Methodist pension board rejects divestment petition


The Methodist Pension Board rejected a proposal to divest from companies that supply products to Israel’s military.

The United Methodist General Board of Pension and Health Benefits unanimously approved a resolution earlier this month that would allow the board to continue to invest in Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions and Hewlett-Packard. Petitioners had called for divestment from the three companies, saying that they supply products to Israel that are used to violate the human rights of Palestinians.


The board resolved to continue to urge the companies to protect and respect human rights, as well as to seek a remedy for any human rights violations including, but not limited to, the Palestinians.

“The board of directors strongly believes that divesting of stock in a company where you have a dispute is not an effective tool to impact a company’s policy or practices,” said Tim Smith, a member of the board of directors’ United Methodist Church Principles Committee. “If you sell stock as a protest, another investor simply purchases it. As an investor, having a seat at the table with a company has generally proved to be a more powerful means of communicating with a company’s management.”

The resolution “commends the work of faithful United Methodists to bring about a lasting peace in the Middle East and continues to pray for an end to human rights abuses throughout the world.”

The executive committee of the Presbyterian Church (USA) voted last month to recommend divestment from the same companies.

The United Methodist Church will meet April 24 to May 4 in Tampa, Fla. The Presbyterian Church will meet June 30 to July 7 in Pittsburgh, Pa.