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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 theological rhetoric, a group of Palestinian-Christian church leaders have denounced the Jewish state as the main obstacle to peace in the Middle East.

In a declaration labeled The Kairos Palestine Document, a message of "faith, hope and love," Israel was tagged as the instigator of all significant Palestinian suffering and deprivation. The messengers include leaders of Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Lutheran, Anglican and Baptist churches. Here is an excerpt:

"We, a group of Christian Palestinians, after prayer, reflection and an exchange of opinion, cry out from within the suffering in our country, under the Israeli occupation, with a cry of hope in the absence of all hope, a cry full of prayer and faith in a God ever vigilant, in God's divine providence for all the inhabitants of this land.... Today we have reached a dead end in the tragedy of the Palestinian people."

The character and tone of the message of "faith, hope and love" can be seen in the following reference to the creation of Israel:

"One of the most important signs of hope is the steadfastness of the [Palestinian] generations, the belief in the justice of their cause and the continuity of memory, which does not 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 the Israeli occupation is an evil that must be resisted. It is an evil and a sin that must be resisted and removed. Primary responsibility for this rests with the Palestinians themselves.... Yes, there is Palestinian resistance to the occupation. However, if there were no occupation, there would be no resistance, no fear and no insecurity."
  • "And the prisoners? The thousands of prisoners languishing in Israeli prisons are part of our reality. The Israelis move heaven and earth to gain the release of one prisoner, and those thousands of Palestinian prisoners, when will they have their freedom?"
  • "Refugees are also part of our reality. Most of them are still living in camps under difficult circumstances. They have been waiting for their right of return, generation after generation. What will be their fate?"
  • "The absence of any vision or spark of hope for peace and freedom pushes young people, both Muslim and Christian, to emigrate. Thus the land is deprived of its most important and richest resource, ­­educated youth."
  • "Fear and security are a pretext for aggression: We call on Israel to give up its injustice towards us, not to twist the truth of reality of the occupation by pretending that it is a battle against terrorism. The roots of terrorism are in the human injustice committed and in the evil of the occupation."
Especially noteworthy is that many positions expressed in this document appear to mirror those of militant Islamists. The broad implication is that Israelis must become virtual pacifists; and, in the name of "faith, hope and love," relinquish their quest for security with no shred of evidence that the forces determined to destroy them will play by the same rules.

This document is permeated with inaccuracies. For example, the Christian exodus from the region cannot be blamed on Israel. It is the well-documented and openly declared position of radical Islamists to clear the entire Middle East of its Christian presence. In short, Palestinian church leaders would do well to direct their ire in the right direction: toward the Islamic militants who have hijacked control of the Palestinian people and contribute daily to their deprivation and misery.

Getting to the Root of the Problem

The document displays an overwhelming amount of theological animosity toward Israel, and against Christians who support the right of a Jewish state to exist. Those who espouse Replacement Theology (that the Church is now the true Israel of God) refuse to connect any biblical associations with Jewish rights to a modern homeland. Furthermore, they give no quarter to an agree-to-disagree theological analyses of the question of Jewish rights.

Consider the following excerpt:

"Furthermore, we know that certain theologians in the West try to attach a biblical and theological legitimacy to the infringement of our rights. Thus, the promises, according to their interpretation, have become a menace to our very existence. The 'good news' in the Gospel itself has become a 'harbinger of death' for us.

....We declare that any theology, seemingly based on the Bible or on faith or on history, that legitimizes the occupation, is far from Christian teachings, because it calls for violence and holy war in the name of God Almighty."

Consequently, people who advocate, on biblical grounds, the right of the Jewish people to a national home in the land God gave them are accused of using theology as a "harbinger of death" for Palestinian Christians and Muslims. Also alleged is that Christians who believe in biblical, historical, moral and legal justification for a contemporary Jewish state are guilty of politicizing the gospel. Yet these accusations appear in a document that is not only rife with political positions but with rhetoric that is a radicalized, theological vilification of the State of Israel and conservative Christians who happen to disagree with the Kairos position.

To love or Not to Love

In smearing the opposition, these leaders accuse those who disagree with them of being unloving and bent on the death of Palestinians, who are depicted as victims of their unscrupulous Israeli tormentors. For those of us who live in the world of theological and historical reality, the Palestinian people - especially Palestinian Christians­­ - are indeed victimized daily, but by radical Islamist elements who use Palestinian suffering as a pawn in their rampage toward regional conquest.

Contrary to what Christians on the Kairos Document's enemies list are accused of, supporters of Israel still love the Palestinian and Arab people. 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 and Palestinians living with security and mutual regard for life and liberty.

Frankly, the charges brought by these "Christian leaders" accusing other Christians of criminal collaboration to instigate genocide are unworthy of true Christianity­­, liberal or conservative.
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