Earlier in the week I posted some information about the resolution to divest from three companies (Hewlett Packard, Caterpillar & Motorola) working in the occupied territory with Israel. It included one link from John Bell with a summary of what was (and what wasn't) decided, as well as the actual wording of the decision. I would recommend you read that since much of what is being reported is exactly the opposite of what was actually done.
One of the consistent assertions is that the actions are anti-Israel and anti-Semitic. To be sure, some of the most vocal critics of the actions are Jewish and Israeli. Benjamin Netanyahu minced no words about his opinion of divestment. His views would certainly reflect the majority of views that have been expressed by Jews and Israelis. But it is not unanimous. There are more than a few Jewish voices that not only support the decision to divest, but actively encouraged it.
I was interested to read the text of a speech given by Rabbi Brant Rosen in Detroit last week as he was supporting the resolution to divest, as well as his follow-up article. Then there was this piece called, Two Perspectives on Presbyterian Divestment. None of the above is meant to dissuade anyone from whether or not they support the move to divest from these companies (I still have mixed feelings about it and wish another approach could have been taken). Instead, it is to underline that this was not an easy nor simple choice. It certainly is more complex than whether or not we support Israel. It reflects a conversation going on in parts of Israel and in the Jewish community in this country.
The intent of the vote was to signal our ongoing support for Israel even as we also support Palestinians rights (including thousands of Palestinian Christians) that are being ignored in the occupied territories. We want to be a part of the peace process and can't do that while we are profiting from companies that are allegedly part of the problem. The move was largely symbolic. Israel was not intended to be hurt and they weren't. The companies stock prices either held or went up after the news. We are no longer have to worry about investing in companies that we think may be obstacles to the peace process. Then again, we probably have less influence on events in that region than ever.
The problem with symbolic gestures is that what was intended to be communicated is not always what is heard. Its not unlike telling a joke. If you have to keep explaining it, you might want to rethink your approach. I'll let this article speak to that problem.