Christians against Israel?

In an astonishing display, a group of Palestinian-Christian church leaders have denounced the Jewish state as the main obstacle to peace in the Middle East.

In an astonishing display of self-deception and anti-Israel theologicalrhetoric, a group of Palestinian-Christian church leaders havedenounced the Jewish state as the main obstacle to peace in the MiddleEast.
In a declaration labeled The Kairos Palestine Document, a message of"faith, hope and love," Israel was tagged as the instigator of allsignificant Palestinian suffering and deprivation. The messengersinclude leaders of Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Lutheran, Anglican andBaptist churches. Here is an excerpt:
"We, a group of Christian Palestinians,after prayer, reflection and an exchange of opinion, cry out fromwithin the suffering in our country, under the Israeli occupation, witha cry of hope in the absence of all hope, a cry full of prayer andfaith in a God ever vigilant, in God's divine providence for all theinhabitants of this land.... Today we have reached a dead end in thetragedy of the Palestinian people."
The character and tone of the message of "faith, hope and love" can beseen in the following reference to the creation of Israel:
"One of the most important signs ofhope is the steadfastness of the [Palestinian] generations, the beliefin the justice of their cause and the continuity of memory, which doesnot forget the Nakba and its significance."
The Nakba, or catastrophe, refers to the national rebirth of Israel in 1948.
The document claims the following:
  • "The injustice against the Palestinian people which is theIsraeli occupation is an evil that must be resisted. It is an evil anda sin that must be resisted and removed. Primary responsibility forthis rests with the Palestinians themselves.... Yes, there isPalestinian resistance to the occupation. However, if there were nooccupation, there would be no resistance, no fear and no insecurity."
  • "And the prisoners? The thousands of prisoners languishing inIsraeli prisons are part of our reality. The Israelis move heaven andearth to gain the release of one prisoner, and those thousands ofPalestinian prisoners, when will they have their freedom?"
  • "Refugees are also part of our reality. Most of them are stillliving in camps under difficult circumstances. They have been waitingfor their right of return, generation after generation. What will betheir fate?"
  • "The absence of any vision or spark of hope for peace and freedompushes young people, both Muslim and Christian, to emigrate. Thus theland is deprived of its most important and richest resource, ­­educatedyouth."
  • "Fear and security are a pretext for aggression: We call onIsrael to give up its injustice towards us, not to twist the truth ofreality of the occupation by pretending that it is a battle againstterrorism. The roots of terrorism are in the human injustice committedand in the evil of the occupation."
Especially noteworthy is that many positions expressed in this documentappear to mirror those of militant Islamists. The broad implication isthat Israelis must become virtual pacifists; and, in the name of"faith, hope and love," relinquish their quest for security with noshred of evidence that the forces determined to destroy them will playby the same rules.
This document is permeated with inaccuracies. For example, theChristian exodus from the region cannot be blamed on Israel. It is thewell-documented and openly declared position of radical Islamists toclear the entire Middle East of its Christian presence. In short,Palestinian church leaders would do well to direct their ire in theright direction: toward the Islamic militants who have hijacked controlof the Palestinian people and contribute daily to their deprivation andmisery.
Getting to the Root of the Problem
The document displays an overwhelming amount of theological animositytoward Israel, and against Christians who support the right of a Jewishstate to exist. Those who espouse Replacement Theology (that the Churchis now the true Israel of God) refuse to connect any biblicalassociations with Jewish rights to a modern homeland. Furthermore, theygive no quarter to an agree-to-disagree theological analyses of thequestion of Jewish rights.
Consider the following excerpt:
"Furthermore, we know that certaintheologians in the West try to attach a biblical and theologicallegitimacy to the infringement of our rights. Thus, the promises,according to their interpretation, have become a menace to our veryexistence. The 'good news' in the Gospel itself has become a 'harbingerof death' for us.
....We declare that any theology, seemingly based on the Bible or onfaith or on history, that legitimizes the occupation, is far fromChristian teachings, because it calls for violence and holy war in thename of God Almighty."
Consequently, people who advocate, on biblical grounds, the right ofthe Jewish people to a national home in the land God gave them areaccused of using theology as a "harbinger of death" for PalestinianChristians and Muslims. Also alleged is that Christians who believe inbiblical, historical, moral and legal justification for a contemporaryJewish state are guilty of politicizing the gospel. Yet theseaccusations appear in a document that is not only rife with politicalpositions but with rhetoric that is a radicalized, theologicalvilification of the State of Israel and conservative Christians whohappen to disagree with the Kairos position.
To love or Not to Love
In smearing the opposition, these leaders accuse those who disagreewith them of being unloving and bent on the death of Palestinians, whoare depicted as victims of their unscrupulous Israeli tormentors. Forthose of us who live in the world of theological and historicalreality, the Palestinian people - especially Palestinian Christians­­ -are indeed victimized daily, but by radical Islamist elements who usePalestinian suffering as a pawn in their rampage toward regionalconquest.
Contrary to what Christians on the Kairos Document's enemies list areaccused of, supporters of Israel still love the Palestinian and Arabpeople. We do not wish them dead. We do not wish them to suffer. We do,however, support a just settlement of the conflict, with Israelis andPalestinians living with security and mutual regard for life andliberty.
Frankly, the charges brought by these "Christian leaders" accusingother Christians of criminal collaboration to instigate genocide areunworthy of true Christianity­­, liberal or conservative.