Canada’s largest Protestant denomination, the United Church of Canada (UCC), serves as many as three million Canadians. Among Canadian Christians, only the Roman Catholic Church attracts more followers. The UCC’s General Council –its highest Legislative Court--meets every three years to vote on Church policy, and during the last two Councils, in 2006 and 2009, boycott-Israel resolutions were debated and then defeated. This year, another boycott resolution is scheduled for a vote during the newest General Council Convention, being held August 11-18, 2012 in Ottawa, Canada. According to the Toronto Star, a United Church working group has written a report that labels Israel as ‘the primary source of on-going violence’ in its region, and because of that conclusion has recommended the boycott of Israeli products made “in Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank”. The debate for this resolution is set for Tuesday, August 14. In addition, a separate proposal from Vancouver representatives to the General Council proposes that the UCC remove from future communications and policy statements all wording that recognizes Israel as a Jewish state.
Commenting only on the boycott recommendation, David Ha’ivri, executive director of the Shomron Liaison office, asks the Church, ‘Do you realize what you are doing?’ (see Arutz Sheva, ‘Boycott of Samaria products will harm PA Arabs, says Ha’ivri’, August 9, 2012). Ha’ivri explains that a successful boycott will harm the Palestinian Arab community—the very people the Church says it wants to help. To illustrate his point, Ha’ivri refers to an Industrial Park in Judea-Samaria that is home to 140 factories which employ 6,000 workers, approximately half of whom are PA Arabs. Ha’ivri says that PA Arabs who work at the Industrial Park earn almost triple what they could earn in PA-controlled areas. Arab workers who lose their Jobs because of a boycott against their factories run the risk of becoming destitute. The PA cannot help these laid-off workers financially (the PA itself is destitute) and these workers would therefore turn to Hamas social programs because Hamas—not the PA-- actively helps poor Arabs in PA areas who have no income sources. As UCC efforts force these Arab workers to lose their income, Ha’ivri could be correct—the unemployed will turn to Hamas for help and Hamas, not the PA, will win as a consequence of this boycott.
Perhaps the Church does not understand how a boycott could help Hamas. Perhaps the Church does not understand Hamas. Hamas will not talk peace with Israel. Hamas is not interested in peace. It is an organization dedicated to war against Jews. Their war is not political. It is religious. If you have never read the Hamas Charter, take a look at some relevant quotes: “…Israel exists until Islam abolishes it…our battle against the Jews [not Israel or Zion] is great… There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except Jihad [Holy War]… The Jews’ Nazism includes brutal behaviour towards Palestinian women…The Jews, by means of their money, have taken over the international communications media: the news agencies, newspapers, publishing houses, broadcasting stations, etc…they use their money to incite revolutions…for their own interests…they use their money to found secret organizations and scattered them all over the globe to destroy other societies and realise the interests of Zionism. Such organizations include Freemasons, Rotary Clubs and the Lion’s club…they are destructive espionage organizations…[the Jews] were behind the First World War…they were also behind the Second World War…they [the Jews] ordered the establishment of the United Nations…No war takes place anywhere in the world without the Jews behind the scenes having a hand in it…the problem of Palestine is religious…The Christian conquest is evil…it [the evil Christian conquest] relies heavily on the secret organizations it gave birth to, such as the Freemasons, Rotary and Lion’s Club and similar espionage groups [Yes, Hamas blames first the Jews and then the Christians of creating these conspiratorial and secret espionage organizations although, after accusing the Christians of giving birth to these groups, the Charter then says these groups are nonetheless directed by ‘the Zionists’]…They [the Jews] are behind trafficking in drugs and alcohol, to make it easier for them to take over the world…The Zionist plan has no limit. After Palestine they aspire to expand to the Nile and the Euphrates…Their plan [or, plot] appears in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”
Anyone who has studied the political use of language understands the hate within--and the historic Anti-Semitism of--these words. These words have been used for hundreds of years to demonize Jews as part of orchestrated incitement against Jewish populations. If you wish to see how language has demonized Jews, do a google-search for ‘traditional anti-Semitic literature’, ’Russian anti-Semitic literature’, and ‘Polish anti-Semitic literature’. It’s all there: the Hamas Charter uses exactly the same accusations and even the same language found in traditional Western Jew-hate literature; the Charter even relies on what has become the most widely-used (and viciously false) anti-Jewish propaganda tool, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The Charter is classic Jew-hate literature.
When such historic hate-language permeates the founding documents of a political organization, you can be sure that the central goal of that organization is hate—and, in this instance, the destruction of the Jewish state.
Why would a Christian church support those who want to destroy? The short answer is, this is not the UCC’s goal. The Church has explained that they propose a boycott because of a request made to them by Palestinian Christians.
Of course, it is possible that Hamas will not benefit from a Church boycott. Perhaps the Church vote wouldn’t involve them at all. Raising Hamas-related fears might just be fear-mongering by David Ha’ivri.
Is the Church correct to suggest that its wish to help Palestinian Christians is benign?