Friday, August 3, 2018

Palestinian Christians Respond to "The Jewish State" Declaration (Basic Law)

Dear Friend of Kairos,
There have been countless statements opposing Israel's declaration of Israel as the "Homeland of the Jewish People" (Basic Law by the Knesset).
At their request, here is the statement by our friends, Kairos Palestine (Christian-based, but open to other faiths).
It is unflinching in its denunciation of this act, spelling out its implications.

1. The Jewish position
To be fair, let's be clear about the Jewish position:

"To be a Jew is NOT to be racist. "We have a right to our national existence. We are 'unique' that way.
"Arabs" (the 20% that stayed, not fleeing in 1948), just have to accept that fact.
"(The millions in the West Bank, Gaza and Arab dispersion, count for even less. They are in the way.)
"Arabs will NEVER be citizens like Jews from all over the world, who are welcome home here.
"The problem has always been that they just do NOT and never will accept us in their neighborhood.
"So, our military has had to be (and will continue to be) vigilant against the 'terror' they are determined to inflict on us.
"We are entitled to do anything that we must, to protect our security and existence as The (one) Jewish State.

2. The Palestinian Arab position
Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace
Statement on the Jewish State (Basic) Law
(from Philip Farah, officially affirmed by Kairos Palestine)


Israel has always defined itself as the State of the Jewish People, and its recent adoption of the Jewish Nation State Law is simply a declaration to the world of its historic commitment, ideologically and programmatically, to Jewish supremacy. Many critics of Israel’s 51-year-old occupation of Palestinian East Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, and the Syrian Golan Heights have referred to Israel’s occupation of these territories as a system of apartheid. However, some among these critics, such as President Jimmy Carter, rejected the use of the same term to describe Israel’s relationship to the roughly 20 percent Palestinian Arab minorities who hold Israeli citizenship within Israel’s 1948/49 border. After the passage of the new Israeli law, such critics ought to open their eyes to the historical reality of Israel since its establishment in 1948, and recognize the deep racism that underlies its state and society.

The expropriation of Palestinian land and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in the early years of Israel’s existence were traumatic. Israel’s Absentees’ Property Law (1950) and Land Acquisition Law (1953), among others, resulted in the pauperization and ghettoization of Palestinian citizens of Israel. More than 60 laws directly and indirectly ensured that they remain far behind Israeli Jews in every aspect of their existence including their access to the legal system, citizenship privileges, income and employment, distribution of resources and social welfare, accessibility to land, educational resources, availability of health resources, and political participation. The Israeli occupation in 1967 of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, and the Golan Heights, and the extreme form of apartheid practiced there are an extension of the settler-colonial praxis that created Israel.

What is new is that Israel now feels emboldened by the ascendancy of right-wing racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia in the United States in particular, and western societies in general. It no longer feels that it has to conceal its own racism. The recent love fest of right-wing extremists in the annual conference of Christians United for Israel in Washington, DC is emblematic of the convergence of Zionism with anti-democratic forces in the West. Thankfully, others in the West are speaking out more forcefully against racism and discrimination in all its forms. And the movement of solidarity with the Palestinians is growing worldwide, including in the United States and Europe.

We call on all people of conscience to condemn Israeli apartheid unapologetically and to heed the call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions in solidarity with the Palestinian non-violent struggle for justice, peace, and freedom. In particular, as a faith-based group, we call on other people of faith, including our evangelical brothers and sisters, to challenge Israel’s intensifying apartheid. For Christian groups to remain silent about the implications of Israel’s Jewish Nation State Law and all other Israeli human rights violations stands in contradiction to the Biblical mandate to do justice and to stand with the oppressed.

Well, Kairos friends, there you have it. Our Christian brothers and sisters in Palestine, desiring equal treatment under a common law, not a Law that favors Jews.

Are they entitled to this desire? Are Jews open to this desire? There are many Jews, both inside Israel and beyond the fluid borders, as well as persons all over the globe, who are working to bring about this desired result.
We in the Kairos movement, will be unrelenting in pursuing this goal.
Right now, the US administration is clearly in favor of the Jewish position; some of our evangelical Christian brothers and sisters are in favor of it as well, to the dismay of many.

Plan now to gather as a Kairos community in Holland/Zeeland, MI on Monday, October 29, for a presentation by our colleagues, Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) and The Holy Land Trust, as they give us an assessment of how the nonviolent resistance movement is doing in the land Jews, Christians and Muslims call "Holy".