Friday, August 12, 2005

Presbyterians give great investment advice

A column by Vincent Carroll:
Last week the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. announced it would pursue "progressive engagement" with five companies whose activities, in the church's view, contribute "to the ongoing violence that plagues Israel and Palestine." So let's see how evenhanded the church is in its ramped-up activism toward the Middle East.

Four of the companies - United Technologies, Motorola, Caterpillar and ITT Industries - sell equipment or technology to Israel. The fifth, Citigroup, reportedly transferred money from charities that turned out to be fronts for terrorist groups, a charge Citigroup describes as an "outrage."

In short, the Presbyterian Church will address Palestinian violence by demanding that one company stop doing something it may not even be doing, and which it certainly wouldn't want to do, while it will address Israeli behavior by seeking to strip that country of material essential to fighting and defeating terrorists.

By the church's own description, United Technologies provides helicopters "used in attacks in the occupied territories against suspected Palestinian terrorists." Suspected? Was the Hamas leader Shaikh Ahmad Yasin only "suspected" of engineering terrorism, for example, when Israeli gunships caught up with him last year in Gaza?

The church's anti-Israel position is grounded in the belief that the font of violence in that region is the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, together with Jewish settlements. A 2003 resolution by the church general assembly actually says that "Since the war of June 1967 . . . (the Israeli-Palestinian) conflict has generally been characterized by violence" - as if the period from 1948 to '67 weren't just as bloody.

In the wake of 9/11, there's simply no excuse for misconceiving the ambitions of the Islamic extremists who compose a nontrivial portion of Israel's sworn enemies. It's time for Presbyterian congregations around the country to pull their leadership back from the edge of this moral crater.
He is of course right, but he misses the fantastic investment opportunities being handed to us by the PCUSA. Based on the Presbyterians' track record, you may want to invest in these four Israel-linked stocks. PCUSA originally targeted Caterpillar in June of 2004, and check out what happened since then (compared to the Dow Jones Industrial Average):

Not too shabby!