The United Church of Canada has released the 26 page report of its Working Group on Israel/Palestine Policy, which the church will consider introducing as policy when the denomination’s 41st General Council convenes in Ottawa August 11-18. The Working Group indicates that its recommendations were put forth in search of truth, justice, and reconciliation when in fact it does little or nothing of the sort. It refers to Israel as the “thief,” the “occupier,” and the “oppressor,” and compares Israeli policies to those of South Africa under apartheid, and more shockingly to Sudan, despite the fact that people from Africa risk their lives to get to Israel to escape the Islamist apartheid rampant throughout African countries such as Sudan, South Sudan and Nigeria, to name but a few.
While acknowledging Israel’s right to exist, this biased and scathing report against Israel calls for “Christian economic action” against it, and points out that Canada does not recognize permanent Israeli control over territories occupied in 1967. Nevertheless it omits that these territories — under dispute — were taken by Israel in adefensive war, the second that united Arab countries had initiated against it since Israel’s founding in 1948. It is difficult to imagine a view advanced by the United Church working group, along with the automatic majority of autocracies in the United Nations, that countries which start wars and then lose them should be rewarded. The Group also omits that Canada is the greatest friend to Israel and that it opposes anti-Israel labels, as well as attempts to exterminate Israel economically by means of divestment, boycotts and sanctions (BDS).
Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird recognized immediately what this working group failed to recognize: he stated in May that “the world cannot take the words of Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran as mere rhetoric and risk appeasing these malicious actors in the same way the world appeased the Nazis.… Under our prime minister, and under this foreign minister, Canada will stand with the Jewish state and people as they struggle to protect their very right to exist.”
The three-member working group exerts a feeble attempt to justify the contents of its report by stating that anti-Semitism does not entail calling Israel into so-called accountability. In addressing the report’s repeated referral to Israel as the “occupier,” the so-called “occupation” must be understood through the lens of the historic 1967 six day war of which an inevitable preventative strike by Israel against the nations of Syria, Egypt, Jordan and Iraq occurred as these nations were preparing for a united attack upon the Jewish State.
The Syrian Defense Minister, Hafez Assad, and President Abdur Rahman Aref of Iraq had both declared that it was time to wipe out Israel’s existence (reminiscent of Iran today), and Egypt — preparing for war — had illegally closed off the Gulf of Aqaba in preparation for attack. In response, Israel launched a preventative strike and won the strategic territories of the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula (Egypt), the West Bank and East Jerusalem (from Jordan), and the Golan Heights (from Syria) – all land which it is accused today of “occupying,” even after giving back to Egypt 100% of its land in exchange for a peace treaty that as of this writing might be in danger of being abrogated by Egypt.
Israel’s having taken this land in war was not from greed, but for Israel’s strategic survival against mortal enemies that sought its destruction. With this in mind, it is worth remembering that nearly every state has achieved its current existence as a result of wars, most from greed. Our continent is no exception. According to the criteria of the stone-throwers against Israel, we too are “occupiers” on native lands, which includes the three-member United Church working group, who, being themselves “occupiers,” have their own Christian “sins” to contend with.
Another historic event alluded to by the working group is the war that broke out when the British withdrew from the Palestinian region in 1948. The British Response to Jewish immigration in fact set a precedent of appeasing the Arabs – a practice followed for the duration of the Mandate for Palestine. The British placed restrictions on Jewish immigration while allowing Arabs freely to enter the country. As the British withdrew from the region in May 1948, Israel was attacked immediately (the next day) by five surrounding Arab nations. While acknowledging the attack on Israel, the working group report nevertheless emphasizes the Palestinian refugees created by this war, while leaving out the fact that Palestinian Arabs continued to refuse to recognize Israel, and instead began launching terrorist attacks from the Palestinian Arab community that became increasingly organized and dangerous through the course of time with the creation of the Palestinian Liberation Organization of which Yasser Arafat would eventually become Chairman. The Palestinian Authority in its revised charter still calls for the elimination of Israel, by stating that the revised charter incorporates everything in the previous version.