Last week, the United Church of Canada passed a resolution calling for the boycott of all Israeli goods produced in settlements on the West Bank.
The resolution is based on a 29-page report put together by the church’s Working Group on Israel/Palestine Policy and encouraged members of the church “to avoid any and all products produced in the settlements,” requests that the Canadian government ensure that “all products produced in the settlements be labeled clearly and differently from products of Israel,” and requests that products produced in the settlements “not be given preferential treatment under the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement”.
ARZA Canada has issued a statement strongly criticizing the resolution and calling it “unfair” and “biased”. You can read the full statement below.
For more background information and reactions to the resoluton read Andy Levy-Ajzenkopf’s article in The Canadian Jewish News here.
United Chuch of Canada resolution on Israel/Palestine
Statement from ARZA Canada
The United Church of Canada
It is with deep disappointment that we witnessed a very unfair and biased approach to Israel by our fellow Canadians in the United Church of Canada. The resolution passed last week is in no way helpful to the cause of Israel/Palestine peace and may now cause a rift between the Canadian Jewish population and many members of the United Church of Canada.
"I understand that there are many views regarding political solutions to the problem", said Les Rothschild, President of ARZA Canada, "but to address it through the use of a boycott is wrong. A boycott that only targets Israelis is not an effective or correct way to deal with an issue, as it implies that there is only one party that is to blame and that is simply not true."
The fact that there was no mention or apparent concern about the terrorism and hardship that Israelis are suffering seems to indicate that the moderate and balanced voices in the United Church of Canada have been silenced.
"Canadian Reform Congregations have had a recent history of working together with the
United Church of Canada Congregations and this recent action has put the work of this inter-denominational activity in jeopardy." continued Rothschild.
"ARZA Canada is particularly concerned with the part of the resolution that states the United Church has reversed its previous position and now does not require the Palestinians to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state. We fundamentally disagree. For peace to be achieved ARZA Canada expects all parties concerned to recognize Israel as a Jewish state."
The one sided nature of the approach and the fact that no other nation in the world except Israel was singled out for any wrong doing leads many in our community to believe that this is a blatant anti Israel approach. ARZA Canada hopes that in the future the idea of upholding Israel's right to exist as a strong Jewish and Democratic nation would be at the forefront of any proposed thought and action.
We hope that with time the United Church of Canada will recognize the very misguided
approach that they have taken to a very complicated situation.
President, ARZA Canada
The Zionist Voice of Reform Judaism in Canada