Petition 81567

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Promoting Peace Through Ethical Investment (81567-FA-NonDis)

The 2008 General Conference calls upon the UMC General Board of Pension and Health Benefits, and all general boards, administrative agencies and institutions, including hospitals, homes, educational institutions, annual conferences, foundations, and local churches to undertake the following process of phased, selective divestment from companies that support the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and other violations of human rights in Palestine/Israel:  

1)   review their investment portfolios and within six months identify a list of  
    companies that are supporting the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories or that violate the human rights of Palestinians or Israelis, and to publish, maintain and distribute the list and constantly re-evaluate the relationship of companies to the occupation and human rights violations in the region, guided by Resolution #213, “Investment Ethics” (2004 United Methodist Book of Resolutions, p. 554-559),  
2)    before placing a company on the list, the Board of Pensions in cooperation with other general agencies should write to that company, explain our concerns as United Methodists, and request a change in the company’s relationship to the Israeli occupation.  
3)    If no change in policy is reported within 60 days as being taken or contemplated, the company’s name should be placed immediately on the divestment list along with explanatory details and shared with the whole church;
4)    Once a company is placed on the list, no further stock shall be purchased until that company ends its activities that support the occupation; United Methodist general agencies and institutions should use currently held stock for shareholder actions and other forms of socially responsible action in keeping with the Investment Ethics policy, #213 in the 2004 Book of Resolutions.  If a company continues to refuse to change its activities then after two years, all remaining stock shall be divested until such time as the company ends its support of Israel’s occupation;  
5)    That the General Boards of Pensions & Health Benefits, Global Ministries, and Church & Society, work in cooperation with the World Council of Churches and other ecumenical and human rights partners to coordinate nonviolent, moral efforts to end all corporate support for occupation and human rights violations in Palestine/Israel;  
    
The United Methodist Church at the same time supports positive investments that promote capacity building in partnership with poor and marginalized communities in Palestine/Israel, that fulfill the Call to Action in 2004 Resolution #206 “Economic Justice for a New Millennium” (#206, p. 538),  
  
We ask every United Methodist to prayerfully consider taking the same action with the personal and pension assets under their control, and request that other investment manages such as mutual fund companies, pension plans, and bank trustees to the same.
  
We affirm our longstanding support of Christian presence in the Holy Land through forms of economic support and investment.  

Rationale

Resolution # 312 of the 2004 United Methodist Book of Resolutions affirms and supports Israel’s right to exist within secure borders, the right of Palestinians to self-determination and the formation of a viable state, and a just solution for Palestinian refugees. There is an urgent and growing humanitarian crisis among