The United Methodists voted down four out of four pro-BDS proposals at the 12-million member church’s quadrennial general conference in Portland, Oregon on Sunday.
The resolutions “pretty much went down in flames,” UMC delegate and BDS opponent John Lomperis told Religion News Service.
The resolutions called for UMC divestment from three companies that pro-Palestinian activists have accused of working with Israeli security forces in Yehudah and Shomron: Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola.
Instead, the Finance Committee, the body which had rejected the divestments, endorsed a general commitment to responsible investment of church funds.
While conference rules would allow delegates to still introduce the divestment resolutions later this week, Lomperis said it is “rare” for issues to be revived once committees have voted them down.
The church remains officially opposed to the Israeli presence in Yehudah and Shomron and East Yerushalayim, but the latest efforts of the pro-BDS elements to turn that position into “into something concrete — into action rather than just words,” as one activist put it, have failed, at least for the present.