On July 3, 2010, the Presbyterian Church USA will hold its General Assembly (GA) in Minneapolis, MN. Once again, the pro-Palestinian elements within the church hierarchy are seeking to pass anti-Israel resolutions. This year’s GA will outdo itself with the inclusion of a viciously anti-Israel declaration called the "Kairos Palestine Document."
A bit of cultural and historical analysis is necessary to appreciate the insidious nature of the Kairos Palestine Document: The Christian minority in the Hamas controlled Gaza Strip, and in the Palestinian Authority dominated West Bank, exemplify the state of dhimmitude. A dhimmi is a non-Muslim subject of a state governed by Islamic Sharia law. This individual must pay a poll tax known as jizya, live with severe restrictions on his or her freedom of religion, and is considered less than a second-class citizen. In an effort to be tolerated, Christian clergy members have had to demonstrate greater zeal than Muslims in vilifying Israel - a kind of loyalty test for Christians who, in order to hold any position of power, must ingratiate themselves with Muslim authorities.
As a result of having become a conquered minority in historically Christian lands, Christians in the Arab world have sought shelter, tolerance, and acceptance under the wide ideological umbrellas of Arab nationalism, socialism, and communism, and in recent decades, under the Palestinian liberation movement. One can find leading Arab-Christians in the Arab fascist nationalist Baath Party founded by Michel Aflak, a Greek-Orthodox Christian from Syria; George Habash, a Greek-Orthodox Christian and founder of the Marxist terrorist group, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP); Wadie Haddad another Greek Orthodox Christian terrorist leader who is also aligned with Habash in the PFLP, as well as the Jordan born Neyef Hawatameh, founder and leader of the Popular Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PDFLP), an offshoot of the PFLP. It was the PDFLP that perpetrated the Maalot massacre of Jewish-Israeli schoolchildren in 1974.
The anti-Semitism that the Second Vatican Council and Nostra Aetate sought to eradicate in Western Christianity following the Holocaust never had an impact on the Arab Middle East. In this region, the Anglican/Episcopal Canon Rev. Naim Ateek, founder of the Sabeel Ecumenical Palestinian Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem, made his career as a propagandist on behalf of the Arab-Palestinian cause. Ateek routinely distorts the symbolism of Jesus on the cross by depicting Arab-Palestinians being crucified by Israeli-Jews in presentations he makes to European and American mainline Protestant church audiences. The Sabeel website is filled with examples of the vilification of Israel through the use classic anti-Semitic imagery.
The Kairos Palestine Document is essentially a copy of Hamas and Fatah “talking points” wrapped in religious packaging. Most disturbing are the blatant lies of both commission and omission. The document reads, in part:
The separation wall erected on Palestinian territory, a large part of which has been confiscated for this purpose, has turned our towns and villages into prisons, separating them from one another, making them dispersed and divided cantons. Gaza, especially after the cruel war Israel launched against it during December 2008 and January 2009, continues to live in inhuman conditions, under permanent blockade and cut off from the other Palestinian territories.
The “separation wall” was erected to prevent Arab-Palestinian terrorists from killing innocent Jewish civilians in the cities of Israel. In the instances where the Israeli government had, in fact, built on Arab owned land – citing ‘eminent domain’ – Arabs successfully litigated against the government. The Israeli Supreme Court ruled in their favor ordering the government to remove the wall.
Following years of Hamas rockets firing on Israeli communities in the Negev (within the Green Line) and specifically targeting civilians, Israeli forces attacked the Hamas terrorist strongholds in Gaza. Israel had unilaterally withdrawn from Gaza in 2005, and left fully operative greenhouses for the Palestinians – a veritable turn-key operation that could have provided them with instant incomes. Destruction ensued and, with all the greenhouses leveled, the area then served as a base from which to send rockets, suicide-bombers, and kidnappers. The authors of the Kairos document and their PCUSA friends have chosen, in their ill-will towards Jews and Israel, to ignore these “insignificant” facts.
The mantra of “occupation” as justification for “resistance” is equally ludicrous. “Resistance” or, more accurately, “terrorism,” against Jews began in earnest in the 1950’s with the Fedayeen murdering Israeli civilians. This occurred long before the Six-Day War of 1967 and the so-called occupation.” In fact, Arab “resistance” and the wanton murder of Jews in Palestine took place in the 1920’s and 1930’s, instigated and led by the Mufti of Jerusalem and Hitler’s partner in the Final Solution, Haj Amin el-Husseini.
Jewish settlements in the West Bank are legal under international law. Jews purchased the land from willing Arab sellers, or leased the land from the government. The settlements provide employment and services for the surrounding Arab villages. Israeli built roads facilitate commerce and mobility for Arab-Palestinians. The checkpoints and roadblocks derided by the Kairos document may be inconvenient for Palestinians, but they save Israeli lives. The checkpoints are Israel’s last line of defense against Palestinian suicide bombers seeking to kill Jews in Israeli cities.
The authors of the Kairos Document have deliberately and cunningly deceived Western Christians about Jerusalem. Section 1.1.5. reads:
“Religious liberty is severely restricted, freedom of access to holy places is denied under the pretext of security. Jerusalem’s holy places are out-of-bound for many Christians from the West bank and Gaza. Even Jerusalemites face restrictions during religious feast. Some of our Arab clergy are regularly barred from entering Jerusalem.”
Not a single shred of evidence is presented by the authors, and anyone who has visited Jerusalem can attest to the freedom of movement and access Arab Christians and Muslims have to the holy places. It is true that when certain radical Muslim clerics, including the Mufti of Jerusalem, incite Muslim worshippers to riot following Friday sermons, Israeli security measures are taken to prevent young Muslims from throwing rocks from the high grounds of the Temple Mount on Jews praying at the Western Wall below. Significantly, the tenfold increase of the Arab population in Jerusalem since 1967 refutes the assertions of the Kairos authors. In fact, Israel is the only state in the Middle East to grant religious liberty to all its citizens: Christians, Muslims and Jews.
The Kairos authors also adopted the Hamas and Fatah call for “Palestinian right of return” - code words for the destruction of the Jewish State through demography. This illustrates clearly that they do not seek a two-state solution and a genuine peace with a sovereign Jewish state, but hope for the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state.
Should the PCUSA or any other mainline Protestant denomination adopt the Kairos Palestine document it would bury all pretenses of neutrality with regard to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Moreover, it would signal the abandonment of basic Judeo-Christian values of truth versus falsehood, and malevolence versus fairness by these churches. Ultimately, fair-minded people will acknowledge who among the parties is seeking real peace and will not accept the moral relativist verbiage. They will come to understand that Israel is a democracy where civil and human rights are respected and enforced for all of its citizens. Conversely the Palestinians, under Hamas and Fatah, have made a mockery of the rule-of-law, freedom of religion, and human rights. The Palestinians have shown themselves to be determined to destroy the Jewish State through terrorism and deception, regardless of whatever territorial concessions are made by Israel. The politically incorrect truth is that Islam’s uncompromising belief in the “Domain of Islam” (dar el-Islam) denies sovereign rights to Jews and Christians in the region. At best, Christians and Jews could stay as unequal dhimmis. Hamas and Fatah may enter into agreements but would not hesitate to follow the ways of the Prophet Muhammad and the Treaty of Hudaybiyya -- he entered into it when he was weak and violated it as soon as he was strong.
The delegates of the PCUSA-GA would do well to consider this ancient proverb “He who is kind to the cruel will in the end be cruel to the kind.”