Our Global Kairos Community
Mark Braverman
Mark Braverman
Kairos USA

Last month I attended the first ever Christ at the Checkpoint USA Conference, in Oklahoma City. Bethlehem Bible College has been organizing these conferences every two years since 2010 in Bethlehem. The focus of the organizers has been to reach out in particular to American evangelicals. This time, the Palestinians came to us, inviting participants to enter deeply into the issues of Bible and theology that are raised when long-held beliefs and notions about the Jewish people and the land confront the reality of the Holy Land today.
In the next newsletter look for links to videos of the panels, lectures and Bible studies that were offered. To whet your appetites, read Kairos USA founding member Tom Getman’s incisive “ When and How Did Evangelicals become Zionists?” presented at the Washington Report and Institute for Research conference in Washington DC this past March.

This week I am in Bethlehem for the Global Kairos for Justice gathering that has been held every year on the anniversary of the Palestine Kairos Document.  Following the conference, I will join with leaders of the global Kairos network from every continent for an intensive two-day meeting, to consider challenges and map strategy for the global kairos community. 

Our global community of solidarity with the Palestinian struggle becomes more and more crucial a s the political situation worsens and increasingly polarizes. As in every newsletter, this month we bring you news from our global partners. Our colleagues in South Africa have just had a significant success in the area of academic boycott. And in exciting news, Kairos Ireland (not “North” or “South,” simply “Ireland!”) joins the global network. Read the powerful statement in the story below. If you are not already familiar with the Palestine Israel Network of the Mennonite Church USA, read below about this active, creative group and subscribe to their excellent monthly update.

 Palestine Portal  is a project of  Kairos USA.  As part of our mission, will continue to showcase the work of local and denominational groups here in the U.S.A. and the work of our partners across the world. We welcome your  questions and feedback  about how it can assist you in your work. Make sure that your organization is listed in  Mapping the Movement .   Subscribe  to this newsletter if you have not already done so, and forward it on!
South African Conference says no to Israeli Academics
Kairos South Africa joined ten other South African organizations calling on organizers to disinvite seven Israeli academics who were to speak at a conference at Stellenbosch University entitled “Recognition, Reparation, Reconciliation: The Light and Shadow of Historical Trauma.” 

Citing the nation­state law, incremental genocide in Gaza, and the reality of Israeli apartheid, activists enjoined the conference organizers to honor the South African history of struggle against apartheid by "acting in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle against Israeli apartheid and its occupation of Palestine, honoring the integrity and importance of the conference theme, and supporting the rationale of the call for the academic and cultural boycott." Read the full statement.

Academic boycott remains controv ersial, and objections were raised by several of the disinvited Israelis, as reported in this article from Ha’aretz .  Quoted in The Citizen, a South Africa news daily, Dr. Stiaan van der Merwe of Kairos South Africa said, “It gives us no pleasure in making this call. Sad as it might be towards the individuals as colleagues and as fellow human beings, we cannot avoid this difficult moment in calling for a strong message of solidarity with Palestinians and with resistance to Israeli apartheid and against the historic trauma currently perpetuated.”
Welcome Kairos Ireland!
“That Justice and Peace Might Embrace" is the founding statement by Kairos Ireland, an all-Ireland ecumenical group. The document calls on Irish churches and individuals to "listen to the message of Palestinian Christians in the Kairos Palestine call; to lobby the UK and Irish governments to uphold international law; to follow the lead of some American Churches in divesting from investments in the illegally occupied Territories; and to follow principles of ethical tourism when visiting the region."

"This initiative comes at the right time." writes Rifat Kassis, the chairperson of Kairos Palestine. "All of us need to intensify our efforts to stop the bloodshed." The chairman of Kairos Ireland, Methodist minister John Parkin says, “Members of Kairos Ireland have seen the daily injustice of the occupation in Gaza and the West Bank. We long for an end to military domination. We support those people in Palestine and Israel who are working for a just peace often at great cost to themselves. A statement by Pope Benedict in 2007 sums it up: ‘..only an end to the occupation and a just peace with the Palestinians will offer security to Israel and release its people from the weight of anxiety that hangs on them.’” 

For further information visit Kairosireland.org.

Meet the Palestine-Israel Network of the Mennonite Church USA

Mennonites have been building relationships in Palestine-Israel for over 60 years, working alongside Palestinians and Israelis for peace with justice. Over the years The Mennonite Central Committee developed bonds of friendship with Palestinian churches, joining them in their ministry, including partnerships with the Latin Patriarchate School in Zebabdeh and the Bethlehem Bible College.
The MCC's Christian Peacemaker Teams  (CPT) has had a presence in Hebron in the Occupied West Bank, since 1994. This presence has included school patrols that accompany children, monitoring settler violence and soldier home invasions, and working against home demolitions. CPT supports Palestinian-led nonviolent resistance to Israel’s military occupation and educates people in North America.
In 2013, the  Mennonite Palestine Israel Network (MennoPIN) was formed to support advocacy and action, develop and promote educational resources, and join with people of faith and conscience around the world. MennoPIN has given particular attention to the Kairos Palestine call, producing a  study guide   for Mennonite congregations, and creating space for advocacy and action on issue of B oycott, Divestment, and Sanctions   within Mennonite Church USA.

Kairos Palestine Christmas Alert
Kairos Palestine has just issued its  Christmas Alert 2018. This year the Christmas Alert sheds light on the importance of restoring a new hope for Palestine, the Middle East and the world. Don't miss the resources and reflections for each Sunday of Advent, offered to inspire individuals and congregations to help make hope a reality in the lives of Palestinians and to the struggles for equality and dignity across the world. This is a unique, inspiring resource of writing, analysis, and reflection from a wide array of Palestinian clergy, theologians, and faith-based activists.

Those who celebrate Christmas,” writes Patriarch Sabbah, “know that God is love, not a god of armies and wars, nor a god who orders one people to oppress another, or a god that strips one people of their land and gives it to another people. Jesus walks today among the crowds of refugees; he walks with them and for them, teaching, healing, granting life, and directing the attention of the strong to stop killing and displacing people."