US Presbyterian Church declares "Israel" an apartheid regime
The church has reinstated the role of Christianity in standing against apartheid and oppression.
The US Presbyterian Church voted to declare "Israel" an apartheid regime and to establish a Remembrance Day for the Nakba of 1948, which the resolution described as the "expulsion by terrorism and force of 750,000 Palestinians, both Christian and Muslim."
"Israel’s laws, policies and practices regarding the Palestinian people fulfill the international legal definition of apartheid," read the resolution.
The church also passed two other resolutions highly critical of "Israel" at the American religious body's 225th General Assembly.
See more: Palestine.. 74 years after the Nakba
The church's International Engagement committee voted, with a majority, in recognition of "Israel’s laws, policies and practices regarding the Palestinian people fulfill the international legal definition of apartheid," asserting that Palestinians, through racial domination and inhumane acts, were systemically oppressed by Israelis.
According to the resolution, the church acknowledges that Palestinian land and water were stolen by "Jewish-only settlements," and that Palestinians were denied freedom of residence and movement, residing in "separate reserves and ghettos."
May 15, as per the document, has been designated as the 'Palestinian Nakba Remembrance Day,' and it has become an official part of the Presbyterian Planning Calendar, two months after Democrat congresswoman Rashida Tlaib presented a draft recognizing the Nakba.
The church went deeper into matters, addressing the Arabs who live in the 1948 lands, declaring that non-Jewish Arabs living in Palestinians are treated with "inferior status" and that Palestinians are unable to participate in the "political, social, economic and cultural life of their country."
A comparison was drawn between what is happening in occupied Palestine and what was before in apartheid South Africa: "This overture is pursued with the hope it will lead to a peaceful reconciliation for the people of Israel and Palestine similar to that which occurred in South Africa when apartheid was internationally acknowledged."
The role of Christianity in fighting colonialism was also brought up - a refreshing antidote to the way the religion was exploited to justify the existence of "Israel."
"Christians spoke out in the 1950s against segregation in the United States and later against apartheid in South Africa. They must again raise their voices and condemn Israel’s discrimination against Palestinians and give a name to the crime against humanity that this discrimination represents, the crime of apartheid," it said.
Countering the tried-and-tested tactic that Zionists use to silence their critics, "anti-semitism", according to the resolution, should not be prescribed to those who criticize "Israel", as it is not a condemnation of Judaism.
Many Christians are reluctant to criticize "Israel" because of the Holocaust and being slammed as anti-semitic.
"After World War II when the horror of the Nazi Holocaust was revealed, Jews around the world said 'never again,'" read the resolution. "Christians too vowed that never again would they be silent if a government passed laws establishing and maintaining the domination by one ethnic group over another ethnic group through systematic separation, oppression and denial of basic human rights. Silence in the face of evil was wrong then, and it is wrong now."
Antisemitism, according to the resolution, "encompasses people from other groups, in addition to our Jewish siblings," and it should be replaced with "Anti-jewish" instead.
In January, Herbert Nelson II, the States Clerk Reverand and doctor, described Israelis' treatment of Palestinians as "enslavement."
The church also called for freedom of worship in Al-Quds, or occupied Jerusalem, criticizing the deliberate Judaization of the holy city.
"The face of Jerusalem has been changing rapidly in the direction of a heightened Zionist-Jewish identity, with intensified restrictions on the movement, residency and human rights of Muslim and Christian Palestinians," read the statement. "The State of Israel’s policies steadily increase inter-religious tension with their disregard for the historic claims and freedom of worship of Muslims and Christians."
The resolution rejected Trump's decision in 2020 to relocate the US embassy from "Tel Aviv" to Al-Quds, rejecting "the doctrines of Christian Zionism that tend toward idolatry and heresy."