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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘United Church’

Canadian Foreign Minister: ‘We’re Israel’s Best Friend’

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

At the end of a week in which the United Church of Canada, that country’s largest Protestant denomination called for a boycott of goods produced in “illegal” Israeli settlements, including East Jerusalem, Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird declared that “Israel has no greater friend in the world today than Canada.”

The foreign minister was addressing the American Jewish Committee World Leaders Plenary, attended by an audience of more than 1,500, including many ambassadors in Washington, D.C. The foreign ministers of Cyprus and Germany also spoke at that Global Forum session.

“Our strong support for Israel is not about politics at home, and certainly not about winning popularity contests at the United Nations. Canada certainly has the scars to show for it,” Baird said. “It’s about values.”

Canada’s pro-Israel position, he said, was a matter of principle, based on the values of “freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law” that Canada shares with Israel and the U.S.

“At the UN and elsewhere, we make it clear that Israel’s right to exist is non-negotiable. We vote against one-sided and unfair resolutions,” he said.

Canada has not always been so friendly to Israel, said Baird, who recalled two incidents in his own career when his suggestions to speak up for the Jewish state were rebuffed as naive and politically unrealistic.

“That is no longer how Canada operates,” he declared, “Not under this Foreign Minister. And not under this Prime Minister.” Baird’s speech was interrupted by frequent applause.

The current Canadian government “rejects the concept of moral relativism in international relations,” said Baird, adding that in Canada’s view “liberal democracies and international terrorist groups are not equal.”

Baird remarked that over the decades Canada has “paid a high toll for the principles that guide us” in fighting against hatred and intolerance, and in defense of freedom, democracy and dignity in two world wars and other conflicts around the world.

“In Afghanistan, we have invested billions of dollars and sacrificed more than 150 lives to ensure that country never again becomes a haven for terrorism,” said Baird.

Baird also expressed his country’s commitment to human rights, specifically denouncing Iran for its persecution of women, Christians and Baha’i; China for driving Christianity underground; and Egypt for its treatment of Coptic Christians.

And he pointed out that AJC, similarly, “does important advocacy work” not just for Jews but supports “dignity and respect for all peoples.”

The Foreign Minister also stressed the importance of economic prosperity for areas of the world that are beset with unrest and violence. He described his government’s success in providing “jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity.”

Noting that Canada has the third largest oil reserves in the world, Baird spoke of the potential benefits to his country and the U.S. of the Keystone XL pipeline project, which AJC strongly supports.

Incidentally, the United Church of Canada report will be considered by the Church’s General Council, which meets in Ottawa in August. Until then, the report is not yet official Church policy.

Canadian Protestants Call for Settlement Boycott

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Soon after the Methodist Church had decided not to support divestments from Israel,  Canada’s largest Protestant denomination is calling for a boycott of goods produced in “illegal” Israeli settlements, including East Jerusalem.

In a 26-page report released May 1, the United Church of Canada calls for an economic boycott of Israel focused exclusively on settlement products. The reports calls for “a church-wide campaign of economic action directed against one or more settlement products that can be identified as produced in or related to the settlements or the occupied territories.”

The Church seeks “a focused boycott of products that are being created illegally,” said Very Rev. David Giuliano, a former moderator, or head, of the United Church, who chaired the three-member working group that wrote the report.

“To buy settlement products is the same as buying stolen goods; in other words, benefiting from the crime,” Giuliano said. He added,  however that, “this is not a call for a boycott of Israel or Israeli products.”

The report arises from a 12-day visit to Israel in February, 2011. The working group met with representatives of Palestinian, Israeli,  Christian, Muslim, and Jewish communities in Israel and Judea and Samaria.

The group concluded “foremost” that the first step to peace is to end Israel’s occupation of territories captured in the 1967 Six-Day War,  including Judea and Samaria, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

“Simply put, Israel is maintaining a harsh occupation that must end so peace can emerge,” the report states. “The occupation is damaging both Palestinians and Israelis. The occupation is being implemented by a democratic country and sustained and supported by Western governments, including Canada’s.”

The Church advises against using the term “apartheid” when applied to Israel.

“The charge of apartheid applied to Israel shuts down conversation, disempowers those who desire and work for change in Israel, and does more to harm than to help the potential for successful peace negotiations.”

The report will be considered by the Church’s General Council, which meets in Ottawa in August. Until then, the report is not Church policy.

Shimon Fogel, CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, on Tuesday told the National Post newspaper that the United Church has been hijacked by a small group of anti-Israel activists who do not speak for the whole denomination.

“Israel has become an obsession for a small vocal group,” said Fogel. “I think frankly it betrays the sensibilities of the vast majority of ordinary members of the United Church.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/canadian-protestants-call-for-settlement-boycott/2012/05/03/

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