Doug Smith of the Israel-Palestine Task Force of the California-Nevada Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church is taking part in a corporate engagement trip to Israel and Palestine, February 5-12, sponsored by the Ecumenical Action Group for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine.
He is the only Cal-Nev representative. His participation was funded in part by a grant from the Conference Board of Church and Society.
During the week-long trip, Smith will interview American-owned companies and document the impact of Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories, as part of the process of implementing the resolution passed at Annual Conference Session in June.
Item 16, adopted in Plenary, calls for the task force to "examine and submit to investment managers for United Methodist congregations and institutions in the … Conference a list of companies that support in a significant way the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories." It stipulates that the task force shall write to those companies requesting a change in their relationship to the occupation. If no change in policy is reported within 90 days, the company's name is to be placed on a divestment list – and all UM churches and investment managers will be urged to consider divesting from the companies on that list.
In addition to developing recommendations for divestment by the conference and individuals, Smith will gather material for workshops at local churches.
He will share his observations and reflections during the trip by blogging on the Conference Communications Office Facebook page - where he also will post photos.
Visit the Communications Facebook page daily, February 5-12, and click on the "Just Fans" button to catch Smith's blog entries and view his photos from Israel and Palestine.