In a move that might foreshadow the larger debate in the PC(USA) General Assembly occurring in the next few days, the United Methodist pension board has divested roughly $110,000 from a company that provides security equipment to Israel.
Like the Presbyterians, the United Methodists have been discussing divesting from Israel (or, specifically, from the occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip) for years. So when the pension board made this decision, it was not without precedent.
However, according to the pension board’s chief investment officer, David Zellner, that was not the consideration that swayed them. The pension board realized that the firm G4S supplied equipment to prisons within the West Bank and Israel itself. This investment in prisons alone violated the ethical investment policy of the United Methodist Church, and apparently, it was on this basis that the stock was sold.
Still, the controversy remains. The divestment issue will come up before the PC(USA) assembly this week, and the UMC is expected to debate it again in 2016. Our General Convention is expected to take it up again in 2015. The Methodist Pension Board seems to have just postponed it.
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