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ADL Dismayed By World Council of Churches Decision to Pursue Divestment As Means to Punish Israel

New York, NY, February 22, 2005 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is deeply dismayed by a recommendation adopted by the World Council of Churches (WCC) Central Committee encouraging its member churches to consider divesting from companies doing business in Israel, modeled after a similar measure being considered by the Presbyterian Church (USA).

The Central Committee, the main governing body of the WCC, approved the recommendation for a policy of "phased, selective divestment from multinational corporations involved in the (Israeli) occupation," at a meeting on February 21 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, and Rabbi Gary Bretton-Granatoor, ADL Director of Interfaith Affairs, issued the following statement:

We are deeply dismayed that the World Council of Churches has endorsed a divestment policy against Israel.  The Council's call for divestment is based on a biased, one-sided interpretation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that unfairly portrays Israel as the perpetrator of alleged violations of international law, while failing to acknowledge myriad other factors in the conflict, not least the sustained campaign of Palestinian terror that is at the root of Israel's actions in the West Bank and Gaza.

As we have said repeatedly in conversation with Presbyterian Church leaders, divestment policies are counterproductive and a detriment to the newly revived peace initiative between the Israelis and Palestinians, and fundamentally flawed as a mechanism for resolving the conflict.  Divestment hurts not only Israel, but has economic impact on Palestinians as well. 

It is especially unfortunate that the World Council of Churches approved this policy without any consultation with Jewish leaders, and that its policy statement is wrapped in the garb of "religious truth," rather than as an interpretation of international law.  Interpretations of international law are simply that, and not revealed religious truths.


The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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Background: The Anti-Israel Divestment Campaign
Mainline Protestant Leaders Urged To Reject Divestment (11/29/04)
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