TORONTO (JTA) — Canada’s largest Protestant church targeted three Israeli companies with operations in Jewish settlements for economic sanctions and boycott.
Last week, the United Church of Canada’s governing General Council approved the start of a boycott campaign, encouraging “economic action” against Keter Plastic, SodaStream and Ahava.
The move is an outgrowth of the church’s decision last year to boycott products exported by settlements on the West Bank and in eastern Jerusalem. At the time, the church called the settlements the “principal obstacle to peace in the region.”
In the coming months, the church “will engage in dialogue with these companies regarding their involvement in the settlements and request that they cease all production in the settlements,” the church said. The failure to comply “will result in economic action against their products.”
The church also promises to contact Canadian retailers carrying products from the manufacturers “and request that these items no longer be sold in their stores.”
Depending on responses from the manufacturers and retailers, church adherents “will be invited to initiate economic actions to avoid identified products and to continue engagement with the companies and retailers.”
The United Church claims some 2 million followers.
In a statement, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, or CIJA, pointed out that SodaStream employs “hundreds” of Palestinian workers.
The church’s position, “which claims to advance Palestinian aspirations by increasing the number of unemployed Palestinians, can only be described as intellectually dishonest,” CIJA said. “Its goal seems to be the self-satisfaction of the General Council rather than an improvement in the life of the average Palestinian.”
CIJA pledged that as in the past, it will issue a “buycott” to mobilize the Jewish community to support the three targeted companies “for the benefit of Israeli and Palestinian workers alike.”