Mennonite Church Votes for Divestment

YERUSHALAYIM -

The Mennonite Church USA has voted to divest of its holdings in companies profiting from business in territories “occupied” by Israel, according to media reports.

The resolution passed by the biennial convention in Orlando, Florida, directs managers of the $3 billion Everence church fund to avoid any economic support for Israeli policies over the Green Line.

At the same time, the convention condemned anti-Semitism, encouraged stronger ties between church members and Jews, and endorsed a review of how Mennonites responded to the Holocaust.

The Associated Press reported that the church had rejected a similar divestment proposal at the last meeting two years ago, “amid fears that the resolution would be considered anti-Jewish.”

A spokesman for the Israeli embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The American Jewish Committee called the resolution “deeply disappointing.”

“The latest UCC resolution does nothing to advance the possibility of peace. Rather, by continuing to demonize Israel, UCC supports those who oppose peace,” Rabbi Noam Marans, AJC’s director of interreligious and intergroup relations, said in a statement.

“The resolution of the Mennonite Church USA is confusing and contradictory,” said Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel and president of Christians in Defense of Israel. Liberty Counsel is a nonprofit dedicated to advancing religious freedom.

“On the one hand, it purports to oppose antisemitism,” Staver said. “But on the other hand, it supports antisemitic divestment in what it erroneously calls ‘occupied territories.’ Israel is the only free and democratic country in the Middle East. Israel has more legitimate and historical right to its land than any country in the world. Israel is thousands of years old. Jews have lived in the land for millennia.”