Friday, September 2, 2016

Sweden: Church of Sweden believes "Apartheid is worse in Palestine than it was in South Africa"

The Church wants to 'liberate Israeli Jews' by supporting the antisemitic BDS movement whose express goal is to wipe out Israel as a Jewish state.

Robert Herbs @ Mondoweiss:
At the same time, across the Pond, two dioceses of the Church of Sweden (also Lutheran) sponsored a Kairos Palestine summer camp to consider ramping up the pressure on Israel by increasing the Church’s support of and participation in the BDS movement.

Disestablished in 2000, the Church of Sweden is no longer the state church, but 63% of the country are members, and it is an influential force in Swedish politics.

About 40 of its peace workers, together with a Roman Catholic and a few from the Uniting Church in Sweden (a recent merger of the Baptist Union of Sweden, the United Methodist Church and the Mission Covenant Church of Sweden)  gathered at a modest beach-side hotel in Skane, on Sweden’s cool and windy Southwest coast. Virtually all had traveled or lived in Palestine, and knew what was happening on the ground there.

I was invited to share the work of Jewish Voice for Peace (“JVP”) on BDS and Palestinian liberation generally.  I found a receptive audience.  It was clear that their patience with Israel and its oppression of Palestinians was running out.

The camp was convened by a dynamo named Anna Karin Hammar.  She is a priest and the sister of the Swedish Church’s 40th Archbishop and Primate since the Reformation.  A feminist undaunted by the fact that all 40 were of the male persuasion, the Rev. Dr. Hammar ran to succeed her brother in 2006 and actually garnered 10% of the vote.  (The female 42nd Archbishop, installed in 2014, finally broke that clerical glass ceiling). Anna Karin, as she was known at camp, is now the Church’s coordinator with the Christians of Palestine, who in December 2009, drafted “A Moment of Truth: A Word of Faith, Hope and Love from the Heart of Palestinian Suffering,” now known as the Kairos Palestine Document.  Her first trip there was in 1988, during the First Intifada.

In 2012, the Swedish Church’s Synod passed a resolution recommending that its local churches heed the call of the Kairos Palestine Document to cancel investments, impose sanctions and boycott companies and products from the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian areas, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and to demand that the ongoing Israeli blockade of Gaza be lifted.

Impatient at the response, or lack of one now, four years later, Anna Karin did not mince words.  The increasingly difficult plight of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza “called for less talk and more action,” she said in her initial presentation to the camp. “We have waited 41 years” as the situation has gotten worse and worse in Israel and the Occupied Territories.  “We are cowards,” in not sufficiently challenging both the Swedish Churches and Government to change strategies to do more to assist Palestinians engaged in non-violent resistance, and to press Israel to change its oppressive policies. “BDS may be the only chance to liberate both Palestinians and Israeli Jews from the occupation.  We should have nothing to do with the Israeli banking system,” and there should be “no military cooperation between Sweden and Israel” until Israeli occupation of Palestinian land ends.

Apartheid is worse in Palestine than it was in South Africa because it is killing daily life there,” where the Christian community “is diminishing and increasingly marginalized, so that migration appears to many to be the only realistic solution.” In South Africa, she noted, India and Sweden spearheaded the BDS movement.  Now, it is South Africa which is spearheading an ecumenical Christian BDS movement in Palestine, with an office and paid staff.  It is time, Dr. Hammar concluded, for Swedish Christians and their congregations to get on board.

Staffan Graner, of Jews for Israeli-Palestinian Peace (“JIPF”), the Swedish analog to JVP, told the camp that the call to BDS is just starting to percolate among Sweden’s small Jewish community of 20,000, 0.2% of the country’s 9.6 million people.  (The 1.4 million Jews in Europe constitute about that same percentage of the European population).

read more

No comments :

Post a Comment