A Black Church Call to End Israeli Apartheid

Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) and Black4Palestine (B4P) have partnered to initiate a Black church outreach project that seeks to raise awareness in Black congregations about Palestinian freedom and justice. Read more about the Journeys Toward Justice curriculum here. We invite Black Clergy, Black Christians, as well as members of the Black community and anyone who supports this statement to sign on in support of a Black church call to end Israeli apartheid and to uplift Palestinian demands for justice.

The moral and political crisis that is the Israeli occupation of Palestine is becoming bloodier and more brutal by the day. Since the beginning of the Great March of Return in March 2018,  the Israeli defense forces have killed over 310 Palestinians who are protesting the blockade of the Gaza Strip and demanding their right to return to the land from which they were displaced at the founding of Israel. This period has marked the deadliest days since the 2014 bombing of Gaza.

The violence of the ongoing Nakba and subsequent Israeli occupation have not let up. Palestinians daily resist extrajudicial executions, mass imprisonment, land confiscations, house demolitions, restrictions of movement, lack of access to water, and the fallacious notion that their lives are less valuable than others. This could not happen without the support of the United States government, which funds Israel to the tune of over $10 million a day all while subjecting black, brown, and poor communities to run-down housing, lack of quality health care, a school-to-prison pipeline, and the highest rate of inequality of any developed nation. 

The best of the Black Church emerges from a legacy of fighting oppression and speaking truth to power. This prophetic tradition calls us as Black Christians to support the rights, security, and basic human dignity of Palestinian communities. Scripture tells us to “do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God.” Today this means joining the movement for justice in Palestine, a struggle so intimately connected to the Black experience in the United States. 

Black people around the world have built solidarity with the Palestinian people. As Robin Kelley insists, this solidarity is not based on a common experience of oppression, but from a collective commitment to building a world free from oppression. We have seen Black leaders—Angela Davis, Marc Lamont Hill, Michelle Alexander, Rep. Ilhan Omar, and others—come under attack for speaking up for Palestine. But Black freedom fighters throughout history have reminded us that it is not hate, but a love for justice, that animates Black resistance. 

The time is now for Black churches, clergy, faith leaders, and laypeople to cast aside the politics of Christian Zionism and link arms with our Palestinian neighbors and their allies in the global movement for freedom and justice. As followers of a sun-baked Palestinian Jew who the Roman empire hung on a tree for challenging oppression, it is our spiritual obligation to fight for “the least of these.” This is not merely a matter of politics. It is what many of us learn in Sunday school: that all of God’s children are precious. 

We can no longer be silent amid one of the most pressing moral issues of our time. Silence in the face of injustice is sin.

Let’s get free,

We invite Black Clergy, Black Christians, as well as members of the Black community and anyone who supports this statement to sign on.

Read the full list of signatures and endorsements by clicking here.

 

555 signatures

Will you sign?

Zionism can be understood as the political movement of Jews and others to establish and maintain a Jewish homeland, what is today known as the State of Israel. Christian Zionism, in particular, can be understood as a form of Zionism that uses Christian theology to support such a political project. It is a political and religious ideology based on the belief that Jewish return to a homeland fulfills Biblical prophecy by furthering the Second Coming of Jesus. It is important to note Christian Zionism's inherent antisemitism as it manipulates Jewish identity for its own political agenda and reduces both Jews and Muslims to pawns to further the notion that Israel is the solution for Christianity.

Modern Israel is not the Israel of the Old Testament, wherein Israelites freed themselves from Egyptian bondage. On the contrary: the modern State of Israel resembles the biblical Egypt: a nation built on the oppression of the most vulnerable. In this sense, Christian Zionism uses the Christian faith to support a political project eager to ensure an ethnically homogenous Jewish state. This comes at the expense of those whom the State of Israel seeks to ethnically cleanse: Palestinians. Critique of  Christian Zionism should not be read as criticism of or hostility towards any ethnic people-group. Instead, critical discourse about Christian Zionism is as an invitation to interrogate political projects that co-opt Christianity with the ultimate goal of upholding our faith’s ethical commitments to justice, humility, and love.

connect