the United Methodist Church closes its eyes to the persecution of Christians in every other country in the Middle East; in fact, by condemning Israel's banks and others, it gives what I hope is unintended tacit support to those other nations in which there is no religious freedom, in which churches are being burnt, in which no one can publicly wear a cross or display a bible, and in which conversion to Christianity is punishable by death.
This is a terrible decision and needs to be rescinded immediately.
Map of the Territory of Judah and Judea in Ancient Israel. Judea and the surrounding territories (Southern Israel). The locations that have an underline…