Divestment –
The Great Presbyterian Hoax

Revised May 20, 2006

Presbyterian Churches have stepped up their campaign (originally launched in June 2004) to divest from 5 US companies targeted for doing business with Israel. The Jerusalem Post reported (Oct.30, 2005.) that they had started campaigning in Canada for their counterparts to divest from the same 5 companies.

Aside from being surprised that the church appears to be so heavily invested (reportedly to the tune of $7.5 billion) my reaction is “so what”? Let them go ahead and divest all they like –the sooner the better.

Because, in disposing of their shares the church does not hurt any US or Israeli company financially. Divestment simply means that shares change hands. Sellers must sell their shareholdings to willing buyers; in this case buyers who presumably don’t follow the Presbyterian agenda. In the process Israel loses a badmouthing enemy and gains many friends. Goody!

What Is The Presbyterian Record On Tibet, India, Asia, Africa etc?

  • Did the Presbyterian church fight for Tibetan human rights when the Chinese occupied their country and mercilessly subjugated their people?

  • Did the church ever intervene in centuries old Indian apartheid which so cruelly subdues some 300 hundred million ‘untouchables’ to this very day? What about their human rights?

  • Did the Presbyterians exert pressure on the Muslim/Arab nations of North Africa and the Middle East who have persecuted their Christian and Jewish minorities for centuries, down to the present time?

  • Did they divest for the human rights of the dispossessed native American Indians?

  • How about the human rights of the “occupied” and dispossessed Aborigines of Australia? And Maoris of New Zealand?

  • Currently, what interest has the Presbyterian Church shown in the horrendous slaughter of African tribesmen in Darfur (Sudan) where a genocide is in progress? Perpetrated by Arab Janjaweed militias bent on murderous ethnic cleansing?

Why Aren’t The Presbyterians Divesting?

It doesn’t take 2 years to divest. In practice, you simply call your broker and instruct him to sell all your holdings in Caterpillar, Motorola, United Technologies, ITT, Industries and Citygroup. In days or perhaps a week of two Presbyterian honor would have been upheld. Their shares would have been sold and their money safely banked.

But no shares whatever have been sold! And you know what? None might ever be sold according to an Arutz Sheva report (Oct. 14, 2005) quoting Reuters:

“The Presbyterian Church has not yet carried out its decision to get rid of investments in targeted companies, and a church spokesman told Reuters that “we’re not in a hurry.” He explained that divestment only is a last resort, depending on whether Israel carries out further expulsions of Jewish residents from Judea and Samaria.”

Of course, nothing of the kind was mentioned about “last resort” or expulsions of residents from Judea and Samaria when the campaign was launched.

Was Divestment Just An Astute PR Campaign?

Embarrassing as it may be, it seems the Presbyterians have been motivated by the Palestinians to become involved in an astute Public Relations campaign excoriating Israel.

The Presbyterians did not in fact intend to divest in the foreseeable future. But they are engaged in keeping their media fest going. Google provides over 150,000 references at this time. Anyone involved in PR must admire this remarkable achievement.

Presumably the Presbyterians will continue to issue PR statements for as long as they can keep the media hooked on this non-event of a story.

Hoist By Their Own Hoax?

One reason they have not divested is that dividends and share prices have been good – and perhaps the trend for 2006 looks good too. Losing money by divesting is not, I believe, a Presbyterian principle. There is however, a serious ethical dilemma.

Is it right to sell shares in such untouchable companies, so worthy of Presbyterian indignation . . . to unsuspecting buyers?

Should honorable believers sell tainted shares to Christian buyers? Indeed to anyone?
{} {} {}

Comments are closed.