The United Church of Canada has voted in favor of boycotting goods produced in Israeli settlements. The Canadian Jewish community has reacted in outrage.
Members of the Protestant United Church of Canada voted on Wednesday to boycott goods produced in Israeli settlements on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem. Church spokesperson Bruce Gregersen said voters were “substantially in favor" of the motion, Al Arabiya reported.
The Very Rev. David Giuliano said a working group that visited the region in February had considered "a focused boycott of products that are being created illegally. To buy settlement products is the same as buying stolen goods—in other words, benefiting from the crime." He added "This is not a call for a boycott of Israel or Israeli products."
A report compiled by the church said "United Church policy should identify and support initiatives that work toward the creation of a viable Palestinian state."
The church will take a further vote on Friday to decide if the boycott will become a permanent part of the church policy.
YNet reported the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs in Toronto issued a statement saying that it was "Outraged by the decision by the United Church of Canada to single out Israeli communities for boycott." It added "The Centre is equally offended by the Church's expression of regret for previously calling for Palestinian recognition of Israel's Jewish character."
According to the Toronto Star the United Church of Canada has nearly three million members, though 78 percent believe the church should remain neutral regarding the Israeli-Palestine issue.