Canada's United Church affirms settlements boycott

Church votes to boycott goods produced in the West Bank, East Jerusalem; Jewish organizations voice outrage at decision.

Christian cross 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Christian cross 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Members of the United Church of Canada, the country’s largest Protestant denomination, voted on Wednesday to affirm a controversial motion supporting a boycott of goods produced in Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The boycott has has outraged many Jewish groups, including the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs, which expressed it's anger by "the decision to single out Israeli communities for boycott."
“In choosing this morally reckless path, the United Church has equally dismissed the concerns of the overwhelming majority of the Canadian Jewish community." said David Koschitzky, Chair of the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs.
"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,” he continued.
A survey conducted by the Center found the proposals are in conflict with the views of the United Church members, of which more than three-quarters (78%) of Church members surveyed believe the Church should remain neutral on the issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
According to the survey, only 5% of Church members believe Israeli settlements are the greatest obstacle to peace. Moreover, the majority of those surveyed believe that a Middle East policy favoring one side over the other would weaken the Church's credibility as a voice for peace.
B'nai Brith Canada also came forth to condemn the recommendations passed by the Church, claiming that whilst "thousands of Syrians [are being] murdered, the United Church is still obsessed with Israeli cucumbers."
In May, the United Church’s Working Group on Israel and Palestine Policy released a report with recommendations hoping they would help to ease the violence in the region.
The report’s 13 recommendations, which will be voted on Friday, also call for the Canadian government to start identifying products coming from Israel’s occupied areas.