Today, August 14, 2012, the General Council of the United Church of Canada—the largest legislative body of Canada’s largest Protestant denomination—is scheduled to debate a resolution to boycott Israeli product from ‘Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank’. The Church argues that a boycott is necessary because Israel is solely responsible for on-going violence in the Palestinian-Jewish conflict; plus, Palestinian Christians themselves have reached out to the UCC, saying that Israel oppresses them and occupies their land; Palestinian Christians have therefore asked that Christian communities around the world help them—and the UCC is responding to that call.
It sounds noble. But will this Church vote to turn against Israel promote peace? In Part One of this report, we discussed the observation that such a vote will not help the Palestinian Christians—but Hamas, whose goals, we saw in Part One, are not peaceful. Today, we will explore the Church’s contention that they simply respond to a call for help from co-religionists, Christians from the Palestinian Authority (PA).
The first question is, who are PA Christians? They are those who live under Palestinian Authority (PA) control; and who are the PA? They are Arabs who, if they do not support Hamas, belong to some form of the PLO.
Have you read the PLO founding document? Here are some quotes to consider before we discuss the PA Christian call for help against Israel:
"-Palestine is the homeland of the Arab Palestinian people.
- ‘Palestine’ is a place ‘with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate’. [those boundaries are modern Israel; the Charter claims all of modern Israel as its ‘Palestine’].
-the Arab Palestinian people have the right to liberate their country, Palestine.
-Zionism is a political movement organically associated with international imperialism…It is racist, aggressive, expansionist and colonialist in its aims, and fascist in its methods.
-Israel is the instrument of the Zionist movement and [the] geographical base for world imperialism.
-Israel is a constant source of threat vis-à-vis peace in the Middle East and the whole world.
-Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine.
-The liberation of Palestine…aims at the elimination of Zionism in Palestine.
-The struggle for liberation is an ‘armed Palestinian revolution’…against Zionism and imperialism.
-The establishment of the state of Israel is illegal.
-The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine and everything that has been based upon them [i.e, international approval to create a Jewish homeland at the San Remo Conference, the League of Nations and the United Nations], are deemed null and void.
-Jews are not a single nation with an identity of their own; they are citizens of the states to which they belong.
-The Arab Palestinian people, expressing themselves by the armed Palestinian revolution, reject all solutions which are substitutes for the liberation of Palestine. [the PLO rejects any solution or proposal that does not allow for the total take-over of modern Israel].
-Zionism should be labelled as an illegitimate movement whose existence should be outlawed and banned in order that friendly relations among peoples may be preserved.
-Since the liberation of Palestine will destroy the Zionist and imperialist presence and will contribute to establishment of peace in the Middle East, the Palestinian people look for the support of all progressive and peaceful forces and urge them all, irrespective of their affiliations and beliefs, to offer the Palestinian people all aid and support [emphasis mine].”
Just as the PLO Charter declares, Palestinian people [in this instance, Palestinian Christians] have reached out to ask for support-- from the UCC. But as perhaps you can see above, the real goal of that call for support is not freedom, but to help ‘destroy the Zionist and imperialist presence’—Israel.
It is this last expression that is most troubling. The Church says it is answering a call for Christian help. But as we see above, the true goal of that call is the elimination of Israel.
In the face of language that so clearly calls for the destruction of a sovereign state, the UCC’s claim that Israel is the primary cause for on-going violence in the region seems at best laughably naïve; at worst, it suggests collusion with Jew-hate. Make no mistake here: by turning against Israel, the UCC supports anti-Semitism of the worst kind. These two Charters are not just political or organizational documents; they are calls for the destruction of a modern nation that, in practical terms, will be coupled with ethnic cleansing. Contemporary Arab TV confirms this.These documents can be read as two halves of the same coin because Hamas and the PLO (along with its modern followers, primarily Fatah) have indicated that they stand together as brothers so far as Israel is concerned—and the two Charters share that common goal; the Hamas document simply spells out more clearly what the PLO document only suggests.
The UCC will, by its vote to boycott Israeli product from Judea-Samaria, give aid and comfort to the Jew-hate that spews from both these groups. It may be disturbing to suggest that UCC support of these people identifies the Church as anti-Semitic. But when you consider that the UCC General Council will also entertain a proposal to deny officially that Israel is a Jewish state (see Part One), the impression they create is that UCC support for Arab Jew-hate may not be just an accidental side-effect of a good intention.
Perhaps the UCC wants to promote peace. That’s a fine goal. But their boycott vote will not promote peace. Instead, it supports those who promote war. Their boycott proposal makes one wonder: if Hamas and the PLO hate Jews and the UCC wants to vote to strengthen them, what does that make the UCC?