United Church of Canada Votes to Boycott Some Israeli Products
The United Church of Canada, Canada's largest Protestant denomination, has approved a recommendation to boycott products produced in Israeli settlements located within Palestinian territories -- the West Bank and the Gaza Strip -- with the intent of putting pressure on the Israeli government to stop expansion of the settlements, the Religion News Service reports. The church's General Council approved the recommendation August 15 and approved a policy paper August 17 at its meeting in Ottawa. More than 250 elected delegates met for the eight-day event that concluded Saturday. The boycott proposal is part of a package of measures presented by a task group charged to advise the denomination on how to contribute to peace initiatives between Israel and the Palestinians. The report prepared by the Working Group on Israel-Palestine Policy says the occupation is "the primary contributor to the injustice that underlies the violence of the region" and calls Israeli settlements "a serious obstacle" to peace. Similar moves to divest, or pull church investments, from Israeli companies in the West Bank and Gaza have failed in the U.S. in the United Methodist Church, the Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church (USA).