World Council of Churches Favors Nationalism and Anti-Semitism
The Kairos Palestine Document and Alternative Tourism
The Christian faith is known for holding aspects of the divine commitment to the Jewish people by seven biblical covenants: six unconditional ones with Abraham (Gen 12, 1-3), the Land (Gen 12, 1), the Levites (Num 25, 10-13), David (2 Sam 7, 10-16), Israel and Judah (Jer 31, 31-34), Jerusalem (Ez 16), and one conditional one at Sinai (Ex 19, 5). Those commitments are preceded by the universal covenant with the whole creation (Gen 9, 12-17). Many attempts which try to re-draw that celestial union of universality-cum-Israel-particularity fall, unswervingly, into the trap of nationalism and anti-Semitism.
Two recent divine-restructuring efforts of that kind count the Christians in Nazi -Germany and some Palestinian Christians. The former attempt ended in the Holocaust; the latter is now sponsored by the World Council of Churches (WCC) through two major engines, the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme to Palestine and Israel (EAPPI), and the Kairos Palestine Document with its spin-off, "Alternative Tourism." These two programs are of interest here.
1) The Kairos Palestine DocumentIn December 2009, a Bethlehem panel chaired by the retired former Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Michel Sabbah, launched the Kairos Document. The WCC Secretariat swiftly spread the paper among Protestant churches worldwide, calling for a program of boycotts, divestment and delegitimization directed at the State of Israel.
In April 2010, Malcolm Lowe wrote the seminal article "The Palestinian Kairos Document: A Behind-the-Scenes Analysis," published by the New English Review. Lowe's careful study exposes a number of deceptions behind the Kairos Document. Seven of those pretenses are mentioned here.
Deception 1: Israel is an Apartheid-State.
The Case: The document's name alludes to the name of a statement issued in South Africa in 1985. That allusion is meant to deliberately compare Israel with the regime of apartheid.
The Fact: Israel is no apartheid state. Israel is a thriving democracy, with huge numbers of non-Jews fully integrated at all levels of Israeli society.
Deception 2: The Jerusalem heads of Churches support Kairos.
The Case: Of the sixteen signatories, only one acting Church head signed the paper, namely Munib Younan, Bishop of a tiny Arab Lutheran Church. The other signatories are Palestinian activists, like Lutheran parish priest Mitri Raheb and retired Anglican clergy Naim Ateek; low level officials; and laypeople. Younan, fearing the loss of Israeli privileges, withdrew his signature. For pastoral reasons, the Jerusalem Church heads released a brief statement upholding the Christian faith. Deceitfully, this communiqué was prefaced to the Kairos Document.
The Fact: The Jerusalem heads of Churches do not endorse Kairos. Jerusalem Church leaders, save one, uphold the Christian faith.
Deception 3: 'Without occupation - no resistance' (Kairos 1:4).
The Case: The Kairos authors and the WCC Secretariat know that Sabbah's claim, "no occupation - no resistance," is wrong. They are familiar with the fact that organizations like Hamas, which have mass support among the Palestinian population, continue the "resistance" as long as the State of Israel exists. The same false message is repeated later in the document (4:3), where terrorism is placed in quotation marks, that is, when it is named as such at all.
The Fact: For Kairos, terror against the State of Israel goes on as long as there is a State of Israel.
Deception 4: Christian sympathy for Israel is a sign of Christian fundamentalism (Kairos 2:2.2).
The Case: Kairos represents Ateek's heresy as if God, being only "good and just," sides with the oppressed, namely the Palestinian people (Kairos 2:2.2). It opposes the biblical Christian belief in God's faithfulness to His people Israel and delegitimizes faithful theology as biblical fundamentalism.
The Fact: Christians on the side of Israel are theologically sound and lawful.
Deception 5: The State of Israel is a biblically-fuelled holy-war-monger (Kairos 2:5).
The Case: Kairos endorses Ateek's ideology and asserts that "the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land is a sin against God and humanity," and concludes that Israel's politics are based on biblical concepts (Kairos 2:5). The authors know that Israel does not subscribe to such a theology, but that the political theology of Hamas indeed calls for violence and holy war in the name of their god.
The Fact: Israel's policy is based on patterns of political thought.
Deception 6: Kairos supports the two-state-solution.
The Case: Ateek's organization Sabeel and Kairos promote worldwide the view that the "two-state solution" is not viable, that "justice" will be achieved only when the State of Israel disappears into a single bi-national state with an Arab majority. Nowhere in the document does the term "two states" occur. The authors want to see a single state embracing Muslims, Jews and Christians alike (Kairos 9:3).
The Fact: Kairos supports the elimination of the Jewish State of Israel.
Deception 7: Kairos facilitates a boycott of merely products from Judea and Samaria.
The Case: The document's Section 7 is "A Word to the International Community," which calls for a "boycott of everything produced by the occupation" (cf. section 2).
The Fact: Kairos promotes a boycott of the State of Israel.
The immediate two aims of the Kairos Document are: 1) to boycott Israel and the Jewish historical connection to the Land of Israel; 2) to neutralize the support of Christian Zionists and any other Christians for Israel.
2) Alternative TourismFollowing the two aims of Kairos, the WCC Secretariat targets Israel's tourist industry and aspires to re-direct pilgrims from Israel to the Palestinian area, and to guide pilgrims from having a positive outlook on Israel to having negative reactions to the Jewish State. Since 2010, three stages of "Alternative Tourism" are developing.
(1) In 2010, the WCC Secretariat published tourist guidelines under the title, "Come and See: A Call from Palestinian Christians - A Journey for Peace with Justice. Guidelines for Christians Contemplating a Pilgrimage to the Holy Land."
Pretending to be the voice of Palestinian Christians, a group of hand-picked 27 theologians from 14 countries, including Palestinian activists, called on Christian pilgrims "to live their faith when visiting the Holy Land by showing concern for the Palestinian people whose lives are severely constricted by the Israeli occupation of their land." The meeting was organized by the Palestinian NGO Alternative Tourism Group (ATG), in cooperation with three WCC bodies: Ecumenical Coalition on Tourism (ECOT), the Kairos Document, and the Palestine-Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF).
The Guidelines' "Code of Conduct for Travelers to the Holy Land" derives directly from the Palestinian Initiative for Responsible Tourism, which had asked for Pontifical endorsement on 6 May 2009. The Guidelines present a full description of pilgrimages, including lists of sites, hotels, guides, buses, books, shops, restaurants, all Palestinian-only, ending with a code of conduct in that Moslem society.
(2) In 2013, the WCC Assembly in Busan, South Korea, launched the program Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace (PJP). In July 2014, the WCC Central Committee recommended PJP to 347 churches in 110 countries. At the fifth anniversary of Kairos, in Bethlehem December 2014, the WCC affirmed its Kairos policy and its connection with PJP:
"We [the pilgrims] commit ourselves to accompanying Palestinian Christians in fellowship of the World Council of Churches in the Pilgrimage for Justice and Peace."Despite its verbose 2013 portrayal, loaded with WCC theological verbiage, PJP's political intend is clear: to foster the two immediate aims of Kairos, namely to annihilate Israel's connection to its historic land and to obliterate Christian relations to Israel. The Lutheran Church in Jerusalem employs PJP as a means to introduce pilgrims and volunteers to the "Holy Land."
(3) In time for the fifth Kairos anniversary in December 2014, the German Evangelical "Bread for the World" (BFW) and the German Catholic organization "Misereor" jointly issued a German rendition of the 2010 WCC pilgrim guidelines "Come and See" (as Kommt und Seht). The German brochure follows, for the most part line by line the English template, but fails to credit the original source. The German text also carefully obfuscates any reference to Kairos. Kommt und Seht is prefaced, deceitfully, as a brochure worked out by Tourism Watch, in cooperation with the Joint Initiative Humanitarian Human Rights Near East, by Misereor and Bread for the World. Two editors are mentioned: Bread for the World and Evangelischer Entwicklungsdienst, Evangelisches Werk für Diakonie und Entwicklung e.V.
Both organizations have been major WCC funders. According to NGO Monitor, BFW in 2013 transferred 2,248,975 Swiss Francs; in 2014: 5,509,859 SF. EED in 2013 transferred 3,604,134 SF.
While Kairos and its tourist spin-offs work toward boycott, divestment and sanctions against both the State of Israel and the biblical Christian faith, kind bishops emeriti provide well-intended pious lectures on the importance of devout pilgrimages, with reference to PJP, as announced by the WCC website. The same website refers to the synod of the Lutheran Church of Hannover, Germany, when in November 2016, under the leadership of a former bishop, the Church synod will discuss the endorsement of the PJP program. In tandem with PJP comes the endorsement of Kairos. That scheme looks like another attempt connected to the Kairos Palestine Solidarity Network (KPSN), Germany, which in December 2014 still complained about the poor response Kairos had received from the Evangelical German Church. For sure, many faithful Christians, including a good portion of the fine Lutheran Church of Hannover, are hardly aware of the degree of deception employed by the WCC Secretariat. They would be scandalized to know that they were being used for the Secretariat's scheme of nationalism and anti-Semitism.
Rev. Dr. Petra Heldt is Director of the Ecumenical Theological Research Fraternity, Jerusalem.
 Kairos Theologians, The Kairos document: Challenge to the Church. A Theological Comment on the Political Crisis in South Africa (Skotaville Publishers, 1986).