A STATEMENT by the Episcopal Peace Fellowship’s Palestine Israel Network (EPF PIN) on Action by Executive Council re Resolution B016 (2018): Adopt Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s Action on Israel/Palestine.
The Steering Committee of EPF PIN commends Executive Council for positive action on three Resolutions implementing the mandate from the 79th General Convention expressed in Resolution B016: Adopt Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s [ELCA] Action on Israel/Palestine.
Meeting in Montgomery, Alabama on 18-21 October the Council voted to receive the June 2019 Report of its Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility (CCSR) on resolution B016 and adopt the recommended Global Human Rights Screen (GHRS) with “criteria for the Israel//Palestine conflict.” The GHRS is modeled on the ELCA’s human rights screen and is consistent with policy adopted by General Convention or Executive Council over the last six decades. PIN lauds the clear criteria established by the GHRS for deciding if a corporation supports or benefits from denial of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). These are,
1) Does a corporation have a record of any of the following: supplying or doing business or providing goods or services in or to illegal settlements (as defined in international law) or contributing to the construction or maintenance of housing or other facilities in such settlements or seeking otherwise to profit from human rights violations in the OPT, or
2) Does a corporation have a record of directly or indirectly supplying or doing business with or providing goods or services to, or otherwise contributing to, the Israeli Defense Forces as the IDF operates in the OPT.
Adoption of the Global Screen & Criteria puts in place an Episcopal Church Human Rights No Buy List, administered by CCSR, to apply to corporations that resist effective engagement on human rights.
In a second action, Council approved a Resolution to place Caterpillar Inc., Motorola Solutions, and the Israel Discount Bank on the Human Rights No Buy List, directing the church’s money managers to sell holdings in these companies without delay. Efforts over many years (Caterpillar 15 years, Motorola 25 years, Israel Discount Bank: refusal to engage) to engage with these companies have been unproductive. Council asks CCSR to continue engagement with Facebook, Booking.com and TripAdvisor for human rights violations through complicity in the Occupation.
Executive Council also acted to fund future applications of the Global Human Rights Screen as well as continuing corporate engagement.
EPF PIN is grateful for the meticulous work of CCSR in preparing its twenty-one page Report to Council. We appreciate documentation of the applicability of the ELCA Human Rights Screen to TEC and the elaboration of both the legislative history of Episcopal policies on Palestine-Israel and CCSR’s practice of corporate engagement over many decades. The Report elaborated on the actions of our ecumenical partners on human rights screens, the diverse views in the Jewish community with respect to use of economic pressure to end the Occupation, the distinction between TEC’s on-going corporate engagement and the BDS Movement, along with many other important questions.
The Steering Committee of EPF PIN commends the entire Council for this work to address the Episcopal Church’s complicity, through its investment funds, in the Occupation.
This action is timely as prospects for a two-state solution have diminished since the 2018 General Convention. EPF PIN has noted with alarm recent actions taken by the U.S. and Israeli governments, including the Trump Administration’s actions to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel as well as Israel’s sovereignty over the contested Golan Heights, the Nation-State bill passed by Israel in July 2018, which is widely seen as enshrining the rights of Jewish citizens and immigrants above all others within Israel, and statements by members of the governing coalition, including the Prime Minister himself, openly committing to “legal” annexation of fertile agricultural land and settlement areas in the West Bank and East Jerusalem that have been understood to be land for a future Palestinian state.