Presbyterians say move to pull investments modelled on campaign against apartheid in South Africa.
A leading Christian church in the United States has endorsed a policy of divestment to protest Israel's policies towards Palestinians, deciding to sell church stock in three companies whose products Israel uses in the occupied territories.
The Presbyterian Church (USA) general assembly voted on Friday by a razor-thin margin, 310-303, to sell stocks in Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions.
Carol Hylkema of the Israel/Palestine Mission Network, a Presbyterian group that advocates for Palestinians and spearheaded the drive for divestment, said their action was modelled on the divestment movement to end apartheid in South Africa.
"It was because of divestment that we were able to break the apartheid in South Africa," Johnnie Monroe, a pro-divestment Presbyterian, told Al Jazeera. "The church has to make a moral stance for moral justice."
A church spokeswoman estimated the value of the Presbyterian holdings in the three companies at US$21m.
Two years ago, the general assembly rejected a similar divestment proposal by two votes.
Heath Rada, moderator for the church meeting held in the US city of Detroit, said immediately after the vote that "in no way is this a reflection of our lack of love for our Jewish brothers and sisters."
The decision is expected to reverberate well beyond the church.
"It was a vote heard halfway around the world in Israel," Al Jazeera's John Hendren, reporting from Detroit, said.
In a separate vote, the assembly also voted to re-examine its historic support for a two-state solution.Read the rest here.
*****Comment: Excellent decision despite the thin margin.
BOYCOTT ISRAEL !!!