A survey of Anglican Bishops was planned by a coalition of ten Christian, Jewish, Muslim and secular groups that were concerned about the position the Church of England had taken vis-à-vis Israel/Palestine under the leadership of Archbishop Justin Welby. It was executed by CAMPAIN (the Campaign against Misrepresentation in Public Affairs, Information and the News)
An Open Letter of April 25th raised a series of issues, but the matter of most immediate concern was Welby’s denial of the existence of Israeli apartheid, which placed him at odds with the views of late Archbishop Tutu, the Anglican Church of South Africa, renowned international and Israeli human rights organisations, Palestinian Christians and the United Nations.
The purpose of the survey was to ascertain whether other CofE bishops widely shared Welby’s opinion, and if so, why?
On 28 August 1963 Martin Luther King, co-led a civil-rights march of 250,000 people in Washington DC against racism and segregation. In what has become probably the most well-known and widely quoted speech in history, King shared his dream of a diverse but united multi-ethnic nation:
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed. We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by their character. When we let freedom ring, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old spiritual, “Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”
The origins of institutional racism can be traced back to the European colonization of the Americas and Africa and to the slave trade. With the abolition of slavery, institutional racism evolved into American segregation, German Antisemitism and South African Apartheid.
The term “genocide” was formulated by the Jewish-Polish lawyer Raphael Lemkin against the backdrop of the Holocaust. It was codified as a crime under international law in the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the Genocide Convention). The definition of genocide, as set out in Article 2 of the Convention, is simple and straightforward, its first three elements clearly reflecting Israeli policies and actions towards the Palestinian people since initiating its process of systematic genocide in 1947:
Genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.
My favorite hotel in all the world is the Walled Off in Bethlehem. Designed by Banksy, the anonymous British artist, it overlooks the Separation Wall. In bricks and mortar Banksy demonstrates how art can become an act of defiance against Israeli settler colonialism and apartheid. Tuesday this week, 29th August, was the anniversary of the assassination of Naji Al-Ali, the Palestinian political cartoonist and writer who drew the iconic image of the 10-year-old child Handala, which you often find drawn on the Apartheid Wall dividing the illegal Israeli colonies from the Palestinian ghettos. Appropriately therefore this week’s Kumi Now reflection, is entitled, ‘Art as Resistance’.
“Too often the Palestinian tragedy is portrayed as a humanitarian crisis rather than one that has to do with identity and self-determination. They believe art is a luxury that Palestinians cannot afford. That, instead, what they need is bread to eat, to fill their stomach, so they can think and live another day. But people “shall not live by bread alone” (Matthew 4:4). Art and culture instead feed the soul and allow it to thrive. It gives people the strength to refuse being on the receiving end, perceived as victims. It allows people to become actors instead of spectators. It gives them the long breath necessary to resist. For wherever there is occupation, there will be resistance. The question therefore is not whether to resist, but how to resist.”
“In recent times, we’ve witnessed a series of events that have disrupted the harmony of the Christian presence in the Holy Land. One such event is the controversial deal involving a portion of properties in the Armenian Quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem. These occurrences are part of a broader pattern of recurring attacks on Christian churches, cemeteries, clergy, nuns, pilgrims, and Christian gatherings across various regions in our lands. This situation leads us to believe that there is a deliberate Israeli policy aimed at targeting our historical existence, institutions, rituals, and spiritual symbols. This policy is occurring within the context of the occupation’s efforts to assert control over Jerusalem, to Judaize sacred lands, and to intimidate and displace Christians.
The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) remembers the Nakba on its 75th anniversary by giving voice to critical Israeli Jews who speak about Zionism, the ongoing ethnic cleansing and how it is time for all Israelis and Jews to acknowledge the Nakba and take responsibility for it. With Jeff Halper, Livnat Konopny, Anat Matar, Gideon Levy, Rachel Beitarie, Tom Pessah, and Haim Bresheeth.
In this second video Jeff Halper elaborates on the tragedy of the Nakba
Mark is Executive Director, Kairos USA and Research Fellow in Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology, Stellenbosch University.
These are the questions asked in our interview (paraphrased):
How do we reconcile the biblical texts promising the land to the descendants of Abraham with the call of the Palestinian Christians for sharing the land of Palestine?
The modern Jewish Zionist program calls the land “Israel.” And the settler movement, with the support of the Israeli government, is committed to Jewish hegemony over the entire land from the river to the sea (indeed, from the Nile to the Euphrates!). They justify this biblically. Is this claim consistent with biblical promises?
Is it theologically sound to use the Bible to argue land claims and human rights issues of equality? How do we read the Bible today confronting issues of racism and colonialism? What does Jesus have to say about this?
Christian Zionism provides the basis for many Christians’ commitment to and activity in support of the State of Israel. It is also being challenged, as biblically erroneous, theological unsound, and unacceptable on moral grounds. Is it Biblical? Indeed, what is its provenance with respect to the political and historical contexts in which it was conceived, took shape, and has been applied, right up to the present day?
We, members of Kairos Palestine and Global Kairos for Justice, have created a theological study for Christians and other civil society organizations who want to learn more about the crime of apartheid and why Palestinians and a growing number of churches and human rights organizations are using the word to describe Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.
John Wesley preached outdoors because the Church of England denied him a pulpit over his evangelical theology. He could have left the Anglican Church but didn’t. They didn’t want him. His theology was too evangelical. His love was too extravagant. His methods too unorthodox. So they shut him out of churches and pulpits. They could not silence Wesley. Instead he preached in the open air – in fields, markets, and cemeteries and the crowds loved him.
Today it was my privilege to read and expound the scriptures in the open air in Whitehall outside Downing Street before an estimated 15,000+ Jews, Muslims, Christians and those of no faith, all with police protection. It was truly one of the highlights of my ministry. (click on the photo above to watch my presentation). The text of my presentation together with photos and more short videos may be found below.