FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 14, 2016
Ottawa, ON – At its recent Assembly, the Mennonite Church of Canada passed a resolution calling for boycott-divestment-sanctions (BDS) measures against Israelis. Specifically, the resolution called on Church bodies and members “to avoid investing in or supporting companies that do business with Israeli settlements and the Israel Defense Forces, and companies that are profiting from the occupation of the Palestinian territories”, and called on the Government of Canada “to support measures that put pressure on Israel (including through economic sanctions)”.
In response, Shimon Koffler Fogel, CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), issued the following statement:
“We condemn the Mennonite Church of Canada’s decision to adopt a policy that discriminates against Israelis, hinders Palestinian economic opportunity, and ultimately serves as another barrier to peace. We are encouraged by the knowledge that the Assembly does not speak for all Mennonites, as demonstrated by the concern voiced to us by friends in the Mennonite community who oppose the resolution.
“Prior to the vote, CIJA, the Canadian Rabbinic Caucus, and our local partners in Saskatoon reached out to the Mennonite Church’s leadership to urge the Assembly to adopt a positive, peace-building approach rather than destructive and discriminatory BDS measures. Frankly, its decision to join the toxic ranks of the BDS movement is a slap in the face to those of us in the Jewish community who have been building bridges with our Christian neighbours, particularly given our proactive efforts to create opportunities for interfaith partners to support projects that help foster Israeli-Palestinian peace. That the Church chose to reject this reasonable alternative speaks to the moral blindness and increasing marginalization of a denomination in decline.”