Nine Canadian Senators have warned the United Church of Canada that its report calling for the boycott of goods from illegal Israeli Jewish settlements will further divide country’s Jewish and Christian communities. The nine pro-Israel Senators are members of the United Church of Canada and represent the ruling Conservatives and opposition Liberal parties in the Senate. However, they’re not elected by the Canadian voters but were appointed by successive governments to serve certain lobby groups.
The controversial 26-page report was prepared by a three-member panel headed by Rev. David Giuliano after 12-day visit to the Holy Land in February 2012. During their visit the Christian working group met the representatives of Palestinian, Israelis, Christian, Muslim and Jewish communities in Israel and the West Bank. Israeli authorities did not allow them to visit Hamas-governed Gaza Strip.
The report do legitimizes Jewish occupation of Palestine; calls it a “Jewish State”, a “democratic country” – and condemns “demonizing” Israel and “armed resistance” against Israeli occupation – and comprehensive boycott of Israeli good. However, it also try to shows the so-called “Christian conscience”:
“Simply put, Israel is maintaining a harsh occupation that must end to peace can emerge. The occupation is damaging both Palestinians and Israelis. The occupation is being implemented by a democratic country and sustained and supported by western governments, icluding Canada,” says the report.
It seems the writers of the report were either ignorant of the Israel’s political and social landscapes or were affraid to report the truth lest labeled as ‘Jew haters’. For example, Israel is not a “Jewish state’ in practice as most of its leaders are confessed atheists and the great majority of European Jewish settelers hate their fellow Arab and African Jews. Furthermore, there are 350,000 Russian Jews who are not allowed to receive rabbis’ blessings because they cannot prove that they’re born to a Jewish mother.
The claim that Israel is a democracy, is even rejected by the famed Israeli columnist, Gideon Levy, who has called Israel half a democracy in his column in Israeli daily Ha’aretz.
“What sort of democracy is this, if exactly half the state’s residents don’t benefit from it? Indeed, can the term “democratic” be applied to a state in which many of the residents live under a military regime or are deprived of civil rights? Can there be democracy without equality, with a lengthy occupation and with foreign workers who have no rights? And what about the racism?,” wrote Gideon.
However, the above little mention of Israeli occupation (Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem) has angered the country’s Jewish lobby groups. Shimon Fogel, head of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said boycotting goods from settlements amounts to delegitimization of Israel.
The report will be discussed at the 41st General Council of the United Church of Canada to be held in Ottawa on August 11-18, 2012. Until then, the Church followers are free to buy as many kosher goods produced in Israeli settlement as they want.
The United Church of Canada is the country’s largest Protestant denomination with 650,000 members and 2.5 million followers.