As her church prepares to vote on a motion to divest from three companies doing business in Israel, Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton condemned the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, JTA reported.
Clinton, a practicing Methodist, responded to a letter from the Israel Action Network drawing attention to the fact that the Methodist Church was considering the anti-Israel move. Although she did not mention the church specifically, in her two-page response she unequivocally denounced the BDS movement as counterproductive to peace and harmful to both Israelis and Palestinians.
“I believe that BDS seeks to punish Israel and dictate how the Israelis and Palestinians should resolve the core issues of their conflict,” Clinton wrote.
“I know you agree that we need to make countering BDS a priority, and that we need to work together — across party lines and with a diverse array of voices — to reverse this trend with information and advocacy, and fight back against further attempts to isolate and delegitimize Israel,” the letter continues.
“I stand ready to be your partner as we engage all people of good faith — regardless of their political persuasion or their views on policy specifics — in explaining why the BDS campaign is counterproductive to the pursuit of peace and harmful to Israelis and Palestinians alike,” Clinton concludes.
Clinton is known to stand opposed to BDS; she publicly rejected the movement in her March address to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference. She traces her support for the Jewish State to the early 1980s, when she visited as First Lady. She continued to back Israel as senator of New York from 2001 to 2009 and as Secretary of State during President Barack Obama’s first term.
While Clinton favors a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, she does not believe that pressuring Israel with economic sanctions will lead to a fair and equitable resolution.
The quadrennial United Methodist Church General Conference is set to begin this Tuesday in Portland, Oregon. Among over one thousand proposals being considered at the conference are four resolutions calling on the church to divest from Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola, three companies which pro-Palestinian activists accuse of cooperating with Israeli security forces to sustain the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria, the Biblical heartland of Israel. Palestinians wish to establish their own state on the same land and contend that settlement expansion, a factor of natural growth, is harming their prospects of doing so.
This would not be the first time the Methodist Church took a financial stand against Israel. In January, the church pension fund removed five Israeli banks from its portfolio, claiming the investments went against their policy of avoiding investment in “high risk countries”, as well as their commitment to human rights.