Worldwide Christian and Jewish responses to goods from Israeli settlements

Christian Responses

2001, 2005 & 2009: World Council of Churches recognised need for settlement boycotts
The Council says that churches must not be complicit in illegal activities in Occupied Territory. It also recognises the need for an international boycott of settlement products and services, for member churches to inform themselves about settlement products imported into their countries, and for churches to practise morally responsible investment in order to influence businesses linked to the Israeli occupation and its illegal settlements.

Jan 2003: Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu called for a full boycott of Israel
The Archbishop encouraged the international community to treat Israel as it did South Africa during the apartheid regime, and called for people of faith to take up boycotts as a form of moral pressure.

Dec 2009: Palestinian Christians call for action including boycotts and sanctions through Kairos Palestine document
Palestinian Christians released a statement in 2009 called Kairos Palestine as a “word of faith, hope and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering”. They call for action from the international community including the beginning of a system of economic sanctions and boycott. The Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem signed a covering note supporting the call.

July 2010: National Council of Churches in Australia invited a settlement goods boycott
A resolution passed at the Council’s National Forum called on its member Churches and the wider Australian community to consider a boycott of goods produced by Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

July 2011: Uniting Church in Australia supported a boycott of settlement products
The Church’s Assembly Standing Committee resolved, on behalf of the Assembly, to join a boycott of products produced in the illegal Israeli Settlements within the Palestinian Territory of the West Bank.

March 2008: American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), adopted an investment ‘screen’
The AFSC resolved that: Investments should not be made in any company that provides products or services, including financial services, to Israeli Governmental or military bodies … or to Israeli or Palestinian organizations or groups that are used to facilitate or undertake violent acts against civilians or violations of international law.


July 2012: Methodist Conference (UK) called on British Government to end trade with Israeli settlements
The Conference noted the illegality of the Israeli settlements and called on the Government to end the trade in products from those settlements.


Sept 2012: Report on “Trading away Peace” by 22 European Christian organisations
The report recommended a series of measures to ensure trade with settlements is ended, stating that: The many linkages with settlements are inconsistent with Europe’s obligations under international law, which stipulates that third parties, including European Governments, have the duty not to recognise, aid or assist settlements as well as the duty to effectively oppose them.

2012: Quakers divested from companies Hewlett Packard, VEOLIA and Caterpillar

The Society of Friends (Quakers), through Friends Fiduciary, decided to divest from these three companies which profit from their operations in Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestine.


March 2013: United Church of Canada (UCC) launched “Unsettling Goods” campaign

The 41st General Council of the UCC in August 2012 called on United Church members to take concrete actions to support the end of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian Territories. This led to the Church’s Unsettling Goods campaign which encourages members not to buy products made in settlements, and for retailers to cease stocking them. To date the campaign has focussed on three companies:   Ahava, Keter Plastic and SodaStream.


March 2014: United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (USA) issued a call to boycott SodaStream
Although the United Methodist Church does not support a boycott of products made in Israel, it is opposed to products made by Israeli companies operating in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.


June 2014: Presbyterian Church (USA) divested from Hewlett Packard, Motorola and Caterpillar

The Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly in Detroit resolved to divest its holdings from three US corporations – Hewlett Packard, Motorola Solutions and Caterpillar – on the basis of their well-documented record of complicity in the oppression and denial of the human rights of Palestinians. The resolution led the Church to direct the divestment of its $21 million holdings in these companies.

Jewish Responses

The widespread take up of Jewish people engaging in boycotts, both of settlement products and more broadly have been documented in recent news articles. The following represent just a few examples.


1997: Israeli group Gush Shalom lists settlement goods in order to promote a boycott of such
Israeli group Gush Shalom led by prominent Israeli peace activist and former Knesset member Uri Avney estimates that tens of thousands of Israelis choose not to buy goods from the settlements.


2003: Jewish Voice for Peace (USA) calls for boycott of goods manufactured or distributed from settlements
Jewish Voice for Peace is a US wide organisation that estimates it has 100,000 online activists. In 2002 they stated that Jewish Voice for Peace calls for the boycott of Israeli products manufactured in the occupied territories, or distributed by Israeli companies based there. Since that time, Jewish Voice for Peace has issued a statement of support for the whole boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign regarding Israel, making clear that to boycott goods from Israel is not anti-Semitic.


2010: Australian Jewish Democratic Society (AJDS) gives support to boycotts focussed on ending the occupation
Their statement gives support for selected boycotts designed to bring about an end to the Israeli occupation, blockade and settlement on Palestinians lands lying outside of the June 1967 Israeli borders. In 2013 AJDS initiated a campaign don’t buy settlement products which encouraged Jewish communities not to buy products made in settlements.

2010: European Jews for a Just Peace issues statement supporting full boycotts of Israel
European Jews for a Just Peace (EJJP) is a federation of Jewish groups in ten European countries. They recall the years of breaches of international law by Israel in their statement which declares:
the EJJP recognises the value of the BDS call from Palestinian civil society as a useful non-violent tool in its struggle against the Occupation; that EJJP joins the BDS to pressure the European Parliament and each European Government to live up to their obligations towards international law and Human Rights.


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