Shalom Life | December 20, 2014

United Church Votes to Boycott Israeli Settlement Products

CIJA outraged by decision, which they say deters peace process

By: Sammy Hudes

Published: August 16th, 2012 in News » World

United Church Votes to Boycott Israeli Settlement Products

The General Council of the United Church of Canada (UCC), the country’s largest Protestant denomination, voted Wednesday to support a motion calling for a boycott of products produced in Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The vote all but approved the resolution, as the final vote is now scheduled for Friday, when the General Council can choose to accept or reject an overall motion that includes such recommendations.

Members in attendance at the 41st General Council, which took place at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ont., debated the proposal for roughly six hours as representatives from both sides of the issue gave their testimonies, according to the Toronto Star.

The proposed boycott was initially put forward by a working group, appointed by the UCC, who spent two years studying ways to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“In choosing this morally reckless path, the United Church has equally dismissed the concerns of the overwhelming majority of the Canadian Jewish community. No mainstream Jewish organization, including Canadian Friends of Peace Now, endorses Boycott. Even the leadership of the American left-wing group J-Street has publicly condemned boycotts as counterproductive,” said David Koschitzky, chair of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), in a press release.

“Support for the boycott tactic is limited to a small fringe. Tragically, the UCC chose to join that fringe, rather than listen to the nearly 100,000 families who are members of Jewish Federations across Canada, and on whose behalf the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs speaks. The Church equally ignored some 70 Canadian Rabbis of all streams and from every province, representing tens of thousands of Canadian Jewish families, who made their opposition known in writing.”

The proposal is one of about 130 that commissioners have been discussing this week. The General Council meets every three years to elect a new church moderator and approve new policies, according to the National Post.

In July, nine Canadian senators, all of whom are United Church members and a mix of both Conservatives and Liberals, sent a letter to the UCC condemning the proposed boycott for being too one-sided. The senators indicated that they were concerned their denomination has now lost credibility in its role as a concerned third party in the Middle East conflict.

“It’s baffling that — aside from a passing request that all parties reject violence — the Church’s [proposal] does not mention a single expectation of the Palestinians in its recommendations,” the letter stated. “To put it bluntly, the Church cannot maintain credibility in criticizing Israeli policies while relieving the Palestinian leadership of its own duty to advance peace.”

In response to the letter, Bruce Gregersen, lead staff member of the working group that produced the resolution, wrote back to the senators explaining that while the UCC appreciated the concern shown for the church’s relationship with the Canadian Jewish community, choosing to “remain neutral in respect to the difficult realities of the region is not acceptable after 45 years of continued occupation.”

Following Wednesday’s vote, Gregersen called it a “significant step” towards a full approval of the boycott by the UCC.

“The mind of the council is pretty clear. The main recommendations were approved by a fairly overwhelming vote,” said Gregersen, noting that he does not believe the proposal to be anti-Israel.

“We are solidly behind Israel as a legitimate Jewish state. We don’t want to demonize in any way Israel or Jewish people,” he said. “The problem is the occupation and the settlements.”

But CIJA CEO Shimon Fogel condemned the proposal, calling its near-approval an “outrage” to Canada’s Jewish community.

“The reaction of the Jewish community is one of unbridled outrage. It is beyond comprehension that [the UCC] would choose to so skew a commentary on the conflict and come out with so one-sided an approach,” said Fogel.

Of Course There's Gay Erotic Hanukkah Fiction Of Course There's Gay Erotic Hanukkah Fiction TrendingSomeone Made a Remix of Sia's "Chandelier" Featuring Vocals From Benjamin Netanyahu Someone Made a Remix of Sia's "Chandelier" Featuring Vocals From Benjamin Netanyahu TrendingHistoric Six-Day War Photo Recreated at Western Wall Historic Six-Day War Photo Recreated at Western Wall Trending
 

Top 50 Hottest Jewish Women of 2014 (30-21)

December 19, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Top 50 Hottest Jewish Women of 2014 (30-21)

Join Shalom Life in celebrating the 50 most talented, intelligent, funny, and beautiful Jewish women of the year.

Read More

Analyst Suggests Qatar 'Give' World Cup 2022 to Gaza

December 19, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Analyst Suggests Qatar 'Give' World Cup 2022 to Gaza

Tom Gross argues that the move would be beneficial for Palestinians in Israel

Read More

Natalie Portman Explains How 'Star Wars' Almost Ruined Her Career

December 19, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Natalie Portman Explains How 'Star Wars' Almost Ruined Her Career

The 'Black Swan' actress says no one wanted to work with her after 'Star Wars'

Read More

Liberace's Hologram to Go On World Tour, Starting in Las Vegas

December 19, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Liberace's Hologram to Go On World Tour, Starting in Las Vegas

The deceased performer will be entertaining a whole new generation of fans.

Read More

Adam Levine's Maroon 5 Rock Out at The People Magazine Awards [VIDEO]

December 19, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Adam Levine's Maroon 5 Rock Out at The People Magazine Awards [VIDEO]

On Thursday evening, Maroon 5 wowed the audience with a live performance of 'Animals'

Read More

Oops! Drake Confused Adam Silver for Donald Sterling

December 19, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Oops! Drake Confused Adam Silver for Donald Sterling

At the Toronto Raptors Drake night, Drake mixed up some important names.

Read More

Ambassador Dan Shapiro Urges U.S. Collaboration with Jerusalem College of Technology

December 19, 2014 | By ShalomLife Team
Ambassador Dan Shapiro Urges U.S. Collaboration with Jerusalem College of Technology

Shapiro visited the college for a private demonstration of several ground-breaking technologies developed by students

Read More

This British Politician Is Trying to Put an End to Racism & anti-Semitism on Twitter

December 19, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
This British Politician Is Trying to Put an End to Racism & anti-Semitism on Twitter

Luciana Berger, the subject of some 2,500 anti-Semitic tweets earlier this year, wants the platform to ban racist words

Read More

More Headlines