Last week, the United Church of Canada’s general council approved boycotts of Israeli companies Keter Plastic, SodaStream and Ahava. This is a continuation of a resolution passed by the church in August 2012 to boycott Israeli products exported from the West Bank and east Jerusalem. This time, the UCC has specific targets and plans to dissuade Canadian businesses from selling the products of the targeted businesses. The reasoning behind these actions, the church said, is its view that Israeli settlements are the “principal obstacle to peace in the region.”
“With Canada being such a principled supporter of Israel and of peace, it is distressing that the United Church of Canada would engage in the boycotting of Israeli companies and their products,” B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs said. “To pass this resolution is to attack Israel, and to single out the Jewish state for hostility while ignoring the real impediments to peace in the Middle East.”
“Anytime an organization decides to promote a campaign boycotting Israeli products or companies, it is clearly a move seeking to hurt Israelis,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “This boycott will only serve to cause more friction in the region, and to recklessly export it to the Christian-Jewish relationship in North America.”
The primary obstacle to peace in the region is Palestinian intransigence. Until the Palestinians agree to return to the negotiating table without pre-conditions—and to end violent extremists’ rejection of Jews’ fundamental rights in their homeland—prospects for peace will sadly remain dim.