Greenbelt on the Haman/Hamas trail

The Kairos Network of British churches was launched at the recent Greenbelt festival aimed at encouraging 'Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions' actions against Israel.

by Molly Cooper

PrayingDuring a recent visit to South America, a friend and I had the privilege of witnessing a 'holy moment', when German Christians knelt in a church - near the hut where the infamous Mengele had taken shelter - and asked forgiveness for the significant influence of Nazism in the area.

This is a German community where the lies of a 'superior Arian race' and hatred of the Jewish people were absorbed and passed on to subsequent generations.

By the grace of God, Britain and Ireland escaped the horrors of the Third Reich and the extermination of unwanted members of society and especially of Jews.

On 25th August at Greenbelt Christian Youth Summer Camp, Cheltenham Racecourse, the Amos Trust launched the 'Kairos Britain network of Churches', (linked to Global Kairos), as part of the Festival´s focus on human rights.

The Amos Trust is one of 62 signatories to the Iona Call 2012, which seeks to provoke a response to a plea from Palestinian Christians for support in their struggles for justice.

Kairos BritainThe Kairos network will continue the work of the Iona Call, which portrays Israel as an oppressive and unjust nation, which denies political and human rights to Palestinians. The Kairos Network will urge the Church to put pressure on governments to engage in boycott, disinvestment and sanctions against Israel.

There is no recognition of benefits received from Israel in terms of infrastructure, technological training and sharing of medical advances and expertise.

Boycotting Israeli goods would in fact be counterproductive, causing even greater distress, as thousands of Arabs who work in Israeli businesses would lose their jobs – a fact which some Palestinian officials have recently been expressing anonymously (Israel Today website, 22nd July).

"Anti-Israel presentations and rhetoric can quickly descend into anti-Semitism"
Efforts to approach the organisers of the Festival to ask them to include an Israeli perspective were in vain.

In any conflict, it is unwise to focus only on the rights and sufferings of one side, especially in the midst of peace negotiations.

Anti-Israel presentations and rhetoric can quickly descend into anti-Semitism. We have only to recall where political and religious meetings condemning Jews led to in Germany before WWII.

Surely the Church, the "pillar and bulwark of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15), should be engaged in careful examination of both sides of the conflict. To be ignorant of the full truth could be extremely dangerous, especially in the current situation.

Molly Cooper is a Christian believer living in Northern Ireland. The above is a copy of a letter to be published in the Church of Ireland Gazette.

Josef Mengele was a German SS officer and a physician in the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz. He initially gained notoriety for being one of the SS physicians who supervised the selection of arriving transports of prisoners, determining who was to be killed and who was to become a forced laborer, but is far more infamous for performing human experiments on camp inmates, including children, for which Mengele was called the "Angel of Death".

Related articles:
Christian Palestinianism: a response
The Middle East and Christian Politics
A Dangerous Ignorance
A Christian Holocaust in our time - is it possible?
It's 1930's German all over again

Molly Cooper, 02/09/2013

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Christians Together in the Highlands and Islands > Esther 4-14 > Greenbelt on the Haman/Hamas trail