The response from the Church of Sweden to the Kairos Palestine document contained no criticism at all against the massive lies, racism and distortions it contains. More sadly, there seems not to have been the slightest attempt to verify if any of the allegations in it were even true.
The Church of Sweden has a problem. Its deep involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian issue — and especially its support for the Kairos Palestine document [full English text and annotations in Appendix below] — is something that should be noted and held up for criticism by other churches, and all those who oppose anti-Semitism and all forms of racism.
“The Kairos document has been produced by Palestinian Christians and is about their vulnerability under occupation. Since it was published in December 2009, it has spread throughout the world and in some areas has become a movement that believes and fights for peace and justice in Palestine and Israel.”
The Kairos Palestine document, from 2009, is a letter that describes itself as “the Christian Palestinians’ word to the world about what is happening in Palestine.” Israel’s presence in what the document refers to as “Palestinian land” — even though this Biblical region has continuously been home to the Jews for nearly four thousand years — is bizarrely described as “a sin against God and humanity.”
In addition to distortions and unjust descriptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the state of Israel, the Kairos Palestine document incites Christians to act against Israel. The document also justifies and excuses Palestinian terrorism:
“Yes, there is Palestinian resistance to the occupation. However, if there were no occupation, there would be no resistance, no fear and no insecurity. This is our understanding of the situation.”
The problem with this explanation is that it is simply not true. For nearly a hundred years, long before Israel entered the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the Six Day War of 1967, Jewish/Israeli civilians were being attacked by Palestinian terrorists. Therefore, the content of the Kairos Palestine document claiming “occupation” as a justification for terrorism is simply not accurate. Worse, it was Arab provocation — closing the Strait of Tiran at the mouth of the Suez Canal, acasus belli [legitimate cause for war] according to international law — that preceded and caused the Six Day War in 1967. In other words, the Arabs started a war, and then were irked when they lost it.
Yet the Kairos Palestine document, several times, implicitly (and incorrectly) states Israel’s presence in the “Palestinian territories” as the reason, justification and excuse for Palestinian terrorism against Israel. In the Kairos document, Israel is (incorrectly) accused of launching a “cruel war” against Palestinians, restricting religious liberty, and violating human rights, among other offenses that any decent person would oppose.
The most offensive part of the Kairos Palestine document, however, is the raw anti-Semitism, which expresses itself in the form of “replacement theology” (also known as supersessionism), in which, as its name would suggest, the “newer” Christianity is supposed to replace and completely supplant, the “older,” supposedly-antiquated, Judaism.
The Kairos Palestine document calls on the world’s churches and the international community to make use of boycott and divestment against Israel, a movement which, of course, is code for trying to strangle Israel to death economically. The Kairos document even questions Israel’s right to exist: It says that the Jewish state was to be “a state that practices discrimination and exclusion, preferring one citizen over another” — an odd statement given that the Jewish state of Israel is the only country in the Middle East where all citizens — Jews, Arabs, Christians, Muslims, men, women — have the right to hold all jobs, own property, sit in the parliament [Knesset] and vote in free elections.
The Kairos Palestine document also ignores that in reality, conversely, the charge of “discrimination and exclusion” pertains to many Muslim states: Saudi Arabia has apartheid laws forbidding non-Muslims from even entering Mecca. Human Rights Watch’s World Report 2015: Saudi Arabia states that that “Systematic discrimination against women and religious minorities continued,” and goes on to assault Saudi Arabia’s entire judicial system, its “refusal to register political or human rights groups” and its abysmal treatment of migrants.
The Jewish state of Israel, on the other hand, is the only state in the Middle East that has given Arabs all their human rights. It should be no surprise that a recent poll found that 52% of Palestinians living in Jerusalem would prefer to live in Israel rather than a future Palestinian state.
Due to the content of the Kairos Palestine document, which is filled with staggering distortions, anti-Semitism and racism, you would think that the Church of Sweden would have immediately distanced itself from the document, but what happened was exactly the opposite. For some reason, the Church of Sweden gave both legitimacy and support to this document.
In 2010, the international department of the Church of Sweden sent a response to the Kairos Palestine document in the form of a letter, which inexplicably concluded:
“Finally, we would like to thank you for the document and for its hopeful message that love and mutual trust is possible, as well as peace and final reconciliation, and that justice and security will be attained for all – Palestinians as well as Israelis.”
Sadly, in what appears to be a massive miscarriage of justice, the response from the Church of Sweden to the Kairos Palestine document contained no criticism at all against the massive lies, racism and distortions it contains. More sadly, there seems not to have been the slightest attempt to verify if any of the allegations in it were even true.
To its credit, the Church of Sweden did at least try to distance itself from the replacement theology in the Kairos Palestine document, by writing in its response letter:
“It is our view that the Sinai Covenant with the Jewish people, as well as the covenant in Jesus Christ, are both valid and expresses God’s nature and will, and his ultimate love for all people.”
In 2012, however, the General Synod of the Church of Sweden made some decisions that resulted in the Kairos Palestine document effectively becoming an official document within the Church of Sweden.
Today, you can find a tutorial on how to study the Kairos Palestine document on the Church of Sweden website. The Church of Sweden has evidently produced this tutorial to encourage their members to study the Kairos Palestine document, and thus unwittingly promoting the malicious distortions in it. A document that has clear anti-Semitic elements and multiple historical inaccuracies is thus being used by the world’s largest Lutheran church as a way to present the Israel-Palestine conflict.
The tutorial on the Church of Sweden website opens with this:
“Do you find it difficult to understand the conflict in Israel / Palestine? Do you want to know more and be able to influence? Do you believe that the Bible can be an instrument in it? The Church of Sweden wants to stimulate discussion about the conflict and about a document written on this subject: The Kairos Palestine Document (KPD).”
One can be critical of Israel, but what the Church of Sweden does is to spread a wildly inaccurate and racist document to their 6.2 million members.
Anti-Semitism has thereby literally become institutionalized in Sweden. The country’s largest religious institution is helping and encouraging people to study a rawly anti-Semitic, racist document that should be laughed out of town.
It is ironic that the Church of Sweden, which has as its savior a Jewish man from Nazareth, is spreading an anti-Semitic document. It is also important to understand that this is happening in a Europe where anti-Semitism is worsening day by day.
The Church of Sweden is spreading the Kairos Palestine document in a Europe where terrorists have already attacked Jews, synagogues and even Christians. This is happening in a Europe from which Jews already are fleeing.
A church that genuinely believes in love and understanding would long ago have renounced this document, which has been pointed out as racist by serious organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League.
Through its actions, the Church of Sweden is normalizing anti-Semitism in Sweden and Europe. As a church in which the majority of Swedes are members, the Church of Sweden has the power to carry out such normalization. Attacks against Jews in Sweden have partly originated through such normalization. When the Church of Jesus Christ in Sweden supports an anti-Semitic document, Jews in Sweden become fair game.