Criticism and defense of Kairos Palestine

kairos palestine

The director of AJC New England denounces Kairos Palestine; the United Church of Christ responds

By Robert Leikind / The Boston Globe / Sep 20, 2017
By Peter Makari and The Rev. Jim Antal / The Boston Globe / Oct 3, 2017

Israel, [Kairos] states, is the “enemy” who stands in opposition to God himself. Its “occupation,” according to Kairos Palestine, “is an evil that must be resisted.”

[Kairos] advocates peace with justice, rejects and condemns violence and extremism . . . . It offers a word of hope and of love, while naming the injustice of the occupation.

From AJC New England:

Over the last decade, a number of mainline Protestant Churches, including some with a significant presence in New England, have adopted resolutions harshly critical of Israel. During the summer two more were passed by the United Church of Christ and the Disciples of Christ. These measures share three core elements: Each assigns Israel near total culpability for the conflict with the Palestinians; each overlooks decades of Palestinian activity that has undermined prospects for peace with Israel; and each justifies its claims by referring to a document called Kairos Palestine. . . .

This appeal reduces the complex, painful history of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to a single word: “occupation.” Information that might contradict Kairos Palestine’s far-reaching declaration is ignored. Gone from the historical narrative are  . . . multiple Israeli peace proposals, rejected by Palestinian leadership, that included withdrawal from nearly all of the West Bank; acts of terror that have caused thousands of Israeli casualties; thousands of missiles that followed Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza; and repeated calls by Palestinian religious, civic, and political leaders to reject peaceful coexistence with Israel on any terms.

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From United Church of Christ:

. . . Because the voices of Palestinian Christians are among the voices that need to be heard, our churches commended Kairos Palestine for study, reflection, and response in April 2010, five months after it was issued. The document is written by Palestinian Christians who have lived under Israeli occupation for half a century — a people whose rights are denied every day. Kairos Palestine is an authentic and legitimate voice of a community with which we have close relations, a document that advocates peace with justice, rejects and condemns violence and extremism, and seeks better relationships among all the people of Israel and Palestine. It offers a word of hope and of love, while naming the injustice of the occupation.

We are eager to engage with the multiple perspectives of our sisters and brothers in the Jewish community on Israel and Palestine, and hope that Leikind and the American Jewish Committee would be willing to speak more publicly and critically of the settlements and of occupation, which cannot go on indefinitely, but which must be addressed more urgently.

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