United Church of Canada upholds human rights for all in Israel and Palestine

Violence begets violence, begets violence.

United Church of Canada upholds human rights for all in Israel and Palestine

Re: United Church hosting of Human Rights Panel on Abuses in Israel and Palestine

I am writing in response to Simone Black’s passionate letter on the above. I note that Ms. Black does not refute the assertions of human rights violations by either the United Nations or United Church observers in Israel and Palestine. Rather she seems to feel there are reasons behind the violations that sanction them.

The United Church of Canada upholds human rights for all in Israel and Palestine. We support the same two state solution championed by a strong majority of Israelis and Palestinians. As a result, the church has decided to refuse to accept products illegally manufactured in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The church has not called for a boycott of Israel or of Israeli products. Just the illegal ones.

The United Church of Canada deplores violence and is particularly aware that some justify violence, repression and otherwise harmful activities because of a religious affiliation. The United Church does not believe that anything justifies imprisoning children (either physically or ideologically), shooting protestors, bombing buses and hospitals or destroying the homes of helpless farmers. Nothing.

Violence begets violence, begets violence. This must end and it is to be expected that westernized democracies be at the forefront of peace-making, reconciliation-building, and safeguarding the rights of every human being. We must show that we have learned something out of the harms wrought by our Euro-centric, empire-building, colonizing ancestors. Something beyond creating reservations, forcing indigenous populations to stay on them and shooting those who protest the result. We are firmly convinced that the roots of peace find strength, nourishment and ancient wisdom in the teachings of the Judeo-Christian tradition, and we will continue to be vigilant in our insistence on adherence to those teachings.

I am far from the best, or the only spokesperson on this matter. For more information I urge you to look into the writings and website of Independent Jewish Voices. They have a better understanding and context than my own. Thank you for allowing me the space to respond.

Keith Simmonds

Minister, Duncan United Church

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