Saturday, April 28, 2012

Bishop Tutu's Letter supporting UMs

Here is the letter from Archbishop Tutu (with thanks to the Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the PCUSA for bringing it to our attention). Endorsement by South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu 26 April 2012 Dear Friends of the United Methodist Church, The situation in Israel and Palestine pains me greatly since it is the place where God formed a very particular relationship with a particular group of people; Hebrews who were oppressed as slaves in another land. As time moved on, this people disobeyed God and time and time again the prophets had to call them back to their deepest values. The Jewish Holocaust, engineered and implemented primarily by Europeans, gave some ideologues within the Jewish and Christian community an excuse to implement plans that were in the making for at least 50 years, under the rubric of exceptional Jewish security. In this way began the immense oppression of the Palestinian people, who were not at all involved in the Holocaust. Not only is this group of people being oppressed more than the apartheid ideologues could ever dream about in South Africa, their very identity and history are being denied and obfuscated. What is worse, is that Europe and the USA are refusing to take responsibility for their actions with regard to both the Holocaust and the over-empowering of the Israelis, their disregard for the international conventions and regulatory framework of the nuclear industry and their continued oppression of the Palestinian people. But God, who is the same yesterday, today and forever, neither slumbers nor sleeps. Prophetic voices have been calling this empowered people who were once oppressed and killed, to their deepest values of justice and compassion, but they have refused to listen even to the most reasonable voices. The human community cannot be silent in the face of the gross injustice being meted out to the people of Palestine. If international courts and governments refuse to deal with this matter, we in the churches and in the rest of civil society really have no choice but to act in small ways and big ways. God is busy doing a new thing. And God is using all of us to be partners with him. Both the Israelis and the Palestinians have to be liberated, but at this stage the greater onus is on the Israelis since they are the ones who are in power, economically, politically and militarily. We have to think about ways that will allow them to reflect deeply on what it is that they are doing and bring them back from the brink, not out of spite or revenge, but because we love them deeply. I therefore wholeheartedly support your action to disinvest from companies who benefit from the Occupation of Palestine. This is a moral position that I have no choice but to support, especially since I know of the effect that Boycotts, Disinvestment and Sanctions had on the apartheid regime in South Africa. May God bless your conference as you deliberate on this matter, and I pray that your decision will reflect the best values of the human family as we stand in solidarity with the oppressed. God bless you. Archbishop-Emeritus Desmond Tutu Cape Town, South Africa. At this Sunday's class, I've asked the Rev. Ed Mulder, retired General Secretary of the Reformed Church in America, to share with the class how the RCA travelled down the road of divestment and sanctions in the 1980's to bring the South African government to their senses and roll back the Apartheid system that had been disenfranchising the indigenous people of the land. It seems clear that the RCA will not be in the lead in this divestment fight, but you will be on the edge of your seat as you listen to the opposition the RCA faced in getting this through the General Synod of the RCA. Sincerely yours, JRK

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