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PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The largest Presbyterian group in the United States narrowly defeated a proposal to divest from three companies that do business with Israel.
The Presbyterian General Assembly voted 333-331, with two abstentions, to reject the divestment plan. A second vote instead affirmed a policy of investment in support of peace in Israel and the Palestinian territories.
The vote came Thursday after days of discussion and two hours of floor debate at the Presbyterian national meeting in Pittsburgh.
Jewish groups had lobbied furiously against the proposal. They said it would demonize Israel and threaten Christian-Jewish relations.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has been considering the issue since 2004. Pro-Palestinian advocates compare the Israeli occupation to apartheid in South Africa. The advocates say they will continue to press for divestment.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)