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Friday, February 24, 2017
Anglican investment body rejects Synod view of Caterpillar
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¬†The Church of England's Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG) has said it will not recommend disinvestment from the controversial US company Caterpillar - in spite of a Synod vote calling for the Church to stop investing in the company. The Church of England currently invests about £2.5m of its £900m share portfolio in Caterpillar. Christians in the Middle East have urged the Anglican Church "to disinvest from companies profiting from the illegal occupation." A War on Want report on Caterpillar, gave evidence that thousands of Palestinian homes and vast swathes of agricultural land have been destroyed by the Israeli military, using armoured Caterpillar D9 bulldozers. The bulldozers have also been used in the construction of Israel's Separation Wall, ruled illegal by the International Court of Justice in July 2004. One of the company's machines killed American peace activist Rachel Corrie two years ago. The Synod urged that the EIAG hold intensive discussions with Caterpillar, "with a view to its withdrawing from supplying or maintaining either equipment or parts for use by the state of Israel in demolishing Palestinian homes." It said that EIAG should give weight to the "illegality under international law" of the activities in which Caterpillar was involved and said that the EIAG should update its recommendations. The Archbishop of Canterbury was one of the Synod members who voted to disinvest. But later he wrote to the Chief Rabbi regretting as "unfortunate" the Church of England's decision to review its investments in Israel. He said: "It is specially unfortunate that this has arisen at a time when, as we are well aware, anti-Semitism is a growing menace and when the State of Israel faces some very particular challenges not only in respect of the new administration in the territories administered by the Palestinian Authority but also elsewhere in the region." He then explained: "The Synod has not, by this action, resolved to disinvest." The calls to disinvest had set off a barrage of criticism from Jewish groups and some prominent members of the church, including the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, who said he was "ashamed to be an Anglican." In a statement issued on Tuesday, the EIAG has unanimously reaffirmed a previous decision, taken in September 2005, not to disinvest in Caterpillar. The EIAG says it will instead continue its programme of engagement with Caterpillar and make clear its intention of revisiting this decision "only if there are new sales of Caterpillar equipment to the Israeli defence forces for use in the demolition of Palestinian houses." Source: CoE/BBC
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