Montreal, July 6, 2023 - CJPME has sent a letter to the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) to congratulate them for adopting a principled resolution in support of Palestinian human rights. Read the letter text below, or click here to download a PDF.
Dear Archbishop Nicholls and Bishop Johnson,
I am writing to you as the Vice President of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME, https://www.cjpme.org/), a national advocacy organization whose mission is to empower Canadians of all backgrounds to promote justice, development, and peace in the Middle East, and here at home in Canada. Founded in 2004, more than 200,000 people across Canada have participated in our campaigns or events in some way. Our membership is made up of people of all backgrounds, including Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim Canadians, who are committed to advancing the principles of social justice and equality at home and abroad.
CJPME would like to express our strong support and appreciation for the “Resolution on Peace and Justice in Palestine and Israel” which was adopted by the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) in assembly with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) on July 2, 2023. It is evident that this resolution is a necessary and appropriate response to your Palestinian Christian partners on the ground. In a situation of profound injustice, it is critical that we foreground the perspectives of those who are oppressed, as your policy rightfully does.
We are happy to see that this principled resolution commits your offices to “respond to opportunities for solidarity and advocacy” in support of Palestinian human rights. We believe that Canadian churches have an important role to play in educating the public about injustice, standing in solidarity with the oppressed, and urging action from political decision-makers. We warmly welcome this strengthened mandate for your churches and extend an open invitation for cooperation and discussion on how we can collectively pursue these goals.
Importantly, I note that the resolution asks your offices to “examine, discuss, and address emerging realities, including the implications of the recent reports by B’Tselem, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International, and for its governing bodies to respond appropriately.” This is a reference to a crystallizing consensus in the human rights sector that Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians amounts to the crime of apartheid under international law. My organization has long held this view, and similar conclusions are shared by UN experts, Israel’s leading human rights groups, and virtually the entirety of Palestinian civil society. It is also consistent with your endorsement of the World Council of Church’s recognition that “Israeli discrimination against Palestinians is overt and systemic.” We welcome your commitment to discuss the findings of Israel’s apartheid and the implications that this poses to policy and advocacy.
Finally, we welcome the resolution’s commitment not just to advocacy, but for action. I would like to suggest that your offices consider heeding the invitation from Palestinian civil society to adopt forms of economic pressure against Israel until it complies with international law; such measures could include divestment from companies, or the boycott of products, that are found to be complicit in the oppression of Palestinians. The invitation was first articulated in the Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) in 2005, and again by Palestinian Christians in the Kairos Palestine Document in 2009. Since then, several Canadian churches have responded to this call by adopting and/or promoting various forms of economic pressure against Israel. These include the United Church of Canada, Mennonite Church Canada, and the Canadian Friends Service Committee (Quakers). Economic protest is a practical and non-violent way that Churches can act in support of human rights, and we encourage you to reflect on how your offices could similarly respond to this call from Palestinians as you seek to put your resolution into practice.
Congratulations again for the successful adoption of this important and principled resolution, which is a meaningful demonstration of solidarity and an important step forward towards justice and peace in Palestine in Israel.
Michael Bueckert, PhD
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East
 For a list of prominent organizations and individuals to adopt the terminology of apartheid in recent years, see CJPME’s resource, “Who is talking about Israeli apartheid?,” https://www.cjpme.org/apartheid_list
 Kairos Palestine Document, December 11, 2009, https://www.oikoumene.org/resources/documents/kairos-palestine-document