United Church of Canada votes in favor of BDS

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) – The general council of a large Canadian church network voted in favor of promoting a boycott against institutions complicit in what it called the illegal occupation of Palestinian land.

On its 42nd annual gathering this week, the council of the United Church of Canada voted in favor of the text on Israel on Aug. 11, its website reported.

The resolution passed was in favor of ““initiating and developing a program of education and advocacy in cooperation with our partners, related to divestment from and economic sanctions against all corporations and institutions complicit in and benefitting from the illegal occupation. This would include education about tourism which bolsters the oppression of Palestinians.”

Founded in 1925, the United Church of Canada is among the country’s largest with at least 600,000 members, according to The National Post of Toronto.

Separately, in Europe the prominent Swiss Jewish filmmaker Stina Werenfels weighed in on a debate around funding by the Israeli Film Fund for Switzerland’s Locarno Film Festival. In recent weeks, over 400 personalities from the film industry signed a petition titled “No Carte Blanche for Israeli apartheid” denouncing the collaboration.

At a press conference earlier this week, Werenfels, who was raised as a Christian but has a Jewish mother, said she was “shocked” that the Locarno festival organizers accepted money from an organization that enjoys funding from the Israeli government, the Jewish Swiss WSeekly Tachles reported Friday.

Organizers of the festival, which opened on Aug. 4 and is due to end Saturday, dropped Israel from the name of a program dedicated to Israeli cinema, calling it “First Look” instead.

Earlier this week, Israeli director Roy Zafrani said his submission of his film on children with disabilities was rejected from a Norwegian film festival because of what organizers called Israeli occupation. He has declined to name the festival in question.