In the U.S.-funded and sponsored project to dispossess the indigenous Palestinians, we are witnessing an overt and bald expression of white supremacy, racism, Anglo-European imperialism, settler colonialism, apartheid, genocide, and xenophobia. Zionism has historically played and continues to play a key role in the crimes committed against the Palestinian people by Israel and its supporters in the West. Expressing itself potently in Christianity from the time of the Reformation to the present day, and more recently in Judaism, Zionism has propelled and served to legitimate the actions of our government and other Western powers to support Israel’s project of colonialism and ethnic cleansing.

 Both forms of Zionism betray the values of love, compassion and equality that are fundamental to their respective faiths. It can be said that with respect to the support for Israel’s project of dispossession and colonialism, Zionism has hijacked both faiths. We applaud and honor the voices from the grassroots of both faith communities crying out in pain in opposition to the active and passive complicity of their religious institutions with apartheid and settler colonialism in our time. And we decry the silence of institutional Christianity and Judaism at the highest levels in the face of the crimes taking place in full sight of the world.

 The United States government has invested over $150 billion in foreign aid to Israel since 1948. Israel has used that money to arm its military, depopulate indigenous Palestinians, subsidize, and defend settler colonies, and fund state-sponsored assaults against Palestinians in Jerusalem, the Israeli occupied West Bank, and Gaza. Nearly 30,000 Palestinians, most of them defenseless women and children, have been killed by Israeli assaults in Gaza since October 7, 2023. Countless other persons are buried under the rubble of demolished churches, mosques, residential dwellings, hospitals, schools, and other structures because of Israeli attacks against Gaza. Meanwhile, the United States has voted on three occasions in the UN Security Council to veto resolutions calling for an immediate bilateral ceasefire and provision of humanitarian aid to besieged and defenseless Palestinians.

We are liberation theologians in the religion of Jesus, activists for peace and justice, and faith leaders to people who have deep painful knowledge about the ways the “Hateful Faithful” hijack the gospel of Jesus and fraudulently use Christian identity to disguise white supremacy, Anglo-European paternalism, bigotry, discrimination, militarized authoritarianism, greed, and lust for empire. Separately and together, we have written and spoken publicly on numerous occasions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We do so again now, as the world is aghast about the ongoing genocide in Gaza. 

We call on prophetic people to take the following positions. 

1.    Deplore, denounce, and condemn United States diplomatic, economic, military, and other support to and funding for the apartheid State of Israel from its inception.

2.    Call for the immediate end to all U.S. governmental aid to Israel.

3.    Demand that the United States support a resolution in the United Nations Security Council calling for an immediate bilateral unconditional ceasefire by all parties to the ongoing Israeli war against Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem, and for the safe unconditional release and return of all hostages held by Hamas and Israel.

4.    Demand that funding be immediately restored to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) for humanitarian assistance and welfare relief for displaced Palestinians refugees from Gaza, the Israeli-occupied West Bank, and East Jerusalem.

5.    Demand that the United States withdraw its opposition to the Petition of the Republic of South Africa which accuses the State of Israel with genocide against the Palestinian population of Gaza.

6.    Demand that the United States formally recognize Palestine as an independent State, and support the admission of Palestine as a free and independent sovereign state before the United Nations.

7.    Conditioned on acceptance by and cooperation from indigenous leaders from the State of Palestine, and as reparations for almost a century of Zionist-inspired and U.S. funded and outfitted white supremacist violence against Palestinians and other persons of African descent in Palestine and Gaza, we should demand that the United Nations establish and administer a temporary diplomatic, security, economic, and cultural presence in Palestine tasked with the following mission:

(i)             to support the right of Palestinians to sovereignty, security, restoration, return to their homes, villages, and neighborhoods;

(ii)            to coordinate the safe release, recovery, and return of all persons who are detained or otherwise held hostage by Hamas and the Israeli regime; and

(iii)          to cooperate in demanding, procuring, and distributing reparations to the free and independent State of Palestine in an amount equal to the monetary value of all funding, weapons, munitions, other materiel support, and diplomatic support provided to Israel by the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and other Nations during its almost 76-year scheme of settler colonialism, white supremacy, Christian and Jewish Zionism, mass murder, and land and mineral theft from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

8.    Demand that the Israeli regime immediately thereafter withdraw all civilian, military, and intelligence security personnel and forces from East Jerusalem, the occupied West Bank, and Gaza, and that the United Nations supply a security force, with the advice and consent of the State of Palestine, to ensure the security of Palestine and protect Palestinians from settler and other Israeli-U.S. sponsored and subsidized violence.

9.    Demand that the United States and Israel be prosecuted in the International Court of Justice for mass murder, starvation, land theft, depopulation, genocide, atrocities, unlawful detainment, and other war crimes committed against Palestinians in Gaza, the Occupied West Bank Territories, and East Jerusalem. 

U.S. President Joe Biden should remember that another U.S. president who worshipped the gods of bloodlust, imperialism, domination, and subjugation of indigenous people, suffered damage to his legacy. Despite his success in securing passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, by 1968, public disgust surrounding U.S. atrocities and warfare in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, forced Lyndon Johnson to abandon efforts for reelection, and ended his political career. 

Similarly, people who care about love, justice, and peace are disgusted by U.S. complicity in Israeli oppression against Palestinians. As Allan has written: The wrongs we see are not just happening; they are caused to happen, and they are happening to… God’s children who are vulnerable, targeted, and excluded from human consideration. They are not happening randomly, they are deeply systemic, deliberately built into systems of oppression, domination, and dehumanization. And we must not be afraid to say it. [Allan Aubrey Boesak, Pharaohs on Both Sides of the Blood-Red Waters, (Cascade Books, 2017), page 81, italics added]  

Assertions that the divine imperatives of love, justice, hospitality, generosity, and peace are being followed by people who condone racist bigotry, white supremacy, settler colonialism, land and mineral theft, depopulation, genocide, apartheid, and mistreatment of vulnerable persons are worse than specious. Those claims amount to moral and ethical nonsense. 

Thus, we refuse to conceal our disgust about the hateful faith responsible for the orgy of Israeli violence that is killing, poisoning, starving, scarring, and destroying Palestinians. 

We are disgusted by the Biden administration’s complicity in starvation, mass murders, collective punishment, destruction of housing, and calculated assaults on life support and infrastructure systems in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem. 

Our disgust grows minute by minute as we and the rest of the world view live footage of starving, dismembered, unhoused, sickened, and grief-torn Palestinian men, women, and children. 

We will not betray the gospel of Jesus and become counselors to, and cheerleaders for, the U.S. and Israeli enterprise that is murdering, maiming, looting, poisoning, tormenting, and terrorizing our siblings in the family of God in Gaza, the occupied West Bank, and East Jerusalem. 

The time for pious words is over. 

Allan Aubrey Boesak, Cape Town, South Africa

Wendell L. Griffen, Little Rock, Arkansas

February 27, 2024 

Allan Aubrey Boesak is a South African Black liberation theologian, global human rights activist, professor emeritus of Black Liberation Ethics at the University of Pretoria, and the Founder and Chair of the Sankofa Institute for Pan African Leadership and Prophetic Ministry. He is the award-winning author of more than twenty books, including Selfless Revolutionaries: Biko, Black Consciousness, Black Theology, and a Global Ethic of Solidarity and Resistance. 

Wendell Griffen is Pastor of New Millennium Church of Little Rock, Arkansas, Founder and CEO of Griffen Strategic Consulting, PLLC, a retired Arkansas jurist with a quarter century of experience as a state court appellate and trial judge, co-chair of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, author of The Fierce Urgency of Prophetic Hope, and a frequent commentator about faith, public policy, law, and social justice. 

Boesak and Griffen are also co-authors of Parables, Politics, and Prophetic Faith (Nurturing Faith; 2023).


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