United Church votes for Israeli boycott

     The general council of the United Church of Canada, the country’s largest Protestant denomination, voted in mid-August to support a boycott of goods produced in Israeli settlements on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem.
     The 350 delegates to the United Church council, which according to Statistics Canada represents nearly three million Canadians who identify with the church, spent close to six hours debating the boycott recommended by an internal report that named the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory as a major obstacle to a two-state settlement of the conflict.
     Increasingly, a one-state solution is seen as the only just and effective path by Palestinian, labour and human rights bodies. But the boycott idea itself is enough to raise the ire of pro-occupation forces and to expose the growing isolation of the Zionist apartheid state.
     In the months preceding the council vote, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (the ultra-conservative body that displaced the former Canadian Jewish Congress), and a group of nine Canadian Liberal and Conservative senators, heavily lobbied U.C. members against “taking sides” on the issue. But after hearing long arguments on all sides of the controversy, the church council voted to take a side, against the occupation.