Canada’s Anglican Church asks members to educate themselves about settlements

TORONTO (JTA) — Canada’s Anglican Church passed a resolution calling on members to educate themselves “more deeply” about Israel’s “illegal settlements.”

The Anglican Journal reported that the measure was “hotly debated” at the July 3-7 meeting of the Church’s General Synod, its main governing body, in Ottawa.

The resolution, which passed with the support of 73 percent of the synod’s nearly 300 members, reiterates the Church’s long-held positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which “recognize the legitimate aspirations, rights and needs of both Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace with dignity within sovereign and secure borders; condemns the use of all kinds of violence, especially against civilians; calls for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian Territories (West Bank and Gaza); and calls upon Israel, as an occupying power, to recognize the Fourth Geneva Convention, which forbids the transfer and settlement of its citizen in occupied territories.”

However, the resolution also calls on Canadian Anglicans to take some new steps, including educating themselves “more deeply” on a variety of issues, including “the impact of illegal settlements on the lives of both Palestinians and Israelis; about imported products identified as produced in or related to the illegal settlements and misleadingly labeled as produced in Israel; and about the complexities of economic advocacy measures.”

The resolution also includes a pledge to “explore and challenge theologies and beliefs, such as Christian Zionism, in support of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.”

Anglicans are asked as well to “explore and challenge theories and beliefs that deny the right of Israel to exist and strengthen relationships with Canadian Jews and Muslims to resolutely oppose anti-Semitism, anti-Arab sentiments and Islamophobia.”

Debate ranged among members from some who said the resolution went too far and demonstrated left-wing or anti-Israel bias to those who said it did not go far enough in addressing the oppression of Palestinians suffering under an apartheid system, the Journal reported.

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