Friday, August 30, 2013

Kairos chaos in the Church

From Rev'd Nick Gray:

This year’s August Bank Holiday Greenbelt Christian festival saw the launch of “Kairos Britain”, a new and avowedly pro-Palestinian Christian organisation. Drawing its inspiration from a 2009 document produced by the Sabeel ecumenical movement of Palestinian churches, Kairos Britain joins a number of prominent Christian groups that have in recent years bought into the international boycott movement (Boycotts, Divestment & Sanctions, or “BDS”) calling for action against Israel.

Where some Christian groups working in the Middle East have added political activism to their existing projects and policies in the region, Kairos Britain has its very foundation in a pseudo-religious political movement (Sabeel) that is more anti-Israel than pro-Palestinian.

In 2005, Palestinian activists put out a call internationally for a campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel. The stated aim is to force Israel to withdraw both soldiers and settlers from the area known as the West Bank (biblical Judea and Samaria). The inspiration for this campaign was the success of similar international sanctions against South Africa, which led to the ending of apartheid. Of course, in order to join up the dots, the BDS movement seeks to paint Israel as an “apartheid state” - something only a little objective research shows to be manifestly untrue.

The BDS campaign has proved to be a complete failure in terms of economic pressure on Israel. Trying to stop shoppers buying a few items of produce from Israeli settlements hardly measures against the billions of dollars of trade carried on with Israel by the international community in Israel’s high-tech, medical and agricultural developments! What the BDS movement is good at, however, is affecting attitudes negatively towards Israel. Regrettably, BDS output is marked by bias, distortion of history and deceptive assertions that have no foundation in truth or reality.

In their desire to fight for justice for the oppressed, some Christian organisations working in the Middle East have absorbed the language, attitudes and tactics of the secular BDS groups. This dangerously compromises Christian standards and witness. The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), for example, is one of the most prominent of the British BDS groups. Stand For Peace, an inter-religious (not Christian) anti-extremist website, has produced a detailed analysis of the PSC and says,
“the PSC is an extremist, racist organisation, which tolerates homophobia and other forms of illiberalism. Well-meaning organizations that collaborate with the PSC on the basis of a presumed mutual belief in human rights, democracy and peace, should be informed of the PSC’s true nature; all political and human rights organisations that wish to demonstrate probity should take steps to distance themselves from the PSC’s anti-peace and counter-cohesive message.”
Why would any “well-meaning” Christian organisation want to be identified with such a group? Yet several are and Christians can often be seen at PSC rallies and supporting them in different ways. Rev Stephen Sizer is a prominent pro-Palestinian evangelical minister and has been a speaker at a number of PSC events. It is a dilution of the Church’s witness to be identified with such an extremist, secular group.

Christian groups that have allied themselves with the secular BDS movement also show a disturbing degree of imbalance in the way they approach issues concerning the Palestinians and Israel. Commonly much is made of alleged Israeli mistreatment of Palestinians, to the extent that Israel is accused of “ethnically cleansing” whole areas Palestinians (with no convincing evidence). No mention is made, however, of the suffering inflicted on Palestinians by their own leaders; of the massive corruption, misuse of international aid, torturing of prisoners or the incitement of a whole generation to hatred against the one nation the Palestinians are supposed to be making peace with! Nor is mention made of the thousands of rockets that have been launched against Israel from the Palestinian enclave of Gaza.

Much is made of the evil of Israeli “illegal settlements” on alleged Palestinian territory with no mention of the 96,000 Palestinians earning good wages working in Israel (including 20,000 working in West Bank settlements). Demands are made for the cessation of settlement activity by Israel with no thought to the employment vacuum and suffering that would be left by their removal. Ignored also are inconvenient counter-arguments by top legal minds that Israeli occupation of the West Bank is completely legitimate.

In November 2012, Christian Aid held a conference in Gateshead on “Peace And Justice In The Holy Land”. A non-Christian commentator (Denis McEoin) who is an expert on Middle East affairs, wrote a detailed account of the proceedings. In his opening paragraphs he says,
“The conference was, from beginning to end, a total travesty of those ideals [of peace and justice]; it was in all respects one-sided, often dangerously so. One after another, the speakers all presented the pro-Palestinian narrative and arguments derived from Palestinian political theory. Not once was an Israeli or Jewish narrative even mentioned, where such a narrative would differ in substantial terms from the Palestinian one, yet Israel was on several occasions ridiculed and condemned.”
Just before this conference was held, a coalition of 22 cross-Europe NGOs released the report Trading Away Peace: How Europe Helps Sustain Illegal Israeli Settlements. The report was basically an encouragement for Europe to increase boycotts and other sanctions against Israel until she lifts her “illegal occupation” of the West Bank. NGO Monitor condemned the coalition in a strongly-worded response to the 35 page paper entitled How Biased Political NGOs Fuel Conflict. This from a well-respected international organisation, going on to say,
“...this political advocacy NGO network, which receives massive funding from European governments, markets a selective and one-sided narrative in order to demonize Israel. This is part of the “Durban strategy” of using highly distorted versions of the conflict and allegations of “war crimes” in order to isolate Israel – a strategy that these NGOs and their allies have employed for more than a decade.”
We should be very concerned at this because the 22-strong coalition of “Biased Political NGOs” includes Christian Aid, The Quakers and the Methodist church. This again reveals Christian groups identifying with un-biblical values and attitudes and is damaging to our Christian witness to the world. Christian NGOs should surely not allow themselves to be in a position where they are the objects of such severe censure from a secular organisation!

The launch of Kairos Britain at the weekend was accompanied by an “occupation game” for children invented by Embrace The Middle East (used to be The Bible Lands Society), a Christian charity that does some amazing educational work among the Middle East’s poor. Using a simulated board game to take children through “checkpoints” and other barriers to their movement, the game presented by CEO Jeremy Moodey abuses a very serious subject and only serves to trivialise the experiences of ordinary people while demonising Israel once again. No mention here of Muslim persecution of Christians in Bethlehem or of the consistent suppression of free speech by the Palestinian leaders; just “nasty old Israel” at it again. Children should be allowed to grow up at least, before people try to indoctrinate them!

The same imbalance in treatment of the two protagonists in this conflict can be seen in the output of the World Council of Churches’ “Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme to Palestine and Israel” (EAPPI). While claiming not to take sides, their practice of hovering around Israeli security checkpoints in tasteful coloured vests is solely with the aim of capturing examples of brutality by Israeli soldiers. Why not stand outside the Palestinian prison in Jericho and complain about the torture of prisoners there, or show support for Baptist Pastor Naim Khoury in Bethlehem whose church has been fire-bombed by fellow Palestinians?

Kairos Britain sadly follows in well-trodden paths; distorting history, making emotive claims without supporting evidence and, on a theological level, supporting a Palestinian interpretation of “Liberation Theology” that only sees itself as a victim. (What happened to “more than conquerors”, Romans 8)? For example, their website page on the history of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict includes the statement:
“In 1967, during a war with the neighbouring Arab states, Israel conquered the West Bank and Gaza Strip...”
This is an unbelievably skewed interpretation of known historical facts. Presented with a number of unequivocal actions showing that an attack was imminent from Egypt and Syria, Israel carried out pre-emptive attacks on both in June 1967. Frantic diplomatic pleading with Jordan not to join the conflict failed and Jerusalem was attacked by Jordanian forces from the (illegally occupied) West Bank. Fighting back defensively on three fronts and massively out-numbered, Israel succeeded in securing strategically defensible borders against her three attackers. After the dust settled, she held the Golan Heights, the West Bank and the whole of the Sinai peninsula.

Besides this, the Kairos Britain website inevitably excludes Israel’s immediate offer to return all the territory she had taken in the war in return for peace. It also excludes the vital fact that this offer was categorically refused by the whole Arab League with the statement, "no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it." Please tell me, then, who is responsible for Israel’s continued hold on the West Bank and the Golan Heights; who is refusing to make peace with whom?

Kairos Britain, Amos trust, Christian Aid and the other “pro-Palestinian” Christian organisations draw their inspiration (and most of their catch-phrases) from the Kairos Palestine Document: A Moment of Truth, published in 2009 by the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem. This groups speaks for the traditional Christian denominations, but includes no representation from the newer Palestinian Evangelical churches. It is an expression of a Palestinian version of Catholic Liberation Theology, which politicises the plight of the poor and oppressed and almost sanctifies their victimhood.

The Kairos Document is more political than spiritual in its tenor and places the whole blame for the difficulties of Palestinian Christians on Israel. Never once in the document is the Palestinian Authority censured for its human rights abuses, its incitement to hatred of Israel and Jews or its provocation of security restrictions by sending terrorists to attack Israelis and rockets from Gaza. These are high on the list of causes for the problems faced by both Christian and Muslim Palestinians. For a comprehensive breakdown of discrepancies in the Kairos Document, see this Christian blog post, published as the Document was fresh off the press.

If there is a “Kairos moment” for the Church in this arena it is to commit to presenting a more balanced face; engaging compassionately and genuinely with both sides in this seemingly endless conflict that has brought so much pain and death to both Palestinians and Israelis and acknowledging that both sides have a story to tell.

Rev Nick Gray is a Pentecostal minister of nearly 30 years standing. Previously, he was an Army Officer and served three tours in Northern Ireland. He travels frequently to Israel and the disputed territories and writes for several online publications on Middle East issues.

Christian Middle East Watch is dedicated to presenting an objective and factual perspective on the Middle East, and particularly on the long and seemingly intractable conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. Most current CMEW output is on their blog.


Blogger LEN said...

The Muslims have done a very good PR job on getting public opinion on their side they could not have done this without the help of the Media who constantly identify the 'Palestinians' as 'the victims' and Israelis as the 'aggressors'. This is patently untrue and totally biased.
There are Christian organisations who have no or little understanding of the situation regarding Israel and they side with the Media influenced opinions.
The 'Palestinian people' are 'pawns' in the Muslim led attempt to totally remove Israel from the map"

"The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians,Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct 'Palestinian people' to oppose Zionism.
(PLO executive committee member Zahir Muhsein, in a 1977 interview with the Dutch newspaper Trouw)

30 August 2013 at 10:48  
Blogger Naomi King said...

"Kairos Britain sadly follows in well-trodden paths; distorting history, making emotive claims without supporting evidence and, on a theological level, supporting a Palestinian interpretation of “Liberation Theology” that only sees itself as a victim." How true.

Judah and Samaria where part of the Israeli heartlands that war given to the Hebrew Nation by the United Nations in 1948. The Jordanian illegally occupied Judah and Samaria shortly thereafter. This area was then recovered by the Israeli's in 1967. Praise God. There is no such thing as the 'occupied West Bank'.

The Methodists have a bad history of promoting misleading bias and untruth about Israel. They provide their churches to Rev Sizer as venues for his hatred and lies toward Israel and the Hebrews.

While I was at New Wine in the summer I watched the representative of 'Embrace The Middle East', clearly a man full of hate. I believe it is serious that Christian Organisations like New Wine should give a platform for people such as Embrace the Middle East and Kairos.

30 August 2013 at 11:24  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Scoot straight down to the explanation of who Nick Gray is and then ignore the rest. Keywords here are "pentecostal" and "Christian Middle East Watch". Cranmer really does know all the best people. And before anyone goes all Richard Dawkins on me and starts sreaming "ad hominem", do try to remember that "ad hominem" is not automatically invalid.

30 August 2013 at 11:45  
Blogger The Explorer said...


"Scoot straight down to the explanation of who Nick Gray is and then ignore the rest."

If you'd prefaced it with "In this instance" you might have a point. As your statement stands, you seem to say, as a general principle, "Don't look at the article, look at the author." Sounds like 'ad hominem' to me.

Apply the principle in a trial. Never mind what the facts of this case are: look at what else the guy has done in the past. Guilty, on the basis of previous record.

30 August 2013 at 11:57  
Blogger Naomi King said...

'War' should of course be read 'were' in the first line of the second paragraph of my comment @ 11:24, apologies.

30 August 2013 at 12:00  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

So Corrigan, What's your problem with 'Pentecostal'. They usually have more spiritual perception and a greater care for their fellow man.
I guess you think they are wacky? They take their belief very seriously and personal unlike many religious church attenders.

30 August 2013 at 12:16  
Blogger Naomi King said...

As Jesus says, he wants disciples not just believers.

30 August 2013 at 12:31  
Blogger Owl said...


I am starting to get worried about you.

Does evidence or the obvious lack of it not influence your thinking at all?

Where on earth did you attain such a biased view of history?

30 August 2013 at 13:06  
Blogger Naomi King said...

Surely in the light of ALL the evidence about islam as a faith in a violent, angry and false god, it defies all reason that Christians can still continue to see the palestinian muslims as the cute, cuddly, and blameless creatures that the likes of Sizer, Embrace the Middle East and Kairos like to portray them as.

It is certain that the christian arabs from Samaria and Judah do not see their muslim brothers and sisters as these cute, cuddly, and blameless creatures that they are portrayed to be, by the western media and such groups, unto the naive.

30 August 2013 at 13:34  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Explorer/Owl,

Well Corrigan is an out and out Israeli basher in chief, so what should you expect? I remember reading his first post a year and a bit ago, when he quoted Gobbels to justify a bit of Israeli bashing. It's been downhill since then ):

30 August 2013 at 14:42  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

It was only since the Arab nations lost another war of their planning in 1967 that the notion of being Palestinian was born.

First was the PLO, then Black September when they were kicked out of Jordan who committed atrocities at the Munich Olympics. They hijacked Airliners and blew them up. Cruise liner hijacked at sea and an old man in a wheelchair tipped into the sea. Suicide bombers in Tel-Aviv cafes and on buses; billions of dollars in western aid diverted to buy flash cars and lavish lifestyles for pseudo-politicians like Arafat & Co.

Yet no Arab State has offered nor have these 'Palestinian' representatives, asked for sanctuary for these so called 'refugees' that occupy territory internationally recognised since 1947/8 as Israel.

The West has stood by and allowed history to be airbrushed if not abandoned completely for fear of upsetting some element or other, deemed to be too sensitive for religious or economic reasons. The West is being complicit in furthering Hitler's and Islam's long anti-Jewish ambition.

...'the most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over. Here, as so often in this world, persistence is the first and most important requirement for success'.

Hitler, "War Propaganda", in volume 1, chapter 6 of Mein Kampf (1925)

30 August 2013 at 14:44  
Blogger Jonathan B said...

The article and the previous ones on the non-Christian activities of Kairos Britain, Amos trust, Christian Aid and pro-Mohammedian Palestinian groups do a very good job at giving a coherent argument as why to worry about groups co-opting the "Christian" name.

What would be useful is to track the history of the leaders of these organisations. To see what form they have.

Secondly, Rev Gray you have provided us with the information, what action should we take? Letters to these groups, (Not in His name or why we are not donating) or do you suggest we seek out these charities funding and expenditure, and take further action if they are improperly using their funds? Other suggestions?

30 August 2013 at 15:34  
Blogger Jim M. said...

@ Hannah Kavanagh:

"an out and out Israeli basher in chief" is your good self being too kind, I fear.

30 August 2013 at 15:51  
Blogger Naomi King said...

Very good points you make Jonathan B.

30 August 2013 at 16:29  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Jim M,

Yes, I think I am being too kind on Corrigan. But he doesn't like it when you 'shout' 'anti-semite' and just uses it to revert to his prior prejudices.

I add an 's' onto that because Corrigan can't actually stand Anglicans or anyone who isn't a Catholic, in respect of Christianity; he has nothing but contempt towards the English, doesn't think much of the Welsh and is hateful to Jews, er, sorry the Israelis and actually couldn't care less about Palestinians or Islam, except as a way of attacking this blog, Jews, Israel and other non-Catholics, in fact, to Corrigan the one true, 'real' faith, as Jesus said to the first Pope,Peter, kinda stuff. Which means it 'has' to be true!

That is the impression I've got over the past year and a bit anyhow.

30 August 2013 at 16:45  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Corrigan wrote:

Scoot straight down to the explanation of who Nick Gray is and then ignore the rest.

I think I can see what Corrigan is getting at.

1. Pentecostal minister of nearly 30 years standing. OK, this is disconcerting. We all know that 'Pentacostal' is a synonym for 'primitive' or 'stupid.' He's probably a snake handler.

2. Army Officer and served three tours in Northern Ireland Ah, so he is a former officer in an Army of occupation. No wonder he has affinity for the Israelis.

3. He travels frequently to Israel and the disputed territories Definitely suspicious. He's probably getting orders from Mossad. Why else would anyone travel 'frequently' to Israel?

do try to remember that "ad hominem" is not automatically invalid.

Well, yes, it is actually. It's a logical fallicy to attack an argument by attacking its presenter. But I understand Corrigan's concern. The author's pedigree is hopelessly compromised.

Who could read these facts and disagree?


30 August 2013 at 19:10  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Forgot to add, least anyone think I am a raving liberal, if I were the Prime Minister of Israel in 2013 and the US decides to strike Syrian and Syria attacks Israel by its proxies, either by rockets or chemical attacks, by Hamas and Hizbollah, then Israel should feel free to respond in like kind, occupy Gaza, crush them once and for all and root out the terrorists once and for all.

They'll be given a polite 24 deadline, out of courtesy.

30 August 2013 at 19:42  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Well, to adapt a theatre song:

'Do you hear Jews sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaughtered again!
When the beating of our hearts
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!

Will you join in supporting Zionism ?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the concentration camp
Is there a world you long to see?

Then join in the fight
That will give you the right to be free!!

Do you hear Jews sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaughtered again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!

Will you give all you can give
So that the Star of David may advance
Some will fall and some will live
Will you stand up and take your chance?!
The blood of Zionists will water the meadows of Israel!

Do you hear Jews sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaughtered again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!'

31 August 2013 at 00:11  
Blogger ukFred said...

Oh that everything was a clear as the chief protagonists on both sides of this debate would have us believe. Some of the Jewish Israelis will have some hard explaining to do when they come before their Maker. So too will some of the Arabs. But those who I believe will be likely to come off worst are those blind armchair supporters of both sides who believe that their side has a monopoly of good and their opponent has a monopoly of evil.

Throughout the 20th century, the Arabs have been let down by poor leaders who have led them astray in so many ways, from suggesting that they would be leaving their homes only for a few days or weeks until the Arab armies had crushed the fledgling state of Israel in 1948 and kept them in captivity in so-called refugee camps ever since all the way through to today when Mahmoud Ahmadinajab proclaims that he will wipe Israel from the map.

Israel has several times traded land for peace. It gave up the land but only found that the attacks against it were coming from closer at hand, from the land it gave up. I am not old enough to remember what happened in 1948, but I can remember listening on the radio to the 1967 war, and even as a child I remember thinking that God had to be with these people because the odds against them were overwhelming but they were defeating the attack. I felt the same about the Yom Kippur war. If I could see that as a child, why can others not see it?

Although I worship in a Methodist church, anyone who reads my blog will see that I do not think it is anywhere near perfect. Only last week, I had a word with the person who had led the prayers of intercession after she had been praying for the family of the 'poor victim Trayvon Martin who was shot in cold blood by a vigilante'

Throughout the Bible, in both the Old and the New Testaments, we are told not to have hard hearts. I have yet to find the part that Kairos, Christian Aid and Corrigan keep suggesting is there, that we should have soft heads.

31 August 2013 at 10:32  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Until now I had not hear of Kairos; what I read leaves me cold. It sounds like the Christians responsible for this gambit are contemplating either the life as dhimmis or if not, as fully paid-up muslims in the near future. They are surely working (possibly in the hope of clemency as collaborators) for the eradication of Israel. We have already seen Ratzinger back track on historical facts about Mohammad when faced down by the Muslim Turkish President rather than uphold the views of one of his papal predecessors. The CoE is more fixated against having women bishops than its continued existence. The West’s politicians too, are running scared shitless in case the usual suspects ‘kick-off’ if not in Europe, then anywhere in the world where they can expect to get away with murder and mayhem will do. If politicians so much as visit Israel let alone pledge support for its right to exist they have to focus on the wall or settlements or get it in the neck when they get back home if they don’t make the right noises.
But this? this surely has to be part of the Christian suicide note.

…We also declare that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land is a sin against
God and humanity because it deprives the Palestinians of their basic human rights,
bestowed by God… The shrinking number of Christians, particularly in Palestine, is one of the
dangerous consequences[of the ‘occupation’]…
…Israel justifies its actions as self-defence, including occupation… if there were no occupation, there would be no resistance, no fear and no insecurity. This is our understanding of the situation.

The ‘occupied Palestinian land’ that they and the Muslims bleat about, is Israel; or more specifically, what is left of the already constricted original Israel border lines. The Israelis even moved out of that shit-hole Gaza only for its infrastructure and industry to be trashed in days. They have done the land for peace crap - It didn’t work.
Christians on this site especially Bro Albert, like to point the finger of blame for their status demise in Europe at something called ‘secularists’ or ‘secularism’, when instead they should be looking inward at their own failings and lack of credibility and ask themselves why more people don’t buy in to their mythology. They seem incapable of presenting Christianity as anything approaching a representative or cohesive entity even in the face of,(unless forcibly checked) further Islamic entrenchment. This Kairos gang and their self- depiction of themselves and Muslims as victims, is an insult to any rational thinkers let alone the Jews.
It is not the ‘secular’ that Christianity should worry about – it’s their own kind.

31 August 2013 at 16:27  
Blogger Corrigan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

31 August 2013 at 18:17  
Blogger Corrigan said...

I remember reading his first post a year and a bit ago, when he quoted Gobbels to justify a bit of Israeli bashing. It's been downhill since then)

How to be a Zionist, 101. Hannah knows that I actually accused Zionists of using Gobbels' methods, but hey, we're Zionists, we don't have to be scrupulous, do we?

31 August 2013 at 18:46  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Hannah re comment @ 18:46

Don't bother to read it; just look at who wrote it.

(Following the advice of its author earlier in the thread about effective reading strategy.)

31 August 2013 at 20:47  
Blogger Callum Lane said...

Is Corrigan self-avowedly not a Zionist? That is a rather extreme position to take.

31 August 2013 at 23:06  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

HI Explorer,

I will ignore then!

1 September 2013 at 20:32  

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