Toronto: In a statement released today, The United Church of Canada has responded to concerns raised by the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) regarding four proposals on the Middle East that are coming before the August meeting of the United Church’s 40th General Council. The CJC’s critique of the proposals was published in the July 29 edition of the National Post.
The four proposals deal with matters related to bringing peace to Israel and Palestine. Altogether, the church’s General Council will consider 173 proposals on various issues, 105 of which originate from across the church, from regional bodies called Conferences. The full text of the four Middle East proposals can be found in the Atlantic Commission section of Workbook 2 on The United Church of Canada’s 40th General Council website. Proposals to General Council are offered for consideration and can be adopted, amended, or defeated.
Wendy Gichuru is The United Church of Canada’s program coordinator for the Middle East. She explains that the United Church has consistently striven for peace with justice in Palestine and Israel, and that the church’s policy in the Middle East is shaped and informed by Israeli and Palestinian partners in the region.
In terms of interfaith dialogue, Gichuru explains The United Church of Canada continues on the journey of renewing faithful witness to our relationship with Judaism through thoughtful and prayerful study of the document Bearing Faithful Witness: United Church-Jewish Relations Today, and dialogue with the Jewish community, principally through the Canadian Christian-Jewish Consultation (CCJC), of which the Canadian Jewish Congress is a member.
The Rev. Bruce Gregersen is The United Church of Canada’s General Council Officer for Programs. He says that the United Church has acknowledged “a history of anti-Judaism and antisemitism within Christianity as a whole, including The United Church of Canada” and has affirmed
Gregersen also explains that The United Church of Canada has a long history of engagement in working for the promotion and protection of human rights in Canada and globally. International human rights law lays down obligations that states are bound to respect. By becoming parties to international treaties, states assume obligations and duties under international law to respect, to protect, and to fulfill human rights. In the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the human rights of both Palestinians and Israelis, The United Church of Canada has stated its conviction that a just peace in the Middle East will require
The United Church also calls for
Discussion of the new proposals regarding the Middle East will take place when the 40th General Council meets in Kelowna, British Columbia, August 9-15, 2009.
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