Churches call on Prime Minister for stronger action to address conditions in Israel and Palestine

July 11, 2023

Dear Prime Minister,

At the recent Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and the Anglican Church of Canada both churches affirmed a resolution calling for stronger action to address the deteriorating conditions in Israel and Palestine, in keeping with already stated Canadian government policies for the region.

Despite strong international opposition to the State of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories, it continues at an accelerating pace. Settler violence against Palestinian communities and people is increasing daily. The internationally accepted two-state solution seems more and more untenable in light of the permanency of illegal settlements and isolation of Palestinian communities. Christians in the Holy Land are increasingly targeted for abuse and violence including their places of worship. Our partners in the region continue to call us to advocate with them for a just peace that upholds the dignity of all peoples in the region.

The resolution approved by our churches on July 2, 2023, recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist and opposes violence by both sides in this extended conflict. We commit to doing our own work on anti-semitism in our churches as well, and educating our congregations about the conflict.

Specifically, our resolutions call us to:

  • Urge Canada to take leadership in the international community to end the blockade on Gaza and ensure residents have immediate access to humanitarian assistance and freedom of movement, while affirming the necessary conditions to address Israel’s legitimate security concerns.
  • Call on Canada to increase funding to UNRWA which provides essential services to millions of refugees, including those in Gaza where 70 percentage are refugees of 1948. In 2020 the Canadian government announced a 3-year, $90 million commitment from 2020 through 2022 but this funding is not increasing rapidly enough to fill this critical gap. We urge Canada to give $50 million annually to UNRWA, matching Norway’s contribution based on GDP.
  • Call on the Canadian government to continue to take a just, constructive, and human rights-based approach on Palestine-Israel issues, taking into account the extreme imbalance of power between Palestine and Israel and in line with international law and official Canadian foreign policy.
  • Urge the government of Canada to live up to the entirety of its existing policies on peace in Palestine and Israel, and to its commitments to International Law and International Conventions.

We must raise our voice to foster peace and hold all sides accountable for violations of international law and justice. To not do so is to give permission for further disproportionate aggression to continue.

We understand the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development will be undertaking a full review of Canadian policies regarding Israel and Palestine in Fall 2023 with a series of public consultations. We hope the government will be paying attention to this study as it considers its own next steps in working to end this conflict. We acknowledge this is a complex conflict and believe Canada has an important role to play in advocating for peace and setting policies that will guide our voice and actions. We remain committed to working towards this peace together, and continue to welcome conversation with the Minister of Foreign Affairs to discuss our concerns.


[signed] +Susan C Johnson
Bishop Susan Johnson
National Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

[signed] +Linda Nicholls
Archbishop Linda Nicholls
Primate, Anglican Church of Canada

Matthew 10:40-42


40 “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous, 42 and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”

John 15:12-17

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing, but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

John 21:15-19

Jesus and Peter

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” 19 (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Luke 11:33-36

The Light of the Body

33 “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a bushel basket; rather, one puts it on the lampstand so that those who enter may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but if it is unhealthy, your body is full of darkness. 35 Therefore consider whether the light in you is not darkness. 36 But if your whole body is full of light, with no part of it in darkness, it will be as full of light as when a lamp gives you light with its rays.”

Matthew 8:1-4

Jesus Cleanses a Man

8 When Jesus had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him, and there was a man with a skin disease who came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” He stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing. Be made clean!” Immediately his skin disease was cleansed. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”