Friday, August 21, 2009

The United Church has a Jewish problem

The anti-Israel activists in the United Church of Canada outdid themselves this year. For the church’s national Council, they tabled four anti-Israel proposals that were unrivalled for venom.

Three of the proposals came from Toronto (the fourth from Montreal) and were the work of a small clique of Israel-bashers who use the United Church to promote their agenda. But it’s no accident that Israel-haters find the UC a comfortable home.

Although it recognizes Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish state, the UC consistently objects to Israel defending itself against attack. Instead, it spreads the lie that Israel is guilty of “collective punishment and violence … on the Palestinian people.”

There is, of course, one side in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that targets a civilian population, but it’s not Israel.

The UC does call on both the Palestinians and the Israelis to end all violence but the UC blames only Israel. In January, Reverend David Giuliano, Moderator of the United Church of Canada (the church’s highest official) called the violence a “consequence of the hatred and hostility bred by the occupation.”

So, according to the Moderator, not only is Israel responsible for its own deeds, but also for breeding hatred into the Palestinians. Thanks to the Israelis, the Palestinians can’t help themselves; they’re compelled to fire rockets at hospitals and lob mortars at kindergartens.
The Moderator’s stance is bad enough, but even worse, no matter how vile the Israel-haters within the church become, the UC still defends them.

The Reverend Bruce Gregerson, a spokesman for the UC, admits that seeking to undermine Israel’s existence is antisemitic. But, he says, the boycott proposals merely tried to encourage Israel “to make moves toward peace.”

Uh-huh. Israel is a liberal democracy like Canada, committed to the equality of all its citizens. Yet the proposals called Israel “evil” and compared it to apartheid South Africa – a racist state that was removed from the political map.

The proposals called on the people of Israel to be cut off from the rest of humankind, with a boycott of all Israeli athletes, scholars and cultural institutions.

They called for economic warfare against Israel, with a boycott of all Israeli products and of all “companies supporting the Zionist policies of Israel.”

The process boycotters use to identify Zionist companies is mystical but apparently productive, as the proposals listed dozens, including the Arsenal Football Club (owned by Jews, you know), Huggies diapers, and Victoria’s Secret lingerie.

As a resolution to the conflict, the boycott proposals called for the 4 million descendants of Palestinians displaced by Arab wars against Israel to be allowed to settle in Israel and thus end the “evil” of Zionism by transforming Israel into another Arab state.

On the other hand, the boycotters didn’t urge the Palestinians to do anything. They didn’t call on the Palestinian Authority to resume peace talks, even though Israel has repeatedly offered to do so.

Nor did the boycotters urge Hamas to give up on terror, recognize Israel, or even renounce their ambition to slaughter Jews everywhere, as called for in Hamas’s constitution. The boycott proposals didn’t even refer to Hamas except to confer legitimacy on it as “the newly elected Palestinian party.”

Moreover, while seeking to wipe Israel off the map and implicitly siding with the terrorists, the boycotters spread the lie that some Jewish members of Parliament are Israeli citizens and implied they’re potential traitors.

As it turned out, the Council rejected the language of the proposals – the references to apartheid, the suggestion that Jews are disloyal and so forth, and it rejected a national boycott as too divisive.

However, the Council did invite member churches to boycott Israel and reaffirmed its stance that Israel is solely to blame for the conflict, calling on its churches to “resist the occupation.”

I’m disturbed that the UC has adopted the language of terrorists.

Moreover, if Israel were to withdraw from the West Bank without a peace agreement, expecting it to become a launching pad for rocket and mortar attacks as happened with Gaza, would this satisfy the United Church?

Not for a moment. The Council declared Gaza still occupied, although every last Israeli left years ago. Apparently, like the rest of the anti-Israel crowd, the UC can’t stand to let the occupation go.

Finally, the Council committed itself to the World Council of Churches’ Amman Declaration, which calls for settling millions of Palestinians in Israel, thus transforming it into an Arab state.

At the Council, many representatives did speak in Israel’s favour, and doubtless these speakers represented the majority of ordinary church members.

However, as an institution, the United Church of Canada used this Council to assert its abiding hostility toward Israel.

Ah, well. I’ll do my bit by spending against the boycott. The kids are too old for diapers, but I’m sure my wife would like some Zionist lingerie.


This article previously appeared on the Dust My Broom blog, and on Harry's Place in Britain. It was first published, in a shorter version, in the August 20, 2009, Jewish Tribune, a community paper published weekly by B'nai Brith Canada.


  1. It's pathetic that people are so irrational and mystical to fear the vast spanning Jewish conspiracy. I support the stance for Zionist lingerie.

  2. Curiouser and curiouser?September 2, 2009 at 9:06 AM

    It always amazes me that whenever people start criticizing human rights, they always look to Israel. All of the human rights violations by the other countries (eg., lashing women for drinking beer in public) never seem to make it onto their agenda. Hmmm....then when this is pointed out, they say that Jews are saying everything is about anti-semitism, when it's just Israel they have a problem with. Exactly the point, why is it just Israel they have a problem with???????

  3. Anonymous,
    You're right; antisemitism is pathetic, and it's done far more harm to the United Church than the anti-Jewish obsessives in the United Church can ever hope to do to Israel.

  4. Curiouser and curiouser - indeed! I certainly agree with you.

  5. Then I would fully endorse making the UC a full partner of Hamas and all that it stands for. In fact UC should investigate making a kind of birthright program where they send eager young UC'rs over to Gaza all expenses paid for a month as guests of Hamas in Gaza. The worst that could happen is that a new crop of indoctrinated terrorists comes back to free Canada from Zionist occupation.

  6. the united church is pathetic, I gather they must appease the growing muslim population in Canada or else be in their sights. They ( the UC) couldn't take a stand against known terrorists if their lives depended on it. Wait another 50 years and their churches will be turned into mosques.