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Sabeel and other NGOs Fight Church of England Freeze on Caterpillar Disinvestment

NGO Monitor
March 23, 2006

A coalition of around fifteen groups, including War on Want and Friends of Sabeel UK, have begun a campaign to get individual churches in the UK to withdraw their finances from the Church of England's Central Board of Finance (CBF). This comes in response to the Church's Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG) that voted unanimously not to disinvest from Caterpillar, contrary to the 6 February vote of the General Synod for "morally responsible investment."

Rev Stephen Sizer, Vice Chair of Friends of Sabeel UK and a major opponent of Christian Zionism, appears to be leading the campaign. Sizer told The Guardian that "[t]hey [the Synod] must withdraw from Caterpillar, or we will take our money back, and other parishes will do the same." He said that the number of churches boycotting the CBF could rise to hundreds as the campaign gathers momentum and also alleged that outside parties were controlling the EIAG when he claimed that "There appear to be other interests at work here, besides those of the Church."

Other Sabeel Activity

Sabeel held a conference entitled "Pursue Justice Seek Peace" in Washington on 3-4 March. Speakers included head of Sabeel, Dr. Naim Ateek as well as Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, Liat Weingart of Jewish Voice for Peace, Quaker Peace Activist Jean Zaru from Ramallah, Rev. Dr. Don Wagner, a Presbyterian Minister/Professor, Bill Fletcher of TransAfrica; Prof. Susan Akram of Boston University; Sara Roy of Harvard University;

In an address to a group of United Methodists from the USA in Jerusalem on 25 January, Sabeel head, Dr. Naim Ateek repeated his position on the illegitimacy of Israel, declaring "ultimately, the best solution is one state." He also said that his organization was working towards a two-state solution despite this opinion. The Methodist group heard from other highly politicized NGO representatives in their trip, including ICAHD, Badil, ARIJ, B'Tselem and the Palestinian Civil Society for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Against Israel.

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