The United Methodist Church, one of the largest denominations in the United States, voted against four resolutions calling for divestment in companies that do business in Israel at their quadrennial convention in Portland over the weekend.
The resolutions called on the church to divest from Catepillar, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola. Similar divestment resolutions failed in both 2008 and 2012.
Democratic frontrunner and lifelong Methodist Hillary Clinton wrote an open letter  last week calling such boycotts “counterproductive to the pursuit of peace.” Many observers believed that her comments were related to the boycott proposals.
Many states have also expressed their opposition to boycotts of Israel in recent months. Last week, Iowa became the eighth  state to enact legislation preventing the state from affiliating with boycotters of Israel. The New Jersey state senate passed  a similar measure last week.
Boycott supporters often portray their movement as part of a protest against Israeli policies, but critics have accused it of being discriminatory  in tone and intention, and pointed out that many of its leaders have publicly affirmed  that they seek Israel’s destruction. BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti, an opponent of the two-state solution, said  in 2014 that Palestinians have a right to “resistance by any means, including armed resistance,” while leading activist As’ad Abu Khalil acknowledged  in 2012 that “the real aim of BDS is to bring down the state of Israel.”
[Photo: James Emery / Flickr ]