PRESS STATEMENT: Anglican Church in Southern Africa adopts BDS boycott of Israel

29 September 2019

The South African human rights and Palestine solidarity NGO, BDS South Africa, welcomes the decision by the over 4.5 million strong Southern African provincial synod of the Anglican Church (ACSA) that has adopted the BDS boycott of Israel. ACSA represents Anglican Christian communities in southern African countries including South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique and Angola.

In a motion, now a binding resolution, titled “Time to act: Solidarity with Palestine” the church specifcally calls for support of the “well-directed Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) actions against the Israeli state until they end their occupation of Palestine”.  Click here for the full resolution.

The resolution, proposed by Bishop Luke Pato of Namibia, also dispels the confusion between the Modern Apartheid State of Israel (created in 1948 at the expense of the indigenous Palestinians) with the Biblical Land of Israel that one reads about in the bible: “the situation in the Holy Land demands the attention of the Christian church precisely because that is the place where Jesus the Christ was born, nurtured, crucified and raised..the current political nation state of Israel and Israel in the Bible should not be confused with each other…”

BDS South Africa thanks the Southern African Synod of the Anglican Church for including BDS SA board member, Dudu Masango-Mahlangu, in their recent meeting. Masango-Mahlangu has consistently been working with Churches within Southern Africa on the issue of Palestine-Israel. We also thank the congregants and leadership of the historic Regina Mundi Church in Soweto for hosting our director, Muhammed Desai, at last week Sunday’s service.


Palestinian Christians, descendants of the first followers of Christ, insist that they, together with all Palestinians, share the same suffering under Israel’s regime of Apartheid. Palestinian Archbishop Theodosios Atallah Hanna explains that: “Israel desires to conceal the Christian dimension of the Palestinian issue […] 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.”

Churches across the world are increasingly holding Israel accountable for its violations of international law. Churches that have adopted a BDS boycott of Israel or similar measures in recent years include the over 500 000 member United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA), the Mennonite Church of the USA, the Presbyterian Church of the US, the United Methodist Church, the United Church of Christ, Quakers, Unitarian Universalists, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the over 1 million member Council of African Independent Churches (CAIC) and the General Council of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC), representing over 80 million Christians.

In March this year American and South African Christian leaders, representing churches with over 50 million members, issued a joint statement urging for the option of “economic pressure” against Israel as a non-violent measure to hold Israel accountable for its violations of International Law.


For comment:
Tisetso Magama: +27 (0) 61 414 6348