Presbyterians to consider Middle East resolutions in Birmingham

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly will consider its Middle East resolutions at a general business session during the afternoon of June 21.

The session is scheduled to run from 2 to 5:30 p.m. at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex. The overall conference is scheduled to end at noon on June 22.

According to the conference schedule, the Peacemaking and International Issues will present its recommendations during that session. Also reporting will be the General Assembly Procedures, Health Issues and Bills and Overtures committees.

A compromise Overture was hammered out Saturday night, replacing the charged term “divestment” without specifically revoking it. It is replaced by a call for “financial investments of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), as they pertain to Israel, Gaza, East Jerusalem, and the West Bank, (to) be invested in only peaceful pursuits.”

The Committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment will still be charged with “corporate engagement” of offending companies. A recommendation of divestment can still be made, but would have to be passed at a future GA.

The new resolution is seen as taking a step back from the charged language of the 2004 resolution, which was widely criticized as one-sided against Israel.