Simon Wiesenthal Center Condemns Methodist Pension Board for Boycotting Israeli Banks

January 13, 2016

The Simon Wiesenthal Center strongly condemned the United Methodist Church’s pension board for placing five Israeli banks on its investment blacklist. It pointed to “a prolonged and systematic pattern of human rights abuses” on Israel’s part, faulting the banks and one Israeli builder for contributing to construction in territory claimed by the Palestinian Authority. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Wiesenthal Center, reacted in disbelief: "Really? At a time when Christians are murdered, ethnically cleansed, and displaced by the hundreds of thousands across the Middle East, the Methodist Church doubles down on the only State — Israel — that protects Christians and their holy places, and targets it for divestment? What a disgrace!”

“The moral compass of the pension board is frozen in a position of animus to the Jewish State,” added Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, the Center’s Director of Interfaith Affairs. “They include Israel in a group of ‘high-risk’ abusers, alongside regimes like Saudi Arabia, the Central African Republic, and North Korea that lead the world in executions, the subjugation of women, drafting of child soldiers, genocide, rape as a weapon, and starvation of its populace,” he added.

“Israel’s crime is adding on bedrooms to pre-existing apartments. It has not added a settlement in years. The board should be going after the Palestinian Authority, which has repeatedly turned down Prime Minister Netanyahu’s invitation to unconditional, face to face negotiations, while at the same time inciting its population to butcher Israelis with knives,” Adlerstein added.

The Wiesenthal Center takes note of others in the United Methodist Church who have voiced their opposition to this biased and counterproductive decision, and hope that their more sober and considered arguments will prevail at the upcoming General Conference in May.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

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