Anglican Church of S. Africa passes BDS resolution

‘The current political nation state of Israel and Israel in the Bible should not be confused with each other’

October 3, 2019 02:23
2 minute read.
Protestors call for the severing of diplomatic ties with Israel during a march in Cape Town

Protestors call for the severing of diplomatic ties with Israel during a march in Cape Town, South Africa, May 15, 2018. (photo credit: REUTERS/MIKE HUTCHINGS)

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement in South Africa has praised the Anglican Church of Southern Africa’s (ACSA) decision to support nonviolent action to end Israel’s military occupation of Palestine, especially “well-directed BDS actions.”

The Synod resolved to back a BDS resolution earlier this week. ACSA, which has over four million followers, represents Anglican Christian communities in South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique and Angola, among others in the region.

“In a motion, now a binding resolution titled ‘Time to act: Solidarity with Palestine,’ the church specifically calls for support of the ‘well-directed Boycott, Divestment and Sanction actions against the Israeli state until they end their occupation of Palestine,’” BDS South Africa said in a statement, thanking ACSA for its decision.

The resolution, which was proposed by Bishop Luke Pato of Namibia, stressed that the “situation in the Holy Land demands the attention of the Christian church precisely because that is the place where Jesus the Christ was born, nurtured, crucified and raised.

“The current political nation-state of Israel and Israel in the Bible should not be confused with each other,” the resolution stated, adding that “many Christian pilgrimages to the current State of Israel often ignore the Christians living in Palestine.”

The ACSA resolution also highlighted that “there are possible similarities between apartheid in South Africa and what is happening in Israel and Palestine, and that in some respects, the situation there can be described as worse than apartheid.”

The Synod stressed that “Southern Africans have a special responsibility to stand by the oppressed in the same way that others in the international community stood with us during our own oppression.
Palestinians and Israelis both deserve to live in peace and harmony as this will contribute to peace not only in that region, but globally. Nonviolent solutions underpinned by faith, hope and love, to the challenges there are the only solutions that the Church should actively pursue.”

ACSA stressed that “current efforts by the international community are not enough and new initiatives towards peace, justice and reconciliation should be pursued,” adding that “the military occupation of Palestine must end as soon as possible.”

However, in the same breath, ACSA’s resolution made it clear that “all forms of antisemitism and Islamophobia should be condemned in the strongest terms.”

“Jerusalem should be a place where all the nations are able to gather, and it should not be for the exclusive use of one group over another,” it added.

Earlier this year following a 10-day trip to the country, a group of well-known Christian leaders from America and South Africa, who represent over 55 million worshipers collectively, slammed Israel for its treatment of Palestinians, and called for economic pressure to be applied.

While on the trip, the group said they “came to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories in the hope of meeting Israeli and Palestinian citizens.”

The group said that Israel’s “draconian security measures” were stoked by a “thick density of fear” that begets hatred.

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