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Anglican Church in Southern Africa voted to support non-violent action to end Israel’s military occupation of Palestine, especially BDS actions

Provincial Synod votes on Israel sanctions, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia
Provincial Synod has voted to support non-violent action to end Israel’s military occupation of Palestine, especially “well-directed Boycott, Divestment and Sanction actions”.

In a resolution adopted on Thursday, Synod also:

  • Condemned “all forms of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia… in the strongest terms”;
  • Described the situation in Israel and Palestine as “in some respects… worse than apartheid”; and
  • Urged church members who travel on pilgrimages to Israel include Palestinian Christians in their itineraries.

The full text of the resolution, which was adopted unanimously, follows:

This Synod noting that:

1. This is the 10th year anniversary of the Palestine Kairos document, a document written by Palestinian Christians for our reflection and action (www.kairospalestine.ps);

2. The South African government has withdrawn its ambassador from Tel Aviv;

3. It is reported that each year a few hundred Palestinian children are held in Israeli jails and there is evidence of human rights violation.

4. Prime Minister Netanyahu has recently said that “Israel is not a state of all its citizens”, a statement which accurately reflects the nation-state law they adopted in 2018;

5. There is considerable environmental damage through injustice in the access to and distribution of water, the uprooting of olive trees and home demolitions, which in turn has led to environmental displacement, adding to the already large number of refugees.

Acknowledging that:

1. The situation in the Holy Land demands the attention of the Christian church precisely because that is the place where Jesus the Christ was born, nurtured, crucified and raised;

2. The current political nation state of Israel and Israel in the Bible should not be confused with each other, and neither should the ideology of Zionism and the religion of Judaism be conflated;

3. Many Christian pilgrimages to the current state of Israel often ignore the Christians living in Palestine;

4. Israel was one of the very few states that continued to support the Apartheid State in South Africa until the very end;

5. There are possible similarities between Apartheid in South Africa and what is happening in Israel and Palestine and that in some respects the situation there can be described as worse than apartheid;

6. Several NGO’s draw attention to the plight of those who suffer in Palestine and Israel, especially Kairos Southern Africa as well as the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI), for whose work we are grateful;

7. Southern Africans have a special responsibility to stand by the oppressed in the same way that others in the international community stood with us during our own oppression.

Affirming that

1. Palestinians and Israelis both deserve to live in peace and harmony as this will contribute to peace not only in that region, but globally;

2. Non-violent solutions underpinned by faith, hope and love, to the challenges there are the only solutions that the Church should actively pursue;

3. Current efforts by the International community are not enough and new initiatives towards peace, justice and reconciliation should be pursued;

4. The presence of the Christian community in Palestine and Israel is something that we should strengthen;

5. The military occupation of Palestine must end as soon as possible;

6. All forms of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia should be condemned in the strongest terms;

7. Jerusalem should be a place where all the nations are able to gather and it should not be for the exclusive use of one group over another.

Resolves to:

1. Encourage every Diocese within ACSA to pass this or a similar resolution at its next Synod and to work with the South African Council of Churches and its affiliates who have adopted resolutions on Palestine and Israel to seek ecumenical action towards maximum justice and peace for our sisters and brothers there;

2. Educate and inform ourselves as much as possible on the daily reality of the situation and to encourage members of ACSA who travel in the Holy Land to choose an inclusive and balanced itinerary that includes establishing contact with Palestinian Christians;

3. Support any non-violent action, especially well-directed Boycott, Divestment and Sanction actions against the Israeli state until they end their military occupation of Palestine.

4. Pray the following prayer for Palestine: “God bless Palestine, Free all from oppression; and bring justice and peace. Amen.”;

5. Respectfully request ACSA delegates to Lambeth 2020 to pass this resolution on to the Anglican Communion Office for possible consideration and inclusion in the Lambeth 2020 Agenda.

6. To respectfully request ACSA to appoint a Palestinian Study Group to prepare and disseminate study material for use in parishes and dioceses and that will prepare a report on the progress of implementing this resolution at the next Provincial Synod;

7. Pass this resolution on to the Ambassadors of Palestine and Israel who are based in Southern African countries as well as to the Palestinian church leaders, SABEEL and Kairos Palestine.

Proposer: Bishop Luke Pato of Namibia
Seconder: Bishop Charles May of the Highveld


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