UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds
The Israeli West Bank barrier in East Jerusalem, March 2015. Photo by ChameleonsEye/Shutterstock

Day Three

Support for Mideast peace, but no demand for divestment

By Mike Milne

Three years after approving selective boycott of products from Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, The United Church of Canada’s General Council backed away from enacting a church divestment strategy.

Instead, a decision-making commission at the General Council meeting in Corner Brook, N.L., opted to encourage the church to work with Mideast and North American partners to develop “a program of education and advocacy . . . related to divestment from and economic sanctions against all corporations and institutions complicit in or benefiting from the illegal occupation.” 

The church, its foundation and $1-billion pension fund will also be encouraged — but not directed — to divest.

The motion also called for education about Israel-based tourism operations that focus on the area’s religious history but ignore the current turmoil. That approach, says the motion, “bolsters the oppression of Palestinians.”

Rev. Steven Berube, of Riverview, N.B., who recently served in an ecumenical accompaniment program in the occupied West Bank, told commissioners he hopes “that people would not just engage with the dead stones of the buildings and cathedrals, but the living stones — the people who are living there today.”

Faced with reports from church partners in the region that a two-state solution may no longer be feasible because of ever-expanding Israeli settlements, the commission also passed a motion “affirming the right of self-determination for Palestinians and Israelis,” adding that “any choice regarding statehood must be made by the people living in Israel-Palestine.”

A motion was also passed asking church staff to develop a list of organizations in Canada and in Israel/Palestine that are fostering trusting relationships between and among the various stakeholder communities, both within Canada and abroad.

The list is intended to help church people take on more relationship-building work themselves.

Mike Milne is The Observer’s senior writer.

Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!
Promotional Image


David Wilson%


by David Wilson

If statues could talk

Promotional Image


ObserverDocs: Stolen Mother

by Observer Staff

The daughter and adoptive mother of one of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women share their story

Promotional Image


July 2017

From far and wide

by Various Writers

Meet 11 immigrants who are putting down new roots


June 2017

A suitcase for Cuba

by Christopher Levan

You’ll find more than giveaway toiletries and hand-me-downs in the writer's luggage. Each carefully chosen gift offers a glimpse into the lives of Cubans today.


June 2017


by Kristy Woudstra

Up to half a million people are living in Canada without official status. The ‘sanctuary city’ movement is growing, but the fear of deportation persists.


June 2017

Resisting genocide

by Sally Armstrong

In August 2014, ISIS attacked Iraq’s Yazidis, slaughtering thousands and forcing women and girls into sexual slavery. Today, the survivors are fighting for their ancient way of life.


April 2017

Dear Grandkids

by Various Writers

Six acclaimed Canadian authors write letters from the heart


March 2017

Called to resist

by Paul Wilson

Liberal Christians in the United States test their faith against a demagogue

Promotional Image