United Church of Canada (UCC)
- In 2020, total income was $55.7 million (CAD); total expenses were $50.4 million (CAD).
- In 2018-2023, Global Affairs Canada is providing $4.8 million to United Church of Canada: Kairos Initiatives for a project titled “Women of Courage – Women, Peace and Security. Twenty percent (approximately $950,000) is earmarked for the West Bank and Gaza in partnership with Wi’am Palestinian Conflict Resolution and Transformation Center. (See more on KAIROS below)
- The United Church of Canada collects funds for Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P).
- Several DCI-P board members have close ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). The PFLP is a terrorist organization designated as such by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel.
- Hashem Abu Maria, coordinator of DCI-P’s community mobilization unit, was hailed by the PFLP as a “leader” after his death in 2014. On September 23, 2014, DCI-P uploaded a video of a memorial service for Abu Maria, featuring a speech by DCI-P General Director, Rifat Odeh Kassis. The courtyard where the memorial service took place was decorated with PFLP flags, posters, and pictures of prominent PFLP figures, such as founder George Habash and former leader Ahmed Sa’adat. Nearly all of the audience are dressed in PFLP apparel.
- The United Church of Canada has provided funding to a number of highly biased, politicized, pro-BDS NGOs active in the Arab-Israeli conflict including B’Tselem, Sabeel, Who Profits, and Zochrot.
- United Church of Canada (UCC) is a “Canadian Campaign National Partner” for the campaign “No Way to Treat a Child,” a campaign initiated by Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P) and American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), aimed at “challeng[ing] and end[ing] Israel’s prolonged military occupation of Palestinians by exposing widespread and systematic ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system.” The groups call upon the Canadian government to pressure Israel to end “abuse of Palestinian children” and encourage supporters to write members of Parliament on behalf of their cause.
- Supports the “World Week of Peace in Palestine Israel,” organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC), which calls for “advocacy and action in support of an end to the illegal occupation of Palestine.” The WCC plays a key role in mobilizing churches worldwide to support the international boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.
- In November 2021, UCC’s “Just Peace Task Group” published a report titled “In Support of Just Peace in Palestine and Israel: A Call to Costly Solidarity” to “review the church’s policy on Palestine and Israel in light of the changing context and partner calls for solidarity.” The report argued that “it no longer makes sense for The United Church to affirm Israel as a Jewish state,” and declared that “when viewed through the lens of the principles, The United Church of Canada could affirm the accuracy and usefulness of the term apartheid to describe laws and legal procedures of the State of Israel.” The report also advocated for engaging in “constructive economic measures such as educating our members on products that support the occupation and calling for effective labelling of such products… While not under the official BDS heading.”
- In October 2021, UCC Team Lead of its Global Partnership Program Patricia Talbot condemned the decision by the Israeli Ministry to designate six Palestinian NGOs, including UCC’S partner DCI-P, as terrorist organizations. According to Talbot, this is “An attempt to further isolate Palestinian civil society” and tweeted a graphic stating that “These organizations are targeted because the work they do challenges Israeli apartheid” (emphasis in original).
- In April 2021, UCC signed a petition calling to “Stop Israel’s forced expulsions of Palestinians from Jerusalem!” as it is “part of Israel’s larger plan of racist colonial expansion.”
- In April 2018, UCC hosted an event titled “Rights under Endless Occupation: Israel/Palestine Discussion,” featuring DCI-P’s International Advocacy Officer Brad Parker and UN Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk. Parker’s presentation repeated the false claims and methodological flaws that are typical of DCI-P’s advocacy and reports (see NGO Monitor’s “No Way to Represent a Child: Defense for Children International – Palestine’s Distortions of the Israeli Justice System”).
- In April 2018, during the violence on the Gaza border, UCC urged the Canadian government to call “for an independent and transparent investigation into the Israeli shooting of people engaged in rightful protest, and for an end to Israel’s blockade on Gaza.” UCC ignored the violent nature of the protests, which included Molotov cocktails, arson, and attempts to breach the border fence with Israel.
- The United Church of Canada is the sending organization of Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) in Canada. It has “sent over 25 Ecumenical Accompaniers.”
- EAPPI sends volunteers to the West Bank to “witness life under occupation.” Upon completion of the program, the volunteers return to their home countries and churches where many engage in anti-Israel advocacy, including advocating for BDS campaigns in churches, comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa and Nazi Germany, and other delegitimization strategies.
- According to UCC, “Many return to Canada informed and ready to advocate for a just peace and an end to the occupation… They share first-hand experience to inform their local community of faith, civil society, and government of the realities of occupation.”
- In September 2017, Jan McIntyre, an Ecumenical Accompanier with the UCC, spoke at the United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine and Israel (UNJPPI) annual conference – membership in UNJPPI includes being “adherents of the United Church of Canada.” In an October 2015 post in her blog, McIntyre wrote, “The 48 year Israeli occupation (illegal according to International Humanitarian Law) of Palestine, with even greater repression of human rights over the last several months, has led some young Palestinians to respond violently. Frustrated and desperate, and prohibited from carrying guns, they have resorted to the use of knives as a tool to stab Israeli soldiers and citizens” (emphasis added).
- KAIROS is a “joint venture ecumenical program administered by the United Church of Canada.”
- In May 2018, KAIROS announced a $4.5 million collaboration with Canada for a five-year project titled “Women of Courage: Women, Peace and Security,” including approximately $951,303 (20%) for the West Bank in partnership with Wi’am: Palestinian Conflict Resolution Center.
- Contrary to the rhetoric of peacebuilding and empowering women, Wi’am promotes BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel, utilizes “apartheid” rhetoric, and seeks to demonize Israel through Christian theology.
- The group also utilizes antisemitic rhetoric, stating that “We [the Palestinians] are the victims of the victims of the holocaust, and thus its direct victims…The Palestinian people are dying on the Cross…Palestinians are taken from the Cross-to hide the Israeli Crimes. In an attempt to silence our voice, the Israeli occupation imposes sanction and siege on our people…We are laid in the Tomb” (emphasis added).
- In May 2018, during the violence on the Gaza border, KAIROS stated that it was “gravely concerned about the use of lethal military force against protestors in the Gaza strip” and called on the Canadian government to “speak out against military action against civilians.” KAIROS ignored the violent nature of the protests, which included Molotov cocktails, arson, and attempts to breach the border fence with Israel.
- In May 2013, issued a proclamation of support for the United Church of Canada’s call to members of the “ecumenical and justice community” to urge foreign affairs and trade ministers to impose “proper identification of Israeli settlement products in Canadian stores and an end to tax exemptions for products from the settlements.”
- While UCC states “We are not part of the BDS movement,” it is active in promoting BDS campaigns.
- The UCC has an ongoing campaign titled “Unsettling Goods,” aimed at “publicly engage selected manufacturers (Ahava, SodaStream, and Keter) and Canadian retailers (Walmart, Canadian Tire, The Bay, and Home Depot) to influence them to label accurately the origins of products made in Israeli settlements in the occupied territories and/or stop selling products made in the settlements.”
- As part of a campaign against PayPal, UCC created a form letter to send to PayPal’s President and CEO, stating that “As the Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory are a violation of international law, I believe it is unethical and irresponsible for any company to provide services or operations that maintain and sustain the settlements.”
- In August 2015, UCC passed a resolution calling for “initiating and developing a program of education and advocacy in cooperation with our partners, related to divestment from and economic sanctions against all corporations and institutions complicit in and benefiting from the illegal occupation.”
- In August 2012, UCC approved a “Israel/Palestine policy” that called on United Church members to “take concrete actions to support the end of the occupation by…directing the Executive of the General Council to explore the wisdom of divesting in companies that are profiting from or supporting the occupation [and] requesting that the Canadian government ensure that all products produced in the settlements be labelled clearly and differently from products of Israel.”
- UCC’s “African and Middle Eastern Mission & Service partners” include Defense for Children International- Palestine, Sabeel, Wi’am Palestinian Conflict Resolution Centre, and the Jerusalem Centre for Women.
- Member of the ACT Alliance, a coalition of 144 churches and church-related organizations.
- The ACT Alliance promotes demonizing rhetoric against Israel; international boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS) campaigns and the Kairos Palestine document, which calls for BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) against Israel, denies the Jewish historical connection to Israel in theological terms, and rationalizes, justifies, and trivializes terrorism, calling it “legal resistance.”
- Supported the EU’s decision to label products exported from Israeli communities over the 1967 ceasefire line, calling it “an important measure towards ensuring continued, full and effective implementation of existing EU legislation.”
- Member of the ACT Palestine Forum, a coalition for “improving the efficiency and effectiveness of ACT responses through enhanced cooperation and coordination.”
- Advocacy goals include contributing “to a global discourse on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that addresses the consequences of occupation, promotes access of individuals to resources, and ultimately brings an end to the occupation” and targeting “Christian communities on the International level…by stressing Christians’ suffering in the Holy Land and seek to preserve Christians presence in Palestine.”
- Urges “various forms of boycott of settlement products,” accusing Israel of denying “Palestinians their fundamental rights of freedom, equality, and self-determination through military occupation.”
- Published a February 2013 Advocacy Paper, “The ‘Permit Regime’ and Israeli Attacks on Palestinian Freedom of Worship,” alleging that “Under Israeli military occupation, repression has become the worst of history compared to that of South Africa. It’s a sophisticated form of social, economic, political and racial discrimination, strangulation, and genocide, incorporating the worst elements of colonialism and apartheid as well as repressive dispossession, displacement and state terrorism to separate Palestinians from their land and heritage, deny them their rightful civil and human rights, and gradually remove or eliminate them altogether. The ID/permit system is one of many elements designed to make greater Israel an ethnically pure Jewish state.”
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