LONDON (EJP) --- The Church of Scotland has rejected a motion to divest in companies whose products are used by Israel in the territories.
The Church's General Assembly, its highest court, instead accepted a motion that calls on British foreign secretary, Margaret Beckett, to use her influence, both as a representative of the British government and in cooperation with her colleagues within the European Union, to encourage Hamas to issue a statement recognising the State of Israel’s right to exist.
The motion also explicitly recognised Israel’s right to security, rejected boycott initiatives by bodies attempting to make a stand and influence the situation and called for economic engagement and cooperation on both sides.
Simon McIlwaine, coordinator of Anglicans for Israel, said: “We congratulate the General Assembly for having the courage to stand against the militants and, naturally, we recommend that Anglicans seek to emulate the good sense displayed by the Church of Scotland.”
The vote follows Tuesday’s General Assembly decision that called on the EU and the World Council of Churches to clearly identify products that come from “illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands”.
The General Assembly wants clear identification of products that come from settlements to enable consumers to make informed decisions on whether or not to purchase them.
The General Assembly meets once a year and has the authority to make laws determining how the Church of Scotland operates. The Church of Scotland has around 1,400 active ministers, 1,200 congregations and a membership of approximately 600,000, which comprises of around 12 percent of the population of Scotland.