Something I care deeply about ...
The Kairos USA Statement is an important expression of solidarity with peace-loving people in the Middle East. I am an enthusiastic signatory. You can add your signature too. Start here:
Here's the statement's introduction:
Call to Action: U.S. Response to the Kairos Palestine Document
A word of confession and faith from Christians in the United States
The mission of Kairos USA is to mobilize the churches in the United States to respond faithfully and boldly to the situation in Israel and Palestine. In December 2009, the Christians of Palestine brought forth “A Moment of Truth: A Word of Faith, Hope and Love from the Heart of Palestinian Suffering.” In 2011 and again in 2012, U.S. clergy, theologians and laypersons gathered to write this response to the Palestinian document. In gratitude for the courageous witness and call to action issued by our Palestinian sisters and brothers, and inspired by the prophetic church movements of southern Africa, Central and South America, Asia and Europe that have responded to the call of our sisters and brothers in Palestine, we have prayed for the guidance of the Spirit so that we might also respond with integrity, love and wisdom.
We begin with a confession of sin to Palestinians in the State of Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem, the diaspora and in refugee camps in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. As U.S. Christians we bear responsibility for failing to say “Enough!” when our nation’s ally, the State of Israel, violates international law. Our government has financed Israel’s unjust policies and has shielded its government from criticism by the international community. At the outset of the current U.S. administration, our government led Palestinians to believe that at last we would pursue a political solution based on justice. But the “peace process” has continued to be no more than a means for the continuing colonization of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the imprisonment of Gaza and the intensification of the structures of oppression.
As Christians addressing the Palestinian cause we must also acknowledge our shameful role in the historic persecution of the Jewish people. We recognize the dehumanizing and destructive power of doctrines and theologies that denigrated Judaism. Our predecessors perpetuated anti-Semitic stereotypes, practiced scapegoating and cloaked prejudice, hostility and murder itself in the robes of our religion. We confess that our churches failed to resist, and sometimes even aided and abetted pogroms, mass dislocations of Jews, and the calamity of the Nazi Holocaust itself. In so doing, they betrayed the teaching and example of the one we claim to follow. We speak for and with our forbears in expressing deep remorse. With a commitment to never forget those failures and to be instructed by them, we pledge ourselves to growth in faithfulness, compassion and justice.
In light of these tragic failures, we must repent. We must work and even suffer for peace, filled with a heart of love for both Israelis and Palestinians. We know that raising questions about our churches’ and our government’s support for the State of Israel’s policies exposes us to the charge of anti-Semitism—and for many of us the risk of the loss of hard-won bonds of friendship with Jewish colleagues, friends, and the Jewish community at large. We believe that the charge of anti-Semitism is unfair and in error. Too often, however, unwilling to pay this price, we have failed to speak the truth as we see it and in this way follow Jesus’ path of love and forgiveness as the way to justice and peace. But now we are called to speak the truth, as our faith in the life and ministry of Jesus directs us. We firmly believe that it is precisely in this way that we express not only our commitment to the dignity and human rights of the Palestinians, but our dedication to the humanity of our Jewish sisters and brothers.
We acknowledge and affirm “the reality on the ground” described in the Kairos Palestine document. Many of us have seen with our eyes, heard with our ears and felt in our hearts the painful realities of life in the Palestinian territories. We have witnessed the daily, grinding humiliation of women and men, young and old; the deaths of civilians; the demolition of homes; the ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem; the destruction of hundreds of thousands of olive trees; the unlawful and brutal practice of administrative detention; the relentless land taking and construction of illegal colonies that have made a contiguous and viable Palestinian state impossible. None of these actions has brought the State of Israel the security it seeks. Israel is pursuing a course that is fruitless and corrupting, both morally and politically. We have also observed with deep sadness the damage inflicted on Israeli society, particularly its young people. We can no longer be silent; we can no longer betray the core of our Christian faith as expressed in Matthew 25: “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”
We call upon our Christian sisters and brothers in the United States to join with us in the following actions:
Learn: Move beyond stereotypes, longstanding prejudices and biased, oversimplified reporting, toward a well-considered, more complex understanding of the Middle East, its conflicts and the yearnings of its peoples for justice, peace and co-existence.
Build personal relationships: Visit the land and meet Palestinians, including Palestinian Christians, and Israelis working for justice and peace—listening to their stories, understanding their pain and hearing their hopes and dreams.
Enrich worship and congregational life: Take initiative in our places of worship to pray and preach justice and peace in Palestine and Israel, pursue opportunities to learn and study about the situation, explore cultural and economic exchange and challenge your congregation to participate in the blessed calling of peacemaking.
Engage in theological reflection: Examine flawed biblical interpretations and unexamined theology that have shaped attitudes and perceptions leading to and allowing the present injustice to continue unchallenged. Pursue open and active theological inquiry and encourage study and reflection, in order to guide your actions in striving to follow Jesus’ injunction to “interpret the present time” (Luke 12:56).
Participate in nonviolent action: Translate concern into action. Support those—in Israel, the occupied territories and throughout the world—who work to end the illegal occupation through peaceful means. We urge Christians to become educated about the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions and to explore this and other forms of legitimate, nonviolent resistance.
Advocate with the U.S government, as Christians who are committed to justice, peace and security for both Israelis and Palestinians. Support political candidates who do the same.
The favorable time is now! We invite you to read and study this document; to see it as a spur to action. It is a call to individuals, churches, schools, human rights organizations and interfaith partners to join with all who embrace nonviolent resistance to injustice. It is a call to listen to the same Spirit that inspired the Civil Rights movement in this country and the struggle to end Apartheid in South Africa. We issue this call in the absolute conviction that God calls us to compassion—to join the struggle for justice and equality in the spirit of Matthew 25. We issue this call in the faith that, even when the cause appears most hopeless, God’s light shines in the darkness, and the darkness will not overcome it.