First, here is an Obligatory TL;DR warning
With that out of the way, let the intrepid among us go forward. :o
In a different discussion thread here in the World News forum, someone mentioned Kairos Palestine. Although I was unaware of it, Kairos Palestine seems to be an important element in the Christian response to the BDS campaign (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel.) The BDS campaign has occasionally been mentioned in various news reports we have discussed. However, I don’t think we have directly discussed that movement. With this in mind, I am starting this thread.
I am basing this thread on the June response of a Christian denomination in the United States, and on a July response from a Christian denomination in Scotland.
With audible gasps from those in the plenary hall, the 221st General Assembly (2014) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) on Friday narrowly approved divestment from three United States companies doing business in Israel-Palestine.
By a vote of 310-303, the Assembly approved an overture calling for divestment from Caterpillar Inc., Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions, companies some allege are engaged in “non-peaceful pursuits” in the region. A similar overture failed 333-331 at the 220th Assembly (2012).
Although divestment was its most debated item, the overture also affirms the PC(USA)’s commitment to interfaith and ecumenical dialogue and relationships in the region, and a preamble was added on the floor to reinforce that, saying, “The PC(USA) has a long-standing commitment to peace in Israel and Palestine. We recognize the complexity of the issues, the decades-long struggle, the pain suffered and inflicted by policies and practices of both the Israeli government and Palestinian entities. We further acknowledge and confess our own complicity in both the historic and current suffering of Israeli and Palestinian yearning for justice and reconciliation.”
Immediately after the vote, Moderator Heath Rada reaffirmed that, saying, “In no way is this a reflection for our lack of love for our Jewish sisters and brothers.
(The Presbyterian Church USA has 1.7 million members.)
Meanwhile, in Scotland similar attitudes were developing:
Archbishop Theodosius,of the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem is visiting Scotland this week to draw attention to the humanitarian crisis in Palestine. At a meeting hosted by the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh the Archbishop urged ‘people of goodwill’ to call for an immediate end to hostilities in Gaza.
He called on people of goodwill to put pressure on the international community to be proactive in pressing for an immediate ceasefire to prevent any further deaths of innocent civilians. Encouraging people to read the Kairos Palestine document, Archbishop Theodosius echoed its sentiments: “We are not optimistic, but our hope remains strong.”
Those present shared the Archbishop’s deep concern that the current violence is undermining the chances of achieving an end to the Israeli occupation and a just peace. The Moderator, the Rt Rev John Chalmers said; “Those of us present could not help but feel that the situation facing the Palestinian people was deteriorating rather than improving. Violence on violence is not the way to resolve the situation facing the Palestinian people and the citizens of Israel. To an outside observer, the disproportionate response of the State of Israel appears set to leave a legacy of hurt, pain and resentment which does not create the atmosphere in which a peaceful and just resolution can be sought.”
The Rev Peter Macdonald, leader of the Iona Community said: “The Kairos Palestine document is rightly entitled ‘A Moment of Truth’ and I would endorse the Archbishop’s plea that people should read it, study it and apply it. The situation in the Occupied Territory is a human rights tragedy that cannot continue to be ignored.
(The Church of Scotland has 400,000 members)