Editorials and opinion pieces today across Canada were largely critical of the United Church of Canada’s boycott of Israeli settlement products. A Calgary Herald editorial noted that the singling out of Israel for criticism while silent on “horrors elsewhere in the region smacks most uncomfortably of a current of anti-Semitism underlying its actions”. Where, the Herald asked, “are the boycotts of goods produced in the Palestinian territories such as Gaza, and other Middle Eastern countries where honour killings routinely take place, where Christians are not free to worship without risking their lives, and where gays face persecution and even death for their sexual orientation?….. there will only be peace in that strife-torn part of the world when terrorist groups like Hamas abandon their stated goal of wiping out every Jew in Israel”.
Chronicle Herald columnist Paul Schneidereit accused the United Church of “marching with hypocrites”. “Beyond the tired blame-Israel rhetoric, the church’s naive gesture echoes the hypocrisy that among all injustices in the world, none is more beyond the pale than Israeli settlements on lands occupied after the 1967 war”. Says Schneidereit, “what’s amazing is the amount of attention this particular dispute generates, while other conflicts and injustices that spawn human misery in the region, never mind around the world, get short shrift from the same hypocrite brigade — that’s right, take your place in the front row, United Church of Canada. Fair-minded observers are left wondering about motive”.
Indeed, with the United Church’s expression of regret for asking Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, one does not have long to wonder.