Leadership of African Independent Churches lends support to BDS boycott of Israel and Palestinian struggle
11 July 2017
Click here for a statement by Bishop Dr. Thami Ngcana of the Council of African Independent Churches (CAIC).
The leadership of CAIC among other South African churches and Christian leaders, including Bishop Ngcana, recently returned from a solidarity trip to Palestine. On his return Bishop Ngcana explained that: “The church leadership found Israeli abuses of Palestinian human rights to be appalling. Israel has mastered well from the South African apartheid regime and actually surpassed its architect, Hendrik Verword, through its design and application!”
Bishop Dr. Thami Ngcana, who is the Deputy Secretary General of CAIC, has also urged support for the BDS boycott of Israel saying: “Every effort including BDS boycott of Israel programs should and must be pursued to dismantle this Israeli Apartheid!”
CAIC, established in 1982 and a member of the World Council of Churches, represents over a million South African Christians mostly from African Indigenous Apostolic, Zion, Pentecostal and charismatic churches. Its member churches include Presbyterian Bafodisi, St. Eli Apostolic Mission, African Pentecostal, The Christian Apostolic Heaven Church In Zion, Holy Spirit Apostolic, among others.
Israel’s regime of occupation and Apartheid has been particularly difficult for Christian Palestinians who have had their churches and holy sites firebombed by Israelis, their freedom of movement restricted and access to Holy sites obstructed by Israel. Just one such example is Israel’s illegal 8 meter high Apartheid Wall that looms over the Holy Town of Bethlehem in Palestine, the birth place of Christ (click here for video on Bethlehem).
Palestinian Christians insist that they, together with Palestinian Muslims, Palestinian Jews and all other Palestinians, share the same suffering under Israel’s regime of Apartheid. Their crime, in the eyes of the Israeli regime, is that they are Palestinian. Palestinian Archbishop Theodosios Atallah Hanna explains that: “Israel desires to conceal the Christian dimension of the Palestinian issue. Israel attempts to present this conflict as a Jewish-Muslim religious conflict, and it also attempts to neutralize the Christian position, and therefore it is irritated by the growing Christian voices raised on the Palestinian issue.”
But there is hope, last year the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA), with over 1000 local churches, became one of the most recent Churches to adopt the BDS boycott of Israel as practical solidarity and support for Palestinians living under Israeli Apartheid. The UCCSA, when adopting this resolution in support of the Palestinian struggle drew attention to the difference between “Biblical Israel” and the “Modern State of Israel” as well as between Israelites (of the Bible) and Israelis (of the modern Apartheid State of Israel created in 1948).
Other churches to have also taken similar BDS boycott of Israel positions in recent time include the United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church, several Quaker bodies, the Mennonite Church (USA) and the Peace United Church of Christ in Santa Cruz.
For more information or interviews contact Bishop Dr. Thami Ngcana on +27 (0) 724358974
Click here for the statement titled “Apartheid in the Holy Land” by Bishop Dr. Thami Ngcana of the Council of African Independent Churches (CAIC).
ISSUED BY KWARA KEKANA ON BEHALF OF BDS SOUTH AFRICA