The Anglican Consultative Council, A leading body for Anglican Christians, unanimously passed a resolution to put pressure on firmsÃ‚Â that support Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.
Meeting in the central English city of Nottingham on Friday, the council warned that the measure could lead to selling stocks as a last resort.
The council also recommended similar measures against businesses that support violence against innocent Israelis.
‘If we do decide to go ahead with this, then it would be in terms of corporate engagement rather than divestment,’ said Brian Grieves, a U.S. Anglican clergyman
But he added: ‘If the company is unresponsive … then you have to consider your options, of which selling the stock is one.’
The resolution has drawn criticisms from inside and outside the Church circles.
The office of Britain’s chief rabbi condemned the decision.
Also, opponents, including the former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, have argued that the resolution will antagonize Israelis and harm efforts to bring peace to the Middle East.
Yet, the resolution’s supporters say it reflects deep concern about the suffering of Palestinians.
The decision follows moves by the U.S. Presbyterian Church to consider selling holdings in companies that profit from the occupation and a statement by the World Council of Churches, a global body uniting non-Catholic Christians, backing divestment.
The Episcopal Church, the main Anglican Church in the United States, is also studying what action it might take against companies involved in home demolitions, settlement building and other activity connected with the Israeli occupation.
The council’s decisions are not binding but it is one of four key institutions in the 77-million members Anglican Church.
The resolution also encourages churches to back investments supporting the infrastructure of a future Palestinian state.