Judea Pearl Testimony before the Peacemaking and International Issues Committee, Presbyterian Church General Assembly
Birmingham, Alabama, June 16, 2006
My name is Judea Pearl.
I am president of the Daniel Pearl Foundation, named after my son Daniel, who was murdered by terrorists in Pakistan, in 2002, while pursuing truth, dialogue and understanding.
Our Foundation continues his mission.
As a native of Tel Aviv, I represent a generation of over 5 million human beings who have been denied normalcy for the past 58 years, and whose plight, human face and struggle for peace have conspicuously been missing from testimonies in this debate.
In the name of Daniel’s cousins in Israel, and all members of the Israeli peace camp, I implore you to rescind the divestment resolution.
In the past four years, following the footsteps of my son, I have devoted all my energies to dialogue and reconciliation between Jews and Muslims, and I can categorically submit to you: divestment is not an instrument of peace. It is an instrument of tantrum and accusation that serves only two beneficiaries:
1. the legitimization of terror and
2. the terror of de-legitimization
Let us consider: Who would cheer this resolution if reaffirmed next week?
It would not be the Israeli or Palestinian peace camps, for dozens of bridge-building projects would be crippled by the divisive ill-feelings that boycotts and divestment create.
It is the Hamas and President Ahmadinejad who would gloat in appetite, together with the people who killed my son, and those who are threatening your sons.
Palestinian peace activist Sari Nusseibeh, President of Al Quds University in East Jerusalem, came out strongly against tactics such as boycott and divestment… And he succeeded — the British Association of University Teachers cancelled its boycott this past Sunday.
The enlightened world is moving away from impulsive finger-pointing towards constructive bridge building.
I urge you to be part of this movement — replace divestment with investment.
On June 24, 2006, delegates to the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) General Assembly in Birmingham, Ala., voted to undo their 2004 anti-Israel divestment resolution.
The language of the 2004 PCUSA resolution was replaced with new language that spoke of investment in peaceful enterprises, rather than divestment. It included an apology to Jews for the hurt that the old “flawed” measure had caused.
Delegates approved the new resolution with a 94 percent vote, after defeating two attempts by their own leadership to water it down. They then broke new ground by voting overwhelmingly to condemn all suicide bombings as crimes against humanity and to urge other churches and the United Nations to adopt a measure that would empower victims of terror to legally pursue those who incite and sponsor the real scourge of the 21st century. (Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, opinion, June 30, 2006)