Church is sued over Israel boycott

October 7, 2010

A Methodist preacher is planning to sue his own church over its decision to boycott Israeli goods.

Birmingham-based David Hallam has accused the Methodist Church of being "discriminatory" after its conference passed a report in July calling for a boycott of products from "illegal" West Bank settlements.

Mr Hallam, a former Labour MEP, said: "I tried to handle this internally and wrote to the Church to say I'm not certain we have the power to use donations from the collection to run a discriminatory campaign against Israeli Jews.

"I object to the one-sided and bigoted approach.

"I am in consultation with lawyers to put together a case to show the conference acted beyond its powers in using donated money in this way. We will make it clear the Methodist Conference does not act as a sovereign body."

Methodist spokesman Toby Scott said that the Church was confident that it had complied with the law.

"Despite the publicity and the threat of legal action, we have received nothing yet... to make clear what we're accused of," he said.

"The report was debated by the annual Methodist Conference, which is both democratic and representative of the whole Church."

Last updated: 5:17pm, October 7 2010