UK Methodists Support Boycott of Israeli Settlement Goods

Methodists in the United Kingdom are supporting a call made by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and other faith leaders for a boycott of goods produced in Israeli settlements.

The National Methodist Conference adopted the resolution during a June 24-July 1 conference in Portsmouth, calling on Methodists to "support and engage with this boycott of Israeli goods emanating from illegal settlements."

"This decision has not been taken lightly, but after months of research, careful consideration and finally, today's debate at the Conference," said Christine Elliott, Secretary for External Relationships.

"The goal of the boycott is to put an end to the existing injustice. It reflects the challenge that settlements present to a lasting peace in the region," she added.

The conference noted that occupation has "made life intolerable for many" and that public awareness of "what is actually happening in Israel/Palestine is largely lacking."

The group also directed its Faith and Order committee to undertake work on theological issues, including Christian Zionism, that were outlined in the conference's reports.

"The Methodist Conference commends all the peoples of the region to the loving care of Almighty God and urges the Methodist people to engage in regular, informed prayer for the needs of the Land of the Holy One."

The WCC's statement, which was made in 2009, notes that Israel's nearly 200 settlements in disputed territories "make the peace efforts by the international community more vulnerable and virtually impossible."

The WCC also invited its member churches to give "moral and practical support to non-violent acts of resistance to the confiscation of land, the destruction of Palestinian properties and the eviction of people from their homes and lands."

WCC General Secretary the Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit congratulated the Methodist conference for the "important and forward looking resolutions by your church around the question of a just peace for Palestine and Israel."

"Palestinian Christians will certainly take courage and strength from the implementation of the report's resolutions," he said. " They will be more courageous in denouncing all forms of violence and to invoke the need for enforcing international law by bringing an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories."

"Such actions are visible proof of your irreversible conviction that God demands that we dare more than words," he said.

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