Thursday, January 28, 2016

Sweden: A Church With No Conscience

The Church of Sweden[1] has a problem. Its deep involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian issue -- and especially its support for the Kairos Palestine document [full English text and annotations in Appendix below] -- is something that should be noted and held up for criticism by other churches, and all those who oppose anti-Semitism and all forms of racism.
The Kairos Palestine document can be found in Swedish on the Church of Sweden's website and is described by the Church of Sweden as follows:
"The Kairos document has been produced by Palestinian Christians and is about their vulnerability under occupation. Since it was published in December 2009, it has spread throughout the world and in some areas has become a movement that believes and fights for peace and justice in Palestine and Israel."
The Kairos Palestine document, from 2009, is a letter that describes itself as "the Christian Palestinians' word to the world about what is happening in Palestine." Israel's presence in what the document refers to as "Palestinian land" -- even though this Biblical region has continuously been home to the Jews for nearly four thousand years -- is bizarrely described as "a sin against God and humanity."
In addition to distortions and unjust descriptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the state of Israel, the Kairos Palestine document incites Christians to act against Israel. The document also justifies and excuses Palestinian terrorism:
"Yes, there is Palestinian resistance to the occupation. However, if there were no occupation, there would be no resistance, no fear and no insecurity. This is our understanding of the situation."
The problem with this explanation is that it is simply not true. For nearly a hundred years, long before Israel entered the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the Six Day War of 1967, Jewish/Israeli civilians were being attacked by Palestinian terrorists. Therefore, the content of the Kairos Palestine document claiming "occupation" as a justification for terrorism is simply not accurate. Worse, it was Arab provocation -- closing the Strait of Tiran at the mouth of the Suez Canal, a casus belli [legitimate cause for war] according to international law -- that preceded and caused the Six Day War in 1967. In other words, the Arabs started a war, and then were irked when they lost it.
Yet the Kairos Palestine document, several times, implicitly (and incorrectly) states Israel's presence in the "Palestinian territories" as the reason, justification and excuse for Palestinian terrorism against Israel. In the Kairos document, Israel is (incorrectly) accused of launching a "cruel war" against Palestinians, restricting religious liberty, and violating human rights, among other offenses that any decent person would oppose.
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