The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) has called on the Canadian Jewish community to make a wholesale break from the United Church of Canada (UCC), according to a report in the Canadian Jewish News.
The call came after the country’s largest Protestant denomination voted to affirm a motion supporting a boycott of goods produced in Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem.
In response, CIJA sent a letter to community leaders and institutions asking them to cut ties in every regard.
The letter, dated August 23 and sent by CIJA co-chair David Koschitzky, asks the community to consider imposing an “immediate moratorium on all dialogue and partnership activities between the institutions of the Canadian Jewish community and the United Church of Canada, its regional conferences, local presbyteries and individual congregations.
“This moratorium specifically includes bilateral discussions involving the United Church and Jewish communal institutions, broad interfaith groups in which the church is one of several partners, and educational activities,” Koschitzky wrote in the letter quoted by the Canadian Jewish News. “We ask the rabbinic and lay leadership of the Canadian Jewish community to respect the highest degree of solidarity with this moratorium.”
CIJA said it will consult with lay leaders and rabbis nationwide over the next month to figure out the best way forward with the church and to see how and whether to keep lines of communication open with individual church members and ministers who tried to block the boycott resolution adopted at the 41st General Council earlier this month.
“We recognize and thank the many friends within the [church] who worked to defeat the General Council resolutions on Israel-Palestine and who spoke out against a boycott of Israeli goods,” the Canadian Jewish News quoted Koschitzky as having said.
He added that the centre will have its annual board of directors meeting on September 20, and it will discuss the results of its meetings with the Jewish community on this subject.
A group of nine Canadian senators recently warned the UCC that a boycott of Israeli goods from Judea and Samaria could spark a rift with the Jewish State.
The senators, from both the Conservative and Liberal parties, are all members of the United Church. They warned the panel that the distinction drawn with the narrower boycott will “be lost upon” Israelis and Canada’s Jewish community, who will see it as an anti-Israel measure.
David Ha’ivri, executive director of the Shomron Liaison Office, has warned that a successful boycott of Israeli products made in Judea and Samaria will harm Palestinian Authority Arabs, the very people the UCC claims it wants to help.