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Westminister United Church

A Winnipeg United Church Refuses to Support United Church of Canada's Boycott on Israeli Settlement Products

Jan 16, 2012

[Editor's note: Regarding the  Satement fo the  Westminister Church which can be found below, Shelley Faintuch, Community Relations Director of the  Jewish Federation of Winnipeg told  said, "I can’t tell you how gratified we all were locally (the organized community) and nationally (Centre for Israel and National Affairs) when the Board of Directors’ letter was sent . Not only was it uplifting but is has stimulated interest in redoubling our efforts at serious and meaningful dialogue. " 


Statement Re: United Church of Canada General Council Statements on Israel/Palestine Policy

At its meeting this past summer in Ottawa, the General Council of the United Church of Canada passed a motion asking its members to support the boycott of products from the settlements in Israel’s occupied territories. 
Recognizing a diversity of opinion on this issue within our denomination, we nevertheless feel called to build mutual understanding across divisions. Declaring this boycott does little to educate people about complex histories and has the potential to undermine interfaith conversations locally and nationally. We support strategies that deepen mutual understandings of different histories and of the impact that the continuing conflict has on Palestinians and Israelis alike. Moreover, we choose to act in ways that nurture good relations between the rich and diverse cultural and faith communities that we enjoy in the City of Winnipeg. 

The Board of Westminster United Church has discussed the motion approved at General Council, and has come to the following conclusions:

a)   The strategy recommended in the General Council statement has had, and will continue to have, a deleterious effect on the good relations established between the United Church and Jewish communities in Canada and in particular in Winnipeg.

b)   We do not support the economic boycott.
c)   We invite other congregations of the United Church of Canada in Winnipeg to join with us in discussing the impact the continuing conflict has on Palestinians and Israelis alike.
d)   We support peacemaking strategies that strengthen relationships and deepen understanding of mutual histories with other faith communities in our city and throughout the world.
Recognizing the heightened level of interest within Jewish communities, we feel it incumbent upon us as a community of faith to make our views public. We intend to continue in dialogue with our friends as we endeavour to repair the damage caused by this step taken by the General Council.
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.