B’nai Brith Canada anti-boycott video uses the End of Days to appeal to Christians welcoming the rapture.
This week the United Church of Canada will take on a targeted boycott of Israeli settlement goods at their national conference. Combatting the proposal one group, B’nai Brith Canada, tailored their hasbara to appeal to Christians longing for the End of Days. The service organization’s CEO, Frank Dimant dangled his own Armageddon-derived demise in a video, connecting support for Israel to the evangelical doctrine. “Christians should be welcoming the fulfillment of the prophecy, not negating God’s word,” said Dimant.
Today, the 41st General Council Meeting will debate a proposal from the church’s Working Group on Israel/Palestine Policy, which was assembled after the publication of the 2005 Kairos Palestine document, a call from Palestinian Christians to fellow churches to boycott “products of the occupation.” Last May, the working-group published their recommendations, which included a condemnation of the settlement enterprise and also retracted an earlier statement by the church calling Israel a homeland to the Jewish people. Their findings have earned the church ire from Canada’s staunchest pro-Israel supporters
Heading up the campaign against the working group’s recommendations is the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), or Canada’s AIPAC, an advocacy group that promotes pro-Israel policy, and takes a hard stance on “the single greatest threat to regional and global security” – Iran. CIJA was founded in 2011 after the CEO Shimon Fogel quietly used an iron fist to dismember the nearly century old Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC). Fogel reconstructed the congress under one Brand Israel tent, and like David Ben-Gurion before him, Fogel’s consolidation angered some longtime allies. “My sense is that there’s a lot of bad blood on this among the community,” said Andrew Cohen, Carleton University professor and nephew of the congress’ founder, Lyon, to the National Post. He continued, “Usually when an organization is launched, it’s done to trumpets and fanfare, not quietly under the cover of darkness.”
Yet only one year out of the gate Fogel Canadian AIPAC has even garnished the support of nine senators who decried the church’s report in an open letter published June 27, 2012. The letter, signed by liberals and conservatives, admonishes the church for taking a divisive stance that could threaten the relationships between Jews and gentiles. “What will be made clear to them is that the United Church has chosen sides, declaring Israel guilty and the Palestinians the only injured party,” wrote the senators.
Rev. Love at the Western Wall, 2009. (Photo: Faithful Witness)
Inside the church congregants are beginning to organize as well. A few weeks ago Reverend Andrew Love started Faithful Witness, an online petition and website that fulfills a promise the Reverend made to an Israeli family on a 2009 trip to the region. “I also met a family in Ashkelon that had had their house blown in half by a rocket launched from Gaza. The family asked me to explain why so many western churches seemed to be anti-Israel. I made a promise to them that I would try, in my own small way, to raise their voices in the United Church.”
If the General Council is really concerned about advancing the dignity of Palestinians, why not use our energy and resources in a positive way like building a school or medical clinic in the West Bank? Why not invest in Palestinian businesses? Why not support the major joint Israeli-Palestinian peace initiatives that are happening in the region now?
Yet despite a sleek website design, Love’s support is abysmal with only 50 signatories, according to his blog.
The United Church of Canada holds national meetings every three years. At the last two conferences proposals from the Israel/Palestine working group did not pass. Follow the debate live on Twitter under the hashtags: #GC41 and #UCCan
h/t Sid Shniad