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Canada’s largest Protestant denomination boycotts Israeli settlement products

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The United Church of Canada -- the largest Protestant denomination in the country -- voted this week to boycott products made in Israeli settlements, local media reported.

Bruce Gregersen, a United Church General Council officer and spokesperson, told The Toronto Star newspaper that the vote was a “significant step” toward the church’s affirmation of the entire proposal.

“I think the mind of the council appears to be clear,” he said in the newspaper.

While tallies of the Tuesday vote were not immediately available, Gregersen reportedly said voters were “substantially in favor” of the boycott motion.

Representatives will vote on Friday to decide whether their decision will be a permanent policy of their church, which counts nearly 3 million adherents.

Many in Canada’s Jewish community strongly condemned the vote, according to a statement by the World Jewish Congress.

“The reaction of the Jewish community is one of unbridled outrage. It is beyond comprehension that [the church] would choose to so skew a commentary on the conflict and come out with so one-sided an approach,” Shimon Fogel, CEO of the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs, the Jewish umbrella body in Canada, said in the statement.