Canada’s largest Protestant church has defended it decision to boycott goods produced in the Israeli settlements located within the occupied Palestinian territories, Press TV reports.
“The majority of people clearly wanted to send some kind of message that the increased settlements on the (Palestinian) occupied territories are a serious impediment to the peace process. And, part of it is because our partner churches there have been asking us for that kind of solidarity and that kind of action to see if it can move things at all,” Bill Phipps, a member of the United Church of Canada, told Press TV.
The United Church of Canada made the decision on August 15 and approved a policy paper two days later at its 41st general council meeting in Ottawa.
The church maintains that its decision to boycott Israeli products is guided by the international legal opinion, and the staunch anti-racist belief in the equality of human beings.
This is while Canada’s influential Zionist lobby groups and pro-Israel pundits have insinuated that the United Church of Canada has declared itself to be anti-Semitic.
The Canadian government has also voiced opposition to the settlements products boycott.
The church, in return, maintains that its decision to boycott Israeli products is guided by the international legal opinion, and the staunch anti-racist belief in the equality of human beings.
Moreover, pro-Palestinian activists in the United Church of Canada argue that the injustice against Palestinians is so egregious that strong economic action against Israel is needed.
“These people who are Palestinians trying to travel and do their work are constantly stifled. They are going through checkpoints and all the rest of these things. They are under a police state. And, this is not freedom. This is a prison. When your home becomes a prison, we need to recognize these things,” Michelle Robinson, a pro-Palestinian activist, said.
The activist also criticized the Canadian government’s approach towards the Israel/Palestine conflict, and the close alliance it has forged with Israel.
“I think we have to remember that we have a very conservative government. This government is so pro-Israel that anything that isn’t exactly following their stance and Israel’s stance is demonized,” Robinson said.
She asserted that Canadian officials do not allow in-depth and detailed stories on the Israel/Palestine issue to be made known to the public.
“When we are seeing things in the media, papers and videos we have to remember that we are just not getting the full y because our conservative government does not want to allow that,” Robinson commented.
The United Church of Canada is only the latest in a growing list of organizations around the world to have adopted a boycott of Israeli products made on the occupied Palestinian territories.
The Israeli settlements are considered illegal by the UN and most countries because those territories were captured by Israel in a war in 1967, and are hence seen as being subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbids construction on occupied lands.
Not only has the presence and continued expansion of these settlements been a major source of international criticism against Israel, but they are also considered one of the main obstacles to Middle East peace.
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