Leaders of the US Presbyterian Church today backed a revised proposal calling for the United States to end all aid to Israel unless the Israeli government halts expansion of settlements in the occupied territories.
The 172-page proposal is actually a considerable step back on a number of issues, however, removing calls for divestment from Israeli companies and removing a comparison of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories to apartheid in South Africa. The statement also adds repeated declarations that the church supports Israel’s “right to exist” as an exclusively Jewish state. Previously the church had called for a “one state solution” in which Christians, Jews and Muslims all had equal rights, something Israel has condemned as unacceptable.
A previous statement in 2004 had provoked the ire of pro-Israel groups, and a public condemnation from a number of Congressmen who claimed the Presbyterian Church was “jeopardizing the existence of the State of Israel” and calling for the Department of Commerce to take action against them.
The Presbyterian Church of the United States is one of the largest Reformed denominations in the US, and has between 2-3 million members.