Provincial Synod votes on Israel sanctions, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia

Provincial Synod votes on Israel sanctions, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia

Provincial Synod has voted to support non-violent action to end Israel’s military occupation of Palestine, especially “well-directed Boycott, Divestment and Sanction actions”.

In a resolution adopted on Thursday, Synod also:

  • Condemned “all forms of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia… in the strongest terms”;
  • Described the situation in Israel and Palestine as “in some respects… worse than apartheid”; and
  • Urged church members who travel on pilgrimages to Israel include Palestinian Christians in their itineraries.


The full text of the resolution, which was adopted unanimously, follows:

This Synod noting that:

1. This is the 10th year anniversary of the Palestine Kairos document, a document written by Palestinian Christians for our reflection and action (www.kairospalestine.ps);

2. The South African government has withdrawn its ambassador from Tel Aviv;

3. It is reported that each year a few hundred Palestinian children are held in Israeli jails and there is evidence of human rights violation.

4. Prime Minister Netanyahu has recently said that “Israel is not a state of all its citizens”, a statement which accurately reflects the nation-state law they adopted in 2018;

5. There is considerable environmental damage through injustice in the access to and distribution of water, the uprooting of olive trees and home demolitions, which in turn has led to environmental displacement, adding to the already large number of refugees.

Acknowledging that:

1. The situation in the Holy Land demands the attention of the Christian church precisely because that is the place where Jesus the Christ was born, nurtured, crucified and raised;

2. The current political nation state of Israel and Israel in the Bible should not be confused with each other, and neither should the ideology of Zionism and the religion of Judaism be conflated;

3. Many Christian pilgrimages to the current state of Israel often ignore the Christians living in Palestine;

4. Israel was one of the very few states that continued to support the Apartheid State in South Africa until the very end;

5. There are possible similarities between Apartheid in South Africa and what is happening in Israel and Palestine and that in some respects the situation there can be described as worse than apartheid;

6. Several NGO’s draw attention to the plight of those who suffer in Palestine and Israel, especially Kairos Southern Africa as well as the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI), for whose work we are grateful;

7. Southern Africans have a special responsibility to stand by the oppressed in the same way that others in the international community stood with us during our own oppression.

Affirming that

1. Palestinians and Israelis both deserve to live in peace and harmony as this will contribute to peace not only in that region, but globally;

2. Non-violent solutions underpinned by faith, hope and love, to the challenges there are the only solutions that the Church should actively pursue;

3. Current efforts by the International community are not enough and new initiatives towards peace, justice and reconciliation should be pursued;

4. The presence of the Christian community in Palestine and Israel is something that we should strengthen;

5. The military occupation of Palestine must end as soon as possible;

6. All forms of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia should be condemned in the strongest terms;

7. Jerusalem should be a place where all the nations are able to gather and it should not be for the exclusive use of one group over another.

Resolves to:

1. Encourage every Diocese within ACSA to pass this or a similar resolution at its next Synod and to work with the South African Council of Churches and its affiliates who have adopted resolutions on Palestine and Israel to seek ecumenical action towards maximum justice and peace for our sisters and brothers there;

2. Educate and inform ourselves as much as possible on the daily reality of the situation and to encourage members of ACSA who travel in the Holy Land to choose an inclusive and balanced itinerary that includes establishing contact with Palestinian Christians;

3. Support any non-violent action, especially well-directed Boycott, Divestment and Sanction actions against the Israeli state until they end their military occupation of Palestine.

4. Pray the following prayer for Palestine: “God bless Palestine, Free all from oppression; and bring justice and peace. Amen.”;

5. Respectfully request ACSA delegates to Lambeth 2020 to pass this resolution on to the Anglican Communion Office for possible consideration and inclusion in the Lambeth 2020 Agenda.

6. To respectfully request ACSA to appoint a Palestinian Study Group to prepare and disseminate study material for use in parishes and dioceses and that will prepare a report on the progress of implementing this resolution at the next Provincial Synod;

7. Pass this resolution on to the Ambassadors of Palestine and Israel who are based in Southern African countries as well as to the Palestinian church leaders, SABEEL and Kairos Palestine.

Proposer: Bishop Luke Pato of Namibia
Seconder: Bishop Charles May of the Highveld

33 Responses to Provincial Synod votes on Israel sanctions, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia

  • I strongly support all these resolutions.

  • This is a sad day in the ACSA – People who forget their own history are doomed to repeat it.
    No acknowledgement of centuries of antisemitism and violent acts against Jews in Europe by the Church.
    No acknowledgement of the rise of antisemitism in contemporary society
    No acknowledgement that even the UN has described the actions of the BDS as antisemitic.
    ( https://www.algemeiner.com/2019/09/24/un-releases-unprecedented-report-linking-antisemitism-to-bds-movement/?fbclid=IwAR15ieIsqW9_801S7qxpEmgZbY8UJorLz7jtsaEYkJO8ShyQlEXeGu8mTls)
    No acknowledgement of Arab Israeli and Messianic Jews (non-Palestinian) Christians in Israel and the disputed territories.
    This resolution is one-sided and ill-informed – the very thing it calls for others to avoid.

  • I strongly oppose this decision. As a practising Anglican, I find this offensive and against the word of God.

  • I support all the resolutions and would love to be involved in spreading awareness especially to the youth.

    • How the adoption of this resolution is to be warmly welcomed! The Anglican Church has hereby shown that it clearly discerns the Kairos moment re Israel/Palestine, and understands what God’s just, saving love in Christ Jesus demands of his church under the increasingly ominous clouds gathering over “the holy land”. There is so much misunderstanding re the meaning of God’s blessings upon Abraham, all his descendants and the world, so much misunderstanding, too, of the transformational impact of the New Testament message on concepts such as the davidic kingship, the chosen people and the promised land. Add to this the widespread ignorance re the major difference between Israel in the Bible and the modern State of Israel, as well as between well-founded and absolutely necessary criticism of Zionist Israel on the one hand, and deplorable anti-Semitism on the other. A strong strategy to tackle these misunderstandings is long overdue and must speedily receive much better attention than before. At the same time, however, the undeniable fact is that Zionist Israel is daily, relentlessly, tightening its stranglehold on the throat of Palestinian life. According to many well-informed observers, we are witnessing – to use a chess term – the endgame between mighty Israel and what is left of, virtually, defenceless, oppressed Palestine. We cannot remain silent and passive! The Anglican Church has now courageously called us to stand with the oppressed and has indicated the best way of doing so – for the sake of both the oppressors and the oppressed.May this clarion call be widely heeded not only in the Anglican church, but also by a growing number of other denominations.

  • I strongly disagree with the above statements which in my mind is contradictory to your statement of anti-Seminitism! As long as Hamas who effectively controls the Palestinians and has been responsible for the sistematic killing of Christian Palestines remains there will be no peace in the region! They have been the aggressors for so long in this battle. Hamas’s agenda is to kill all Christians and Jews and they have no interest in Peace. If Israel left so called occupied Palestine they would be signing there own death warrant. Rather boycott Hamas and get rid of their influence and presence and then there will be a chance at best. Clearly the majority of people voting in this latest statement have not been to Israel!! So far from an apartheid state that it is laughable! Irag Iran and Saudi Arabia is a better example of countries that are worse than apartheid! But of course they are too big and strong to warrant any boycotts againts human rights religious freedom ect ect! Lets just keep on picking on Israel! I will be leaving the Angican Church if they continue to go againsts Gods biblical mandate regarding Israel!! Wake up Angligan Church God will deal very harshly against Churches that are not Holy Spirit led!

    • The next time you visit Israel you must visit Palestine as well, particularly the villages that occupied by the settlers. Of course you will not acknowledge the atrocities because as tourist you are treated well. You must never ever confuse the biblical Israel and the modern day oppressive apartheid state

    • Well said indeed.

  • Picking on Israel, standing up against them, are all end time signs. Nations gathering against Israel!!!

    • Ironic that for Jews the modern nation state is a continuation of the historical/biblical jewish nation state but he Anglican Church rules that this is a fallacy. Ironic that Christians are now actively aligning with organisations such as Hamas who through BDS wage asymmetrical war against Israel with the intent of destroying that State. Just read some of the BDS aligned commentary and you will see that the intent is the destruction of a member of the United Nations through the assistance of the Anglican Church. Yet nothing for christians in Iraq, Eqypt and Pakistan. Women and girls abducted, forcibly converted and married off . A young woman falsely accused of blasphemy with a mob of 800 men baying for her blood outside court. Response from the Anglican Church? Silence , but lets BDS Israel…
      I am so angry at the hypocracy I really begin to question organised religion. I missed the part where Jesus suggested a boycott of the Roman Empire which at the time was one of the most brutal and oppressive regimes on the face of the planet to those who would not submit.

  • Unfortunately the statement of the ACSA contradicts itself when taking the recent UN report on the “Elimination of all forms of religious intolerance” into account – the report specifically states “the objectives, activities and effects of the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement are fundamentally antisemitic”
    (http://humanrightsvoices.org/site/developments/?d=21128)
    So for the resolution to especially support “well-directed Boycott, Divestment and Sanction actions” unfortunately seems to expose an underlying antisemitic bias which is well ingrained in our church history and theology.

  • God will bless these who bless Israel and curse those who curse Isralel. SA is under God judgement lately for not blessing Israel. They are apple of Gods eye. Jesus Christ returns to fight for Israel and Jewish people. Psalm 83, Psalm 2; Genesis 17v17-22; Romans 11; Genesis 12 verse 1-3.

  • LEAVE THE JEWISH PEOPLE ALONE.
    THEY ONLY DEFEND THEMSELVES.
    SOUTH AFRICA IS TOTALLY DESTROYED….ISRAEL DOESN’T NEED TO BE DESTROYED AS WELL.
    THEY’VE BEEN PERSECUTED ENOUGH….!!!!!

  • Thank you, Anglican Church of Southern Africa. May this resolution strengthen our faith, hope and love….

  • This is a excellent move by the church. The Voice of the Church is alive, this is the Kairos Moment for the Church of God, what a time to be alive.

  • Thank you ACSA for being on the right side (the justice side). The State of Israel has positioned itself to be an Apartheid State in words, legislation, and in action. We pledge ourselves to actively support the resolutions of the Synod and will have great impact in denominations that are yet to resolve on the Israeli regime.

  • I think it’s really important to distinguish between opposition to the state of Israel ( a political entity) and antiSemitism which is opposition to Jewish people (adherents of the religion). It is the political state which has occupied, and continues to extend its occupation of, Palestine.
    The resolution refers to the political/ military occupation which began in 1948 and has resulted in millions of people (both Muslim and Christian) losing their homes, farms and livelihoods.

  • It is encouraging to know of the strong support of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa for those suffering in Palestine and its commitment to contribute towards bringing justice and peace in that region.

  • I strongly disagree with this and so do my parents who are in the Anglican Church. God forgive them for they know not what they do. Those who bless Israel will be blessed. Everything we have as Christians comes from the Jewish people. Lord remove the blinkers from those who are blind in your churxh

  • Being polically correct is not what Jesus is about. Jesus is the Lion of Judah. If Anglicans think He needs a little help pruning His own vine, I’m afraid they are very likely to be in danger of being among those who fall away just prior to Jesus’s return.

  • I totally agree with Thea’ s comments
    The land was given to Abraham’ and his covenant children by Almighty God
    Read Genesis 12:3!!!
    What a fearful thing to come under God’s curse! !!

  • I strongly urge the reading of the book ‘Our hands are stained with blood’ by Dr Michael Brown.
    Replacement Theology and the allegorical reading of the Word of God has robbed many of seeing the truth and brought misery and pain to the Jewish people through the ages in the Name of Jesus.
    Let us not forget Paul’s words in Romans 11 v 29…
    ‘For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance’.
    Father, by Your Spirit please bring about the Truth of Your Word in these urgent days.

  • A courageous and measured resolution. How appropriate that the Province that struggled against apartheid should lead the Communion in seeking justice where racism has been institutionalised, and Scripture manipulated and abused to justify crimes against humanity.

  • I am shocked but not surprised that the Anglican Church of the Province of Southern African should adopt this resolution, without anyone opposing it.

    I call upon ACSA to publish the obviously “fact checked” report that was provided to the members of Synod in order to make this decision. I have been to Israel, have spoken to Arab Christians,
    have travelled through the West Bank and interacted with Christians and Jews who live in Israel. I have seen Palestinians and Jews working side by side in harmony in Jerusalem. This alone does not make me an expert but it has opened my eyes to a misreported situation.

    I am dismayed that the ACSA should rely on a political view of our governments to inform them around this decision and choosing to use the BDS movement to support this smacks of Politicking and should have no place in the affairs of God.

    I also call all Christians who members of the Anglican Church to educate themselves and be informed about the current state of Israel and Palestinians. Let us pray for all of the people who live in Israel and not just the Palestinians. Believing what is said in the media is not always advisable as it can be biased. An example of this was a report on how Israeli troops had shot indiscriminately across the fence into a group of demonstrators in Gaza and killed and injured them A well respected BBC reporter based at a hospital in Gaza reported that the attack was unprovoked and that Hamas was not involved. Three days later Hamas admitted that they had people there and that the Israeli’s had primarily targeted them. These Hamas members were the majority of those killed and injured. Israel admitted that they caused civilian casualties There was no retraction or follow up from the reporter from the BBC or the BBC itself about it’s baseless accusations.

  • I support all the resolutions

  • 1 ¶ Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
    2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
    3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

    Ex 4:23 And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.

    Now if Israel is considered by God to be His son, would the Anglican Church now help God discipline His son without God asking for that help? have you ever decided to go unauthorised and take over the disciplining of somebody else’s son, whilst the father is in attendance to that very matter?
    It is obvious the leaders of the Anglican Church are now displaying ignorance as to who God is and who they are.

  • I strongly oppose this boycott, it is just another political correct response, were the S A Jewish Board given a chance to respond to the Regina Mundi congregation? Until I am convinced otherwise my husband and I will resign from the Anglican Church, Zeerust North West Province

    • Good for you Christine. I pray all Anglicans who love the truth will take your principled stand.

  • A sad day for ACSA by taking a political decision and going against the word of God by :
    Failing to have a proper understanding of God’s covenantal relationship with Israel;
    By “ touching the apple of God’s eye”;
    Forgetting that “we do not support the root, but the root supports us.”

  • All the Christians must support and LOVE and BLESS ISRAEL not to CURSE them,by doing so GOD will Bless us too Without Jews no Christianity, SALVATION IS COMING FROM THE JEWS. The JEWS and CHRISTIANS ARE ONE PACKAGE, we must support each other not to oppose each other. Now the Jews are attending the feasts of GOD, the feast of the trumpets, Yomkippur andSukoth, during these FALL HOLY DAYS We as christians It is a GOOD thing to support them FIANCIALLY. PEACE BE WITH ISRAEL. NOZI

  • In December 2009 Palestinian Christians through their various church leaders released their Kairos Palestine Document. They speak for themselves about the ongoing and worsening realities on the ground. The way many Christians beyond Palestine invalidate and silence these voices is not unlike how many Christians beyond apartheid SA invalidated and silenced the voices of black Christians and churches in 1985.
    Since our birthplace is something of an ‘accident’ as some are born in Palestine, Brazil, Norway, Australia, Solomon Islands, Uganda, South Africa…… it seems awfully convenient to make easy and flawed pronouncements on Palestinian Christians from afar. If you were born there – a Palestinian Christian from Gaza or the West Bank – I wonder if you’d still be employing the usual vitriolic judgments to justify the brutal occupation.
    Oh, and given the numerous international violations Israel is guilty of, including the Rome Statute’s apartheid as a crime against humanity, I suppose it’s easier to sweep that under the carpet and reduce everything to Hamas, even though all these realities were in full force long before Hamas emerged on the scene.
    It’s just amazing the depth of hatred fellow Christians have against their fellow Christians in Palestine-Israel. I guess most of us should just feel ‘lucky’ we were not born ‘Palestinian.’ God bless Palestine.

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