On May 2nd, a working group of The United Church of Canada (UCC) released a long-awaited report on the Israel/Palestine situation. The report is significant because the UCC has one million members and is Canada's largest protestant denomination.
The 23 page report has a very moderate tone, but it calls for the Church to take "concrete steps". Although PCC do not agree on some of its content, as we find (among other things) the report comes weak in supporting the Right of Return for Palestinian. Nevertheless, we find the report an excellent start of build awareness and support for the Palestinian human rights in Canada. We commend the UCC working group for:
The call for an end to the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories pointing out the loss of Palestinian land The call for an economic boycott of products from the illegal settlements Maintaining that it is possible to criticize Israel without being anti-Semitic Stating that the choice of a 1 state solution or a 2 state solution must be up to Palestinians and Israelis to work out Encouraging Canadian Christians to go to Israel/Palestine and meet and talk to Palestinians as well as Israelis Pointing out that the UCC's recognition of Israel "as a Jewish State" is problematic if this means that Arab citizens of Israel are denied economic and civic equality.
Over a period of nearly 12 months, the working group led by David Giuliano consulted with a wide range of organizations and groups. In January 2011, PCC deligation met the working group and discussed various issues related to the Palestinian human rights. The report is not yet a church policy. It will be submitted for discussion at the August 2012 meeting. Not surprisingly, the report is already being attacked by right-wing columnists like Jonathon Kay of the National Post ("Israel haters have lost the argument") and by lobbyists like Shimon Fogel, of the Council for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA).
The UCC press release can be found at: http://www.united-church.ca/communications/news/releases/120501
On the same page are links to the full report, and to a Q&A as well as a video interview with some of the report's authors.
PCC has sent a congratulatory message to United Church officials. We encourage our community members to read the report carefully and to write to the United Church of Canada to thank them for their efforts to support the Palestinian human rights. Please, send your email to email@example.com.