Apr 28, 2010 12:05 ET
Reform Rabbinate Voices Deep Concern and Criticism of Document Issued by Palestinian Christians
"Kairos/A Moment of Truth" Casts Out Decades of Jewish-Christian Rapprochement as It Rejects Notion of a Jewish State; Denies Judaism's Validity as a Covenant Religion; Implicitly Condones Terrorism, According to Resolution Adopted by the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR)
NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - April 28, 2010) - The leadership of the Reform rabbis, the largest group of Jewish clergy, have voiced deep concern and criticism of a document issued by Palestinian Christian clergy that undermines decades of Christian-Jewish relationships. Commonly known as the "Kairos" document, it blatantly rejects the notion of a Jewish state; invokes "supercessionist" language that suggests God's relationship with Christians replaces that with Jews; and implicitly condones, or praises, suicide bombers.
A Resolution adopted by the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), which represents nearly 2,000 Reform rabbis of North America, said the endorsement of the December 2009 "Kairos/A Moment of Truth: A Word of Faith, Hope and Love from the Heart of Palestinian Suffering" by certain "individuals and church groups [throughout the world] with which we have enjoyed harmonious interfaith relations has been surprising, disturbing and profoundly disappointing."
The 2009 Kairos document was issued and signed by nine Palestinian members of the Christian clergy and signed by six Palestinian Christian laypersons. (The CCAR resolution notes that the document has been explicitly endorsed by a relative few Palestinian Christian leaders; it is available at http://www.kairospalestine.ps/sites/default/Documents/English.pdf.)
In the resolution (available at http://data.ccarnet.org/cgi-bin/resodisp.pl?file=kairos&year=2010), the rabbis point out that the 2009 Kairos Document:
Rejects or ignores more than a half century of Jewish-Christian rapprochement and takes its place among other documents which, throughout history, have intended to de-legitimize the Jewish People's continuing Covenant with God, particularly by arguing that Jews' Covenant has been superseded by Jesus and Christianity. "Too often, such documents have been utilized as pretexts for our persecution, our expulsion and even our attempted annihilation," the resolution says.
Purports to promote non-violent resistance as the only legitimate Christian response to the Israeli occupation, yet expresses "respect and high esteem for those who have given their life for our nation," thereby implicitly condoning, even praising, suicide bombers.
Attempts to neutralize the concept of terrorism, implying that the deliberate Palestinian targeting of Israeli civilians with the aim of killing as many as possible in order to strike fear and terror is not terrorism at all, but a form of "legal resistance."
Echoing the resolution, Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus, President of the CCAR, said, "The ongoing struggle of Israelis and Palestinians to live side by side in the land sacred to both is one of the greatest tragedies of our time. People of good will, whatever their faith or background, have beheld twin horrors: Israel's existential struggle in the face of massive invasions and years of indiscriminate bombing, along with the suffering experienced by Palestinians living under Israeli governance. Israel and the Palestinians desperately need a peaceful settlement that brings about an end to the endless cycle of violence, that provides dignity and self-rule to the Palestinians, and assures the security to Israelis in a Jewish and democratic state. This moment calls for sober, honest and nuanced voices coming especially from involved religious leaders who understand the necessity of compromise and who can speak truth to power on both sides. The cause of peace is not served by pronouncements which vindicate one side while demonizing the other, but by the courage of moral clarity and respect for truth."
The CCAR resolution:
Challenges the authors of the 2009 Kairos document to "be true to the love and respect of life they endorse and the very scriptures they quote by rejecting as immoral and un-Christian the indiscriminate and deliberately targeted murder of Israeli men, women and children."
Asserts the Jewish people's right to national sovereignty in the Land of Israel is "primarily established, not by subjective religious belief or fundamentalist reading of Hebrew Scriptures, but by a millennium of national existence and civilization there, followed, even in exile, by nearly two millennia of unbroken physical and spiritual support of and yearning for the Land."
Labels as theologically hypocritical and historically dishonest the assertion that the Palestinian people's historic presence on the land establishes its right of return, but that the Jewish people's historic presence, dating back 3000 years, does not establish that very same right.
Calls on Christians of good faith to recognize the complexity of the Israeli-Arab conflict, which is complicated by territorial dispute as well as competing allegiances to sacred land, Palestinian suffering and Palestinian terror, and which must not be reduced, as Kairos' authors do, to an assertion that the Jewish people are in the wrong and that the Palestinian cause is fully just.
Serves notice that the CCAR would require serious reflection before continuing common cause with any Church body or organization that endorses or continues to endorse Kairos.
Calls on all who have endorsed Kairos to look deeply into its words and honestly into their own souls and to recognize and forswear the flawed and distorted picture of reality it paints.
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