Church group urges boycott of West Bank Jews

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — The elected leader of Australian Jewry blasted his Christian counterpart over an “ill-considered” resolution asking churches to boycott goods produced by West Bank Jews.

Executive Council of Australian Jewry President Robert Goot, in a letter last Friday to the National Council of Churches in Australia’s general secretary, the Rev. Tara Curlewis, said the resolution passed by Australia’s top ecumenical body “revived painful memories for Jews in Australia of earlier times in Europe when churches allowed themselves to be swept up in the tide of popular prejudices against the Jewish people.”

The resolution, passed during the organization’s seventh triennial forum held July 9-13, called on member churches to “consider boycotting particular goods produced in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.”

Curlewis said in a statement that she “hoped that such actions will liberate the people from an experience of injustice to one where a just and definitive peace may be reached.”

The resolution also affirmed the right to exist for Israel and a Palestinian state within secure internationally recognized borders, and it condemned all acts of terrorism.

Goot, saying he felt “badly let down by people we have long thought of as our friends,” asked to be able to present a critique of the resolution to the executive of the National Council of Churches.

The council of churches comprises 17 groups, including the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church and the Uniting Church. It was a founding partner of the Australian National Dialogue of Christians, Muslims and Jews, a body founded in 2003 alongside the Executive Council of Australian Jewry and the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils.

NEXT STORY