The United Methodist Church has rejected several resolutions calling for the 12-million-member Protestant church to divest from companies engaging in business with Israel over its treatment of Palestinians.
Church committees over the weekend voted down four Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions resolutions brought to a vote at the church’s quadrennial United Methodist Church General Conference in Portland, Oregon, taking place this week.
The resolutions “pretty much went down in flames,” UMC delegate and BDS opponent John Lomperis told Religion News Service on Sunday.
The resolutions would have seen UMC divestment from three companies that pro-Palestinian activists have accused of working with Israeli security forces to sustain Israel’s West Bank settlement enterprise: Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola.
Instead, the Finance Committee opted to favor a petition that had been amended into a general commitment to responsible investment of church funds.
A number of groups, including one called United Methodist Kairos Response, who prepared the resolutions for this year’s conference, had lobbied for the divestment measures at the 10-day church policy-making forum.
Similar BDS petitions in the UMC failed in both 2008 and 2012.