Mainline Protestants Begin to Divest from Israel: A Moral Imperative or “Effective” Anti-Semitism?

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VOL. 35

2005/06

No. 1
P. 44
Report
Mainline Protestants Begin to Divest from Israel: A Moral Imperative or “Effective” Anti-Semitism?
ABSTRACT

A campaign to divest selectively in corporations doing business in Israel, which began on American university campuses and then ebbed, has been adopted and reinvigorated by important mainline Protestant churches, especially the Presbyterian Church in the United States (PC[USA]). This article examines the PC(USA)’s catalytic role in the divestment movement, the backlash within church ranks, and the evolving positions of other Protestant denominations. The determined opposition by Jewish groups and the dampening effect of accusations of “functional anti-Semitism” are also discussed. While its ultimate effectiveness is impossible to predict, the divestment movement is in motion and is gaining consequential advocates. DUNCAN L. CLARKE is director of the U.S. foreign policy field at American University’s School of International Service in Washington, DC. He co-authored an early draft of this article with his graduate assistant, Alice Hunt, who conducted some of the interviews. He is grateful to members of the clergy and others who commented on the draft article.


Duncan L. Clarke is director of the U.S. foreign policy field at American University’s School of International Service in Washington, DC. He co-authored an early draft of this article with his graduate assistant, Alice Hunt, who conducted some of the interviews. He is grateful to members of the clergy and others who commented on the draft article.