Category Archives: Palestine

Convivencia Alliance Webinar: Tuesday 25 October

You are invited to participate in the first of three webinars arranged by the Convivencia Alliance entitled “The Convivencia Declaration: Justice, Peace and Reconciliation – Christian Perspectives”. Two further webinars are being arranged later providing Jewish and Muslim Perspectives.

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Christian Support for the State of Israel: Is it Biblical?

For Christians who believe that all are created in the image of God, with equal worth and dignity, what are we called to do for the people of the Holy Land? How can we be faithful and faith-filled peacemakers and justice-seekers?

In this conference, we will consider how we can respond to Christian Zionist theology and bring love-inspired, biblically based teaching and action to our congregations and communities.

A summary of my presentation is accessible here

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Jeff Halper on Inquisitions (Religious Tribunals)

As an Israeli Jew and the head of an Israeli human rights organization – ICAHD, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions – I am appalled by the very thought of bringing anyone, let alone such a principled person as Stephen Sizer, before a religious Tribunal. What, are we back to the Medieval days of the Inquisition? I can’t speak for the Church of England, but Jews, the British Board of Deputies, participating in a religious Tribunal?! The very thought is appalling. What has happened to us, Jews and Christians together? Are we willing to return to the dark processes of Tribunals with no legal underpinnings, no genuine evidence or testimony, conducted solely against people whose views we don’t like – besmirch and destroy people’s lives – just to prevent criticism of Israel? Is it really so easy, in the 21st Century, to persecute people for their religious and political views? Savonarola meets Trump?

The charges against Dr. Sizer are untrue and trumped-up – and you all know it. Antisemitism?! How do you possibly defend yourself against such a charge? In the intellectual and democratic world in which most of us live, Dr. Sizer has made a rational, well-researched case for his views and analysis presented in articles, books and lectures based firmly on academic research and religious history. But that is exactly the type of person for which Tribunals are necessary, since analyses like Dr. Sizer presents, unpopular in some partisan circles as they may be, cannot be dismissed in academic circles or barred in courts of law. They must be denounced in Tribunals with no moral, legal or intellectual authority, and as in all religious Tribunals, the person maligned and destroyed in order to somehow delegitimize his or her views. I am embarrassed for all of you – and downright angry at the Jews who participate in the dark proceeding of religious Tribunals.

Let me say this as plainly as I can. I have known Dr. Sizer for over twenty years. I respect his moral position on Israel. I certainly respect his academic work on Christian Zionism, one of the most insidious and antisemitic religious doctrines in modern history and profoundly anti-Israel (Israel exists to bring on the Christian End of Days in which virtually all Jews die or become Christians). I respect Dr. Sizer’s willingness to go beyond the comforts of parish life to engage critically in an issue of central concern to us all: how to prevent Israel from becoming the next apartheid South Africa, how to prevent Jews from becoming Afrikaners, and how to liberate the Palestinian people from the yoke of occupation and apartheid – causes Christians and Jews should be engaged with rather than outdated and discredited Tribunals. And while I don’t use Dr. Sizer’s faith-based language, I have never heard him utter a word that I would consider antisemitic. To accuse or “convict” him of such is truly medieval. It is all the more outrageous if you and your Tribunal are basing your judgement on the false and tendentious position represented by the IHRA assertion that any criticism of Israel is de facto antisemitic – a position disavowed by Kenneth Stern, who drafted the IHRA paper (only intended as a “working definition”), as well as by dozens of prominent Jewish and Israeli scholars and progressive Jewish and Israeli organizations.

Not only should Stephen Sizer be “acquitted” of such ridiculous charges, he should not have been brought before a Tribunal at all. I would have advised him to disassociate from this entire inquisitorial process completely – and I urge you to do so as well. Especially the Jews, for God’s sake!

In solidarity (with Stephen),

Dr Jeff Halper

ICAHD Statement of Support

A Dossier on Israeli Apartheid

A Dossier on Israeli Apartheid: A Pressing Call to Churches Around the World. Prepared by: Kairos Palestine and Global Kairos for Justice 2022

Sisters and brothers in Christ,

We, members of Kairos Palestine and Global Kairos for Justice, have created a theological study for Christians and other civil society organizations who want to learn more about the crime of apartheid and why Palestinians and a growing number of churches and human rights organizations are using the word to describe Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.

In this guide, you will find: a clear description of apartheid and how Israel’s laws, policies and practices meet theinternational definition; a Biblical/theological reflection describing the sin of apartheid; a heartfelt call to the global church to hear the pleas of Palestinian Christians; and a list of recommended actions. Also included are brief summaries of and links to many of the reports cited above, statements made by churches, faith groups, and international leaders (including prominent Israeli Jews), and a short book list.

We call upon the churches around the world to receive and study this Dossier and respond to the evidence and the call to do justice. It is our hope that this study will equip the global church to rise up and join Palestinian Christians as we work to end Israel’s apartheid regime for the sake of all who live in the Holy Land.

+ Patriarch Emeritus Michel Sabbah Chair of Kairos Palestine

Rifat Kassis
General Coordinator: Global Kairos for Justice Coalition

Download the dossier here: https://www.kairospalestine.ps/images/kp-a-dossier-on-israeli-apartheid-main.pdf

Palestinians and Israelis: A Short History of Conflict – A Review

Michael Scott-Baumann’s book on the history of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is the most useful I have read in a very long while. The book is a literary equivalent of a Swiss Army Knife. In 258 pages, broken up into ten easy to read chapters, the author provides much more than a concise history of the conflict. The value of the book is enhanced significantly by the inclusion of an index, a helpful glossary of key terms and people, a chronological time line and a bibliography for further study. The book will also prove useful for interactive group discussion as each chapter begins with key questions answered and concludes with personal testimonies to illustrate the human impact of the conflict. 

Over seventy years old, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is now the longest unresolved dispute in the hands of the United Nations. It is also the subject of more UN Resolutions than any other dispute in the world. Michael Scott-Baumann’s book explains the reasons why and puts in context the futile attempts at resolving the conflict, or indeed to diffuse the simmering tensions which all too frequently erupt in violence and death, invariably of Palestinian civilians.

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Conflict or Convivencia?

With friends at the launch of the Convivencia Alliance In London last Sunday – from Jewish Network for Palestine (JNP), Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL), Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), One Democratic State (ODS), Kairos Palestine, Naturei Karta and Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC).

This was my presentation at the launch of the Convivencia Alliance:

I have been looking forward to this day for a very long time. I became very excited when I read the first draft of the Convivencia Declaration. My dream has always been of seeing Jews, Muslims and Christians work together to bring justice, peace and reconciliation in Palestine. Why? Because, if with God’s help we can achieve peace in Palestine, we can achieve it anywhere.

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Bishop’s Disciplinary Tribunal for the Diocese of Winchester: The Revd Dr Stephen Sizer

The above Tribunal will be held Monday 23 – Friday 27 May 2022 arising from a complaint made by the Board of Deputies of British Jews against the Revd Dr Stephen Sizer in 2018. The Tribunal will be held at St Andrew’s Church Centre Holborn, Central London. If you wish to attend for one day or more, please RSVP to Mr Darren Oliver, the Registrar of Tribunals, as seating is limited. His email address is: doliver@wslaw.co.uk

A previous complaint by the Board of Deputies was resolved by conciliation in 2013. See below for further information about the previous complaint and its resolution:

Response to the Complaint of Misconduct from Stephen Sizer
Letters of Support
Conciliation Agreement

Convivencia Alliance Launch: Sunday 8 May

New Middle East peace initiative seeks to harness spirit of Spanish Golden Age.

You are invited to the public launch of the Convivencia Alliance on Sunday, 8 May 2022 at 2pm, P21 Gallery, 21 Chalton Street, London NW1 1JD.

Speakers include: Mr. Awad Abd Al-Fattah, (One Democratic State, Palestine), Prof. Haim Bresheeth (Jewish Network for Palestine), Prof. Jeff Halper (ICAHD Israel), Rifat Odeh Kassis, (Kairos Palestine, Jerusalem), Mr. Massoud Shadjareh (Islamic Human Rights Commission), Reverend Dr. Stephen Sizer, Ms. Naomi Wimborne Idrissi and Prof. Ramón Grosfoguel (University of California, Berkeley)

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Convivencia: Interfaith Coexistence

Convivencia simply means ‘coexistence’. It is an academic hypothesis, first proposed by the Spanish philologist Américo Castro, regarding the coexistence of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish communities during the period of Spanish history from the Muslim Umayyad conquest of Hispania in the early eighth century until the expulsion of the Jews in 1492.

By extension the term can describe the contemporary religious and cultural interaction and exchange fostered by such proximity as a way to challenge the various forms of ethno-supremacism and exclusive religious nationalisms emerging in different parts of the world. 

Professor Haim Bresheeth has written a short introductory article on Convivencia published by Faith Initiative.

In June 2021, The Jewish Network for Palestine invited me to give a short presentation on Convivencia at their annual meeting. JNP have written a significant document on Convivencia to be launched in the Spring, in liaison with Muslim and Christian organisations.

A Biblical Critique of Apartheid

What does the Bible say about apartheid? How has the Bible been used to justify supremacism, segregation and racial purity? How is apartheid easily refuted from the Bible? This presentation will provide some answers. The introduction gives a brief historical overview showing the lineage of European supremacism, slavery, segregation and apartheid. It also examines why apartheid has been designated a crime against humanity, and shows the similarities between the South African and Israeli variants.

Download a copy of this presentation here

Contents

  • A brief history of apartheid tracing its roots from European colonialism, white supremacism and black slavery, through to segregation in the US, Fascism in Germany to Apartheid in South Africa and Israel. 
  • A summary of how the Bible has been used to justify white supremacism, segregation and apartheid.
  • A biblical refutation of apartheid. 
  • A Bible study to encourage personal reflection as well as group discussion.

This presentation examines how biblical texts have been used by proponents of segregation in the USA and apartheid in South Africa. It does not elaborate specifically on how Christian Zionists use the Bible to justify Israeli supremacism, the subjugation of Palestinians or the colonisation of their land.[1]  These are addressed more fully in my book Christian Zionism: Roadmap to Armageddon? [2]. Zion’s Christian Soldiers? The Bible, Israel and the Church[3], provides a more detailed study of the biblical texts concerning the two key elements of apartheid theology – supremacism “Chosen People”[4] and colonisation “Promised Land”[5] 

Download a copy of this presentation here

You may also download a Bible Study for personal reflection or group discussion and read a short reflection based on Isaiah 65. For a more detailed examination of the biblical relationship between Israel and the Church (and deconstruction of Christian Zionism), download Seven Biblical Answers.