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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Friday, February 17, 2006
    Letter to Neville
     
    A letter to Neville White

    Dear Mr White

    As you know, on the 6th February the General Synod of the Church of England backed a motion calling for a divestment of shares held by the Church of England in companies profiting from Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian territories, in particular Caterpillar Inc.

    I note that in your capacity as Secretary of the Ethical Investment Advisory Group you told the Jewish News on the 10th February that the General Synod had “no power to mandate” and that the EIAG would not be altering its position against disinvestment following the vote.

    This very clear statement, widely reported, seems to pre-empt any discussion within the Ethical Investment Advisory Group, and this concerns me.

    You will be aware of the full body of the motion passed in synod, but I reproduce it here for clarity.

    "This Synod:

    1. heeds the call from our sister church, the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, for morally responsible investment in the Palestinian occupied territories and, in particular, to disinvest from companies profiting from the illegal occupation, such as Caterpillar Inc, until they change their policies;

    2. encourages the Ethical Investment Advisory Group to follow up the consultation referred to in its Report with intensive discussions with Caterpillar Inc, 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 etc.;

    3. in the light of the urgency of the situation and the increased support needed by Palestinian Christians, urges members of the EIAG to actively engage with monitoring the effects of Caterpillar Inc's machinery in the Palestinian territories through visiting the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East to learn of their concerns first hand, and to see recent house demolitions;

    4. urges the EIAG to give weight to the illegality under international law of the activities in which Caterpillar Inc's equipment is involved; and

    5. urges the EIAG to respond to the monitoring visit and the further discussions with Caterpillar by updating its recommendations in the light of these."

    My question to you is this - will the EIAG be taking the steps requested in points 2 to 5 above before deciding whether or not to alter its position against disinvestment following the vote?

    I await your reply with interest
    Yours sincerely
    John Davies


    Why not drop him a line yourself. He and Rowan would, I hope, love to hear from you.

    [POSTSCRIPT 21/2/06: Download Neville's reply.]