Canada's Largest Protestant Church Approves Boycott of Israeli Settlement Products

Resolution requests Canadian government to ensure that all products produced in the settlements 'be labeled clearly and differently from products of Israel.'

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Canada's largest Protestant church has approved a boycott of products made in Israeli settlements.

Meeting in Ottawa, the governing General Council of the United Church of Canada's General Council on Friday supported a resolution calling for a boycott of goods produced in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem.

Details of how the boycott will be applied will be determined in the coming weeks and months, officials told the National Post.

The resolution calls on church members "to avoid any and all products produced in the settlements"; requests that the Canadian government ensure that "all products produced in the settlements be labeled clearly and differently from products of Israel"; and requests that products produced in the settlements not be given preferential treatment under the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement.

The boycott does not extend to products produced inside Israel's pre-1967 borders.

Prior to the final vote, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs said it was "outraged" at the bid to boycott settlement products, saying the "decision represents a radical shift in the United Church's policies, betrays the views of the vast majority of its members and flies in the face of decades of constructive interfaith dialogue."
The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies also criticized the bid at the time, with president and CEO, Avi Benlolo saying in a statement that "I don't know if church members truly understand how utterly offensive and imbalanced this proposal is, or whether a latent anti-Semitism within the church is slowly coming back to life."

Demonstrators holding a banner reading "Against colonization and apartheid in Palestine, Boycott of Israeli products" in southern France, Sept. 28, 2002. Credit: AP

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