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Monday, April 26, 2010

Free Gaza Sailing in Three Weeks "Cements Their Support" (video)

One Man's Personal Nakba

Reposted from Desert Peace

We constantly hear of the Nakba and what it means to the people of Palestine. The following will bring it closer to home as we describe the impact it has had on just one family…. the Sabbah family.

Haitham Sabbah is a fellow blogger, one that I proudly refer to as my brother. He is a Palestinian but is not allowed to live here….. he’s not even allowed to visit. I have to chuckle to myself every time I think of Haitham, in Hebrew his family name means Grandfather. Although he is 25 years younger than myself I think of him as the Grandfather of the Palestinian Blogesphere as he is the one with the most wisdom and personal experiences in the struggle. He is always there to offer his advice and guidance, without which our message would never reach the number of people it does on a daily basis. We are all eternally grateful to him for his dedication to the cause.

The following, from his own Blog is a bit about himself….

Haitham Sabbah is a Palestinian activist and blogger. He was born in exile in Kuwait on 2nd April 1969. The last time he was allowed to visit his homeland, Occupied Palestine was in 1986. He has never been allowed entry to his homeland since then. He has lived in many countries throughout the Arab world including Jordan, UAE and currently resides in Bahrain. He graduated in 1990 from Birla Institute of Technology – India with a degree in Engineering, Electronics and Communication.

He is now employed in the capacity of senior manager at Zain Bahrain – part of a leading global telecommunication company – and is a professional blogger during his personal time.

Haitham is one of the founders of the blogosphere in the Middle East and he continues to be one of the most famous bloggers there, as well as having a very large global readership. He is a well known online activist and his writing focuses on Israel’s occupation of Palestine, War, Human Rights, Culture and Religious issues in the Middle East. He integrates into the sites and blogs he manages the innovations the medium allows as well as maintaining its essential character as a space of exchange of information and community.

He has participated in several conferences and workshops related to blogging and activism in the Middle East and his blog has received several awards over its years of existence (2000 – present). He has also participated in many blogging and Web 2.0 projects, some of which are well known references today, such as Palestine Blogs Aggregator, and Global Voices Online. He is also a co-founder of Palestine Think Tank, which, like all of his sites, is primarily in English, but also includes material in Arabic.

Why do I blog?

The main reason behind my blogging is to unleash the truth hidden by the main stream media about the Middle East and how it is presented to the world online, TV and newspaper. I find the international media in general to be biased and censored and does not reflect the truth about Arab nation culture, religion and politics. Another reason (which is related to the first) is the weak media of the Arab world, direct towards non-Arab and non-Muslims.

I blog because I want to correct the wrong perception about my nation and to present the facts which are hidden (by design) from being presented to West, specially when it comes to Israeli occupation of Palestine and the truth about what is terrorism and what is resistance.

‘Born in exile’….. can you even imagine what that means? ‘Not being allowed to visit your Homeland’ ….. can you imagine what that means? And WHY? Did he commit a crime?? Did his parents??? NO! His (their) ‘crime’ is the fact that they are Palestinian. They were among the first victims of the ongoing ethnic cleansing of the state of Israel.

BUT…. it doesn’t end with Haitham. Last week a close relative of his was the first Palestinian that was deported from the West Bank to Gaza under the new military order. A young man from the same town, guilty of the same crime, HE IS A PALESTINIAN. You can read about this by clicking HERE.

AND …. it won’t end with Ahmed unless YOU do something about it. Of all the ‘laws’ that have been passed by the zionist entity since 1948, this new military order is one of the most unjust. It not only legalises ethnic cleansing, it officially puts Israel on the road to fascism. This MUST NOT be tolerated by the rest of the world. We are talking about the lives of innocent people,NOT TERRORISTS. We are talking about people with families, with children, with livelihoods. We are talking about ordinary people living in daily terror. THIS MUST END NOW … and only YOU can end it…. Israel won’t do it on its own.

Don’t wait until they come for you….. PROTEST NOW… write to every Israeli Embassy throughout the worldDEMANDING Freedom for the Palestinian people and an end to the unjust military order. Details of the order can be read HERE.

Contact information for Israeli Missions abroad can be found HERE.


Letters demanding the revocation of the amended order should be sent to:

Ehud Barak, Minister of Defence, Ministry of Defence
37 Kaplan Street, Hakirya, Tel Aviv 61909, Israel
Fax: +972 3 691 6940
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Salutation: Dear Minister

Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs: +972-2-530-3111

The Israeli Ambassador in your own country

Your own national embassy in Israel

Saturday, April 24, 2010

"The Children of Gaza" (Video)

A moving, must-see video that first aired on Channel 4 (UK)’s Dispatches on 15 March. BAFTA-winning filmmaker Jezza Neumann follows the lives of three children for over a year. The children are amazing: well-spoken, reflective, resilient, understandably vengeful and fearful, but very endearing. The toll this inhumanity has taken is also clear

Friday, April 16, 2010

UC Berkley Divest Video

Kabobfest has put together 30 pages of letters written by Jewish supporters of divestment.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

South Florida Copycat Locksmith David Merkatz STILL in Business

As a blogger I have been following the locksmith scam for a little over two years now.

I've been keeping up as possible, reading and posting comments elsewhere, but today I stumbled across something that is just beyond the pale.

It involves what has occurred to a legitimate locksmith in Coral Springs, Florida in 2008. The legitimate locksmith is Richard's Locksmith and Safe.

The SCAM locksmith who also advertised as Richard's Locksmiths, is David Merkatz, or David Katz. He is STILL operating as a locksmith in South Florida.

First, let's look back on David Merkatz/Katz history.

In 1982, Merkatz/Katz thought he could drum up business for his car window replacement business by shooting out the windows of more than a thousand cars. Yes this indeed is the same David Merkatz/Katz.

Follow up: Merkatz spent four months of weekends in Rykers

In 2000, Merkatz/Katz shot and killed a dog while walking with his wife. No charges were pressed against him at the time.

Although Merkatz had lost his license to carry a gun in Florida in 1988, he appealed that decision and won in 1990.


The state revoked the license again in December 2003 after Merkatz pleaded guilty in Broward Circuit Court to grand theft and criminal mischief, felonies.

A Fort Lauderdale police report says Merkatz glued the locks of a state Department of Transportation office seven times. Unaware of who was causing the damage, the DOT called Merkatz, a locksmith, to make the repairs, the report states.

HOWEVER, in Florida the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services issues gun licenses. If you google "David Merkatz" "Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service" you will come up with PCA's Released 4/27/05 4D04-352-David Merkatz v. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Licensing. Evidently the State of Florida reissued his gun license. Or so it appears. Great.

In 2002 he had a bit of a run in with law enforcement again when he was caught by a private investigator, "masked, wearing a long coat" injecting glue into a lock of a business.

I cannot find any follow up on the masked/long coat/glue case.

In November 2003 he was the driver of a "weaving car" which overturned on an offramp. He was sent to the hospital, one of his passengers died. (Scroll down to Fort Lauderdale)

Why was the car weaving?

Now, before you watch the below video of what occurred to the real Richard's Locksmith, let's investigate a little further. David Merkatz, according to the NBC report, is operating as Boca Security Services.

Let's go to Sunbiz and look up David Merkatz, chronologically.

Foreign Profit Corporation

Filing Information
Document NumberF05000004666
Date Filed08/11/2005
Event Date Filed08/22/2005
Event Effective DateNONE

Principal Address
5379 LYONS ROAD #124
Mailing Address
P.O. BOX 970020
Changed 08/22/2005
Registered Agent Name & Address

Registered Agent Revoked: 08/22/2005
Officer/Director Detail
Name & Address
Title PST
5379 LYONS ROAD #124
Annual Reports

That company, A Abbey Locksmith is no longer active. Go to Sunbiz to see if the name David Merkatz is listed currently as owning a business and you will not find him.

With a little looking, googling Boca Security Services you will come up with

Taking that address to "who is" and BINGO, here you have it, David Merkatz is now going by David Katz and he is STILL in business even after the REAL Richard's Locksmith, Jack caught Merkatz/Katz on tape who "came by Jack's shop and shot out his van windows (with the gun Florida gave him back his license to carry), cut his gas lines and put and bullet through Jack's shop window".

Updated: 3 hours ago
Abbey Locksmith, Inc.
David Katz
P.O. Box 970020
Coconut Creek, Fl 33097
Phone: +1.9549490776

Registrar Name....:
Registrar Whois...:
Registrar Homepage:

Domain Name:
Created on..............: 2006-04-08
Expires on..............: 2011-04-08

Administrative Contact:
Abbey Locksmith, Inc.
David Katz
P.O. Box 970020
Coconut Creek, Fl 33097
Phone: +1.9547463838

Ficticious business name

But the who is directory lists David Katz/Abbey Locksmith which is whereas David MERkatz was the owner of A Abbey Locksmith.

Coincidence? I don't think so.

Abbey Locksmith, Inc. David Katz P.O. Box 970020. Coconut Creek, Fl 33097.

A Abbey Locksmith, Coconut Creek Florida, owner David MERkatz.

David Merkatz is operating per the video as Boca Security Services.

David Merkatz is STILL doing business in South Florida and can come to any city in the area any time you make the MISTAKE of calling one of his MANY listed "locksmith" numbers.

Now for the video. Note, Merkatz/Katz has been charged but the case has still not come to trial.

Why is this man still operating in South Florida?

Do you know that currently Florida does not license locksmiths but that the Florida Locksmith Services Act is currently in committee?

Read this and see if you agree:

In the mean time, there are many other phony locksmiths operating out there . Beware.

A good tip is to plan ahead. Find a legitimate locksmith when there is no emergency. If possible, go to the actual address.Put the number in your phone book and cell phone. Should an emergency arise you already have the number of a legitimate locksmith in your area. Find one that operates 24 hours. That way, even if you aren't in
that area, you can call the legitimate locksmith and ask if they will refer you to a LEGITIMATE locksmith
where you need them.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. There are literally thousands of locksmith scams operating nation-wide. For more information you can do a Google search yourself using the term "locksmith scams".

MORE:  David Merkatz/Katz has another website as well, it is

Looking up the domain:

  Administrative Contact:
      Abbey Locksmith, Inc.
      David Katz
      P.O. Box 970020
      Coconut Creek, Fl 33097
      Phone: 1-954-7463838

David Merkatz/Katz/cashkatz also has a nice video for "Richard's Locksmith" to watch

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Israel Refuses the Term "Occuped Territories" at MU Water Conference

Arab-Israeli row thwarts Med water deal in Barcelona

A row about how to name the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories has scuppered a 43-nation scheme for managing Mediterranean water resources.

The Mediterranean Union conference in Barcelona had hammered out 99% of a draft text, delegates said.

But the deal failed when Israel and Arab countries disagreed over how to describe the Palestinian territories.

Israel objected to "occupied territories", while "territories under occupation" did not suit the Arab bloc.

Israel just thwarted the UN. What does the UN call this area? The Occupied Territories. In fact, they are referred to as the Palestinian Occupied Territories.

The United Nations has warned that almost 300 million people in the Mediterranean region will face water shortages by 2025.

Google Palestinian water to learn more.

The Mediterranean Union was launched by France during its EU presidency in 2008, to foster co-operation between European states, and countries in the Middle East and North Africa bordering the Mediterranean.

In Barcelona on Tuesday the Union's secretary-general, Ahmad Masadeh from Jordan, called for urgent action to guarantee access to water for all the region's residents.

Spain, the conference host, warned that the Mediterranean was prone to cyclical floods and droughts that required a "common strategy for a scarce resource".

Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, have lived under Israeli occupation since 1967. The settlements that Israel has built in the West Bank are home to around 400,000 people and are deemed to be illegal under international law, although Israel disputes this.

Building settlements in occupied territories is ILLEGAL per international law.

Israel evacuated its settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005 and withdrew its forces, but Israel and Egypt maintain an economic blockade on the Palestinians living there.

Not only do they maintain an economic blockade, but a naval blockade which prevents Palestinian fishermen from fishing more than three nautical miles out. All borders in and out of Gaza are also under full control, with Gazans unable to travel freely.

So YES, Israel's refusal to use the term "Occupied Territories" is in violation of UN terminology which is LEGALLY used.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Boycott Farmville

How many of you out there play the Facebook game Farmville?

Here's news. If you are a supporter of BDS (the Palestinian Global Call to boycott, divest and sanction Israel) you should boycott this game as well.

I got the info when I stumbled upon THIS article, "Farmville Could Cash in on Branded Crops"

Then, searching................

Next week, FarmVille players will have the ability to grow peanuts, thanks to ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi and an Israeli candy brand.

We’re told this is the first time a FarmVille crop has been directly linked to a brand. Saatchi Interactive in Tel Aviv is working on a rollout campaign for Elite Taami Nutz, a peanut-filled variant of a popular Israeli chocolate bar.

So what else is Saatchi and Saachi up to these days?

"When the word 'Israel' is said outside its borders, we want it to invoke not fighting or soldiers, but a place that is desirable to visit and invest in, a place that preserves democratic ideals while struggling to exist," said Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, during a September 2006 meeting with "public relations executives, branding specialists and diplomats" in Tel Aviv. Livni "recently put the image initiative on the government's agenda and will soon develop a budget for the program," according to the Israeli Consulate in New York's media and public affairs consul. "A staffer with the London-based global ad firm Saatchi and Saatchi is already working with the Israelis free of charge on the re-branding effort," the Washington Times reported.
Read more about "Brand Israel" HERE

Spread the word if you are a Farmville player and do NOT buy these "peanuts". This is the first brand advertising that Zynga's Farmville has chosen to align itself with. There are 82 million players worldwide. Farmville makes $$$$ off the players buying seeds and whatever else this game has you do. You stop playing and spread the word, it will send the message to Farmville.

UPDATE: The website has picked up this post. Written there:

So far, ad integration in Facebook games has been minimal, though we spotted a few sponsored items in Zoo World for the new Kirstie Alley TV show Big Life, and Bejeweled Blitz had a big ad/giveaway campaign with Mazda a few weeks ago as well. Holly Tree does make a compelling point -- if this peanuts promotion performs well for Zynga, we can probably expect to see a lot more of this type of advertising in our favorite Facebook games in the not-so-distant future., let me clarify something for you. I couldn't care less if Farmville or other games start incorporating ad sponsored products. They are a business at the end of the day in case players who are addicted to this game are unaware.

It is the PRODUCT and who is behind this, Saatchi and Saachi, which provides free advertising services for the aparthed state of Israel (Brand Israel) which are the reasons I am calling on players to boycott. Making moral choices when spending your money, non-violently resisting apartheid by boycotting products, and in this case, Farmville, which has chosen to associate itself with Israel in it's FIRST ad-sponsored seed product.

Read the comments HERE

While Farmville is an online game, read about the real lives of Palestinian farmers HERE, HERE,

Watch this BBC report on what Jewish settlers are doing to Palestinian farmers

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Canadian Zionists Attempt to Un-Nominate "The Shepherd's Granddaughter"

In Canada comes the outcry from Zionist groups to remove a book about a young Palestinian girl from nomination for the Red Maple Award. While this book, "The Shepherd's Granddaughter" won the prestigious Canadian Library Award last year as well as the Society of School Librarians International Best Book Award, B'nai B'rith and Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center have "concerns" that "has clear potential to incite hatred and violence against Jewish and Israeli students".

Who is the author of this novel for young readers? Anne Laurel Carter, who "left Canada at seventeen to work on kibbutzim in Israel, a Jean Vanier home in France, and California".

Here we go, an orchestrated attempt to not only remove this book from nomination for the Red Maple Award, but to ban it entirely from Canadian schools as a few are demanding. Ummm, but the author worked on kibbutzim in Israel. Hmmmm,,, censorship of the Palestinian narrative even when it comes from someone with this background, nope, just can't have that being read.

Read the article HERE.

Read Quill and Quire's blogpost HERE.


Controversial Mideast book stays in Toronto schools

Update, Monday, seems now there is going to be a formal school board review of the book which will take 60 days. Read

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Message: The South African Christian Response to the Kairos Declaration

EASTER MESSAGE: A South African Christian response to the Palestinian Kairos Document April 3, 2010


World Council of Churches - 1 April 2010

In an Easter message, more than 60 South African church leaders and Christian, Jewish and Muslim lay theologians have conveyed their solidarity with Palestinian Christians in their Kairos call.

Recognizing Palestinian Christian “history of keeping the faith in the Holy Land”, despite the circumstances, they urged Palestinians to be steadfast and resist being “forced out of your own land”.

Responding to the Kairos Palestine document, they recall the words of Nelson Mandela who said: “our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians”. Conveying South African solidarity “with your cause”, they express conviction that “justice will come to the Holy Land, as it came to us here in the southernmost part of Africa”.

The Kairos Palestine document was launched in December 2009 in Bethlehem and reflects the Palestinian Christian’s word to the world about what is happening in Palestine.

Drawing on their own experiences, they define apartheid as “the denial of the humanity of one human being by another or the idea that there is a superior and an inferior human being”. Yet, they observe, the practical manifestations of Israeli apartheid are in many ways worse than South African apartheid ever was.

Endorsing the Kairos Palestine view that the occupation is a sin and evil, they strike a note of hope that “Jesus must be weeping at the injustice that he sees in Jerusalem and we are convinced that God is already intervening and will continue to intervene to establish his justice in the Holy Land”.

Rejecting Christian Zionism and Christian theologies that justify the Occupation as illegitimate’ and heretical, they commend the Kairos Palestine initiators for longing that those responsible for the occupation regain their God-given humanity.

Pledging to develop solidarity, they endorse non-violent resistance through the Kairos Palestine call for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement “as a way to put maximum non-violent pressure on Israel to lift the boot of oppression from the neck of the Palestinians”.

Listing what “we can learn from you”, they ask Palestinians to be prepared to consider what process of healing would be needed in the Holy Land once a political solution has been reached. Celebrating this year the 25th anniversary of the South African Kairos Document, they invite Palestinians to share their journey.

Among the signatories of the message are the Archbishop Dr Thabo Cecil Makgoba, Metropolitan of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa; Bishop Dr N.P. Phaswana from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa; Professor Tinyiko S. Maluleke, South African Council of Churches (SACC) president and executive director of research at the University of South Africa; and SACC general secretary Edwin Makue.

The South African response to Kairos Palestine is one among others that can be found on the Kairos Palestine website ( It is significant because of the near-parallel experiences described by the South African theologians.

From South Africa to Palestine, a message of peace and hope

Our dear Palestinian brothers and sisters,

May grace and peace be yours in abundance through knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord (2 Peter 1:2).

Thank you for the document written by you, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the descendants of Jesus Christ and whose ancestors were the first to receive his message. Yours is a proud history of keeping the faith in the Holy Land, and we salute you for doing that despite the most difficult situation into which you have been placed. From our perspective, we can see how you are being pressurized and forced out of your own land, and we urge you to continue to resist that with love, and to continue to show what our Lord Jesus Christ taught us. We are with you in our prayers and other forms of support, and wish to strengthen this support to you. We admire all that you are and that you do. Justice will come to the Holy Land, as it came to us here in the southernmost part of Africa.

We wish now formally to respond to your Kairos Document, so beautifully written and so full of grace, in the form of this letter, signed by South African Christian theologians, both academic and lay. Our Muslim and Jewish sisters and brothers have decided to write separate responses to your Kairos document so as to free us all to speak in words and idioms that we hold dear, and we support each other in our responses. Some have however indicated that they wish to support this letter as well and their names are attached. We will submit this letter – together with your Kairos document – to our churches and other structures and will call on them to discuss it, to endorse it and to act upon it. We can learn many valuable lessons from your Kairos Document and it now comes as a breath of fresh air to us, 25 years after we launched the Kairos Document in South Africa. Where we serve on international church bodies and theological associations, we will also ensure that this important document coming from you will receive the necessary and appropriate attention. Our first President, Nelson Mandela, called Palestine “one of the great moral causes of our time” and also said that “our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians”. We therefore wish to stand in solidarity with your cause.

As we write this message, we are mourning the death of Steve de Gruchy, a signatory of the South African Kairos Document, who has been called home to the “new Jerusalem”.

1. Apartheid:

From our own experience of apartheid, we can clearly and without equivocation say that your situation is in essence the same as apartheid and in its practical manifestation even worse than South African apartheid. Why do we say this?

The essence of apartheid:

When we write to you about the essence of apartheid, we mean the denial of the humanity of one human being by another or the idea that there is a superior and an inferior human being. Flowing from this, it then becomes possible to effectively take other people’s land and make them stateless because they are regarded as either non-human or as less than human and therefore unimportant for consideration. This is what happened to us and is happening to you and for this reason we cannot find a better way to describe your situation as other than one of apartheid, previously declared as a crime against humanity by the international community.

The practical manifestations of Israeli apartheid:

But we can also say that the practical manifestations of Israeli apartheid are in many ways worse than South African apartheid ever was.

There was never a “security wall” built around Bophuthatswana or any of the other Bantustans. There was never a time when only certain people could drive on certain roads. There was never a serious debate about the right of exiles and refugees to return to South Africa. Therefore, over and above your situation containing the essence of apartheid, it is in many ways worse than apartheid, and we call on the world community to condemn the Israeli occupation as such.

Yours is also, in our view, a typical colonial situation whereby the colonizers claim the lives and land of the colonized. Furthermore, your situation is exacerbated by the West satisfying their guilt for the Holocaust at your expense. We reject this utterly and call on the West and their allies across the world to take responsibility for the situation that they have created.

2. Declaring the occupation a sin and evil

It naturally flows from this description of the occupation as apartheid that you are therefore absolutely correct in calling it a sin and evil and something to be repented of. Once the church has called something a sin, it can never be regarded as a mere disagreement or matter of opinion, but as something that is so fundamental that it is a serious impediment to a relationship with God and with others.

For this sin to be committed in the land where Jesus was born, raised, where he ministered, was crucified, rose and ascended, makes it necessary for us to take your situation even more seriously. Jesus must be weeping at the injustice that he sees in Jerusalem and we are convinced that God is already intervening and will continue to intervene to establish his justice in the Holy Land. The Holy Spirit will continue to strengthen you in your faith, hope and love and we therefore also urge you to keep on keeping on, as Archbishop-emeritus Tutu stated in his letter on the occasion of your launch.

3. Christian Zionism

Christian Zionism, the theological justification of the establishment of the State of Israel based on a particular understanding of the Bible and of the Christian faith and its relation to Judaism, can only be described by us as a modern-day heresy. This kind of Christianity rejects all modern scholarship of Biblical interpretation and chooses to make the Christian faith a servant of an evil ideology, similar to what happened with the theological justification of apartheid.

We have come to realize that opposing Christian Zionism is one of the greatest challenges for the Christian faith. The worldwide Jewish community is no more than 15 million people and many of them do not support the Zionist project, but there are about 50 million Christian Zionists, mainly in the USA, who distort and use the Christian faith to vigorously support and mobilize political and economic support for the State of Israel and we as Christians therefore need to take responsibility for this.

Together with you, we reject Christian Zionism and all other forms of Christian theology that provide justification for the Occupation as illegitimate and in our conscience and faith declare it to be a heresy.

4. The humanity of the enemy:

Throughout your Kairos document, we detect how you also long for those who are responsible for the occupation to regain their God-given humanity. We commend you for this since this seed can be the foundation for a new future for all the peoples of your region. While we think that this is a political problem that has to be solved politically, we encourage you to continue to build friendships across the many barriers in your society. We are particularly encouraged by the friendships that have developed between those in Israel and those in Palestine who are both committed to peace and justice.

5. Standing in the shoes of the Israelis:

You know much better than we do what it is that motivates the Israelis to do what they are doing. You also know much better than we do that which they fear, and that which prevents them to love. St Paul reminds us firstly in 1 Corinthians 13 that “love is patient”. Those of us who interacted with some white South Africans during the 1980s and earlier, know how much patience is required to exorcise fear from the minds of those who are fearful. We pray that God will continue to grant you that extra portion of love and grace to continue these dialogues so that greater understanding can result.

Having said that, we are of course reminded by St Paul that love does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. Regardless therefore of our empathy for their past, current and future pain, it does not minimize our strong opposition to and relentless resistance of what the Israelis are doing. It certainly does not justify their unjust actions either. May you continue to find the grace through the power of God’s Holy Spirit to seek, find, and proclaim truth and love both to those who suffer and to those who are in power and who use that power to oppress and exploit.

6. The role of the South African Jewish community:

We rejoice that there are many South African Jews who have stood up against the occupation and who have declared that the atrocities committed by the State of Israel are not in their name. We rejoice also that members of our legal fraternity have contributed positively to the debate in Israel and Palestine (John Dugard, Judge Seraj Desai et al). In particular we think of the work of Judge Goldstone, whose report serves as a reminder that there are certain generally accepted standards within the international and human community that apply to all and which cannot be flouted without severe censure. In fact, if we only selectively censure those who ignore these standards, then we weaken the possibility of censure in other situations that require it.

We are particularly concerned about the existence of a “South Africa Forest” in the Galilee, built on the destroyed Palestinian Village of Lubya. We reject this naming and will ask our government to request that this be withdrawn since our new democratic state does not identify with such a forest, built in the name of a false kind of environmentalism and at the expense of the rights and humanity of Palestinians.

In addition we are aware that money from here is processed through the Jewish National Fund and that monies donated to that fund are tax deductible here. This is not only an affront to you but is also an affront to us here in South Africa. We lose out on tax and also money is externalized for reasons that are an affront to our nation’s history and constitution. We will find ways to ensure that the operations of this fund be monitored and we will work hard to have the tax-exempt status of the Jewish National Fund (JNF) reversed.

7. Repentance:

We wish to repent for our lack of solidarity with you. This is a sin that we repent with regards to your situation, and also with regards to other situations. While we were celebrating our freedom in South Africa, at least a million of our Rwandan brothers and sisters were being killed, and yet we remained silent even about that situation.

We now commit ourselves to embark on a clear process to develop a spirituality and praxis of solidarity. We call on you and others to assist us and walk with us on this journey as well.

8. Non-violent resistance:

We support your call for the isolation of the Apartheid State of Israel. To this end we will do all we can to monitor the relations between South Africa and Israel, and to deepen the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as a way to put maximum non-violent pressure on Israel to lift the boot of oppression from the neck of the Palestinians. Change will come from above and from below, and we urge you to continue all forms of non-violent actions against the State of Israel and against the Occupation.

9. How your Kairos Document challenges our faith:

Having read and reflected upon your Kairos Document, we thank you for challenging our understanding of faith, hope and love. There is much that we can learn from you.

The themes of election, promise, Promised Land, New Jerusalem and many other theological themes and how we engage with these is a wake-up call to many of us in South Africa who have – often unconsciously – adopted certain positions on all of these in our churches. One of our people, who served as an Ecumenical Accompanier, returned to South Africa and said that he does not know how to read the Bible anymore, in the light of what he saw and experienced. This is a challenge for us, and we ask you to help us to understand these themes more deeply so that our faith can be refreshed and strengthened.

Practical things we wish to see implemented in the Churches in South Africa:

  1. We wish to see deeper Bible Study about the themes mentioned in your Kairos Document and in this letter.
  2. We want the Churches to all consider what a spirituality and praxis of solidarity in situations of injustice outside of our country might look like, and to work towards implementing such a spirituality in all our congregations.
  3. We want to deepen our theological reflection as a basis for practical actions in solidarity with Palestinians, initiate actions on behalf of the cause of Palestinians and to find ways to support your actions in solidarity and co-operation with you.

10. Links between South Africa and Israel:

We are becoming aware of some sinister links between South Africa and Israel, and are particularly embarrassed by some that seem to have been negotiated by a former priest. We will be investigating this in the following months and will intervene where possible so that the State of Israel – because of its apartheid policies – are treated in the same way that we asked for the South African apartheid state to be treated. We cannot understand how our government seems to have lost its moral compass with regard to its overt and covert relations with the state of Israel, despite the fact that that state was essentially part of our oppression.

11. A Truth and Reconciliation Commission needed for the Holy Land?

Because of our experience in South Africa, we had to find a way to break decisively with the past and even though our TRC process cannot be described as perfect, it can be described as one of the most successful processes of societal healing and the creation of a common history and uncovering of as much truth as possible. We therefore offer this experience to you, and ask that you begin to consider what process of healing would be needed in the Holy Land once a political solution has been reached.

While raising this possibility with you, we also have learnt lessons that this powerful tool could be distorted in order to impose limitations on its effect. For example, we are still reflecting on why the churches were so silent when reconciliation was appropriated by politicians for certain political and economic ends, the Gospel used to serve a certain purpose and how our political discourse afterwards insisted to speak of the reconciliation process as purely a process of political accommodation. In fact, now, 15 years later, it is becoming clear to us that it indeed was a process of political accommodation, but accommodation of the elites, not the desires for justice and human dignity of all our people.

These reflections we also need to share with you, in anticipation of your liberation.

12. The temptations of aligning too closely with those in political office:

Whilst we celebrate our freedom and our achievements since 1994, we have learnt some hard lessons in South Africa, and one of it is the demobilization – whether it is intentional or not – of civil society. This may not happen in your context, but it is important that we warn you about that danger. Economic and other factors may lead many of you to consider political office and while we do not think it is wrong for theologians and clergy to take up political office, there are many dangers in this, the chief ones being the need to sometimes compromise that which you feel strongest about. We therefore ask that you debate this matter thoroughly before a political solution is found so that those who decide to serve society either through political office or the civil service understands what the challenges are, and that you remain vigilant about the need for a strong civil society.

13. Building a society where all religions are respected

We admire your call for the respect of all religions and your rejection of a religious state. We realize that this is a bold and brave stand in your context, but it is also the position that we have adopted in South Africa. There are universal values on which the state can be built, where all religions can be respected. This must not be subject to the “tyranny of the majority” but ought to be adopted as a firm and unchanging principle, whether the end of the political negotiations produces a one or two state solution.

We are in a process of learning more and more what it means to build, sustain and protect the sanctity of our foundational values against the internal erosion thereof, usually in pursuit of power but claiming to be in the name of democracy, and we will also be willing to share some of these reflections with you.

14. Invitation:

Later this year, we will find ways to celebrate appropriately the 25th Anniversary of the South African Kairos document and we invite as many of you as possible to join us in order to share your journey with us. We will engage with friends in the international community to help fund this invitation.

15. Blessings:

We will continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and we ask that you continue to pray for South Africa and also for the rest of Africa. May the blessing of the God who requires unconditional love, justice with mercy, who brings reconciliation, peace and an abundance of hope, be with you now and for ever.

Signatories thus far:

1. Rev Edwin Arrison

2. Dr Stiaan vd Merwe

3. Prof Allan Boesak

4. Ms Elna Boesak

5. Terry Crawford-Browne

6. Rev John Frye

7. Dr Clint le Bruyns

8. Ms Dudu Masango

9. Rev Michael Oliphant

10. The Most Revd Dr. Thabo Cecil Makgoba, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa

11. Fr Larry Kauffman

12. Fr Luke Pato

13. Ms Joyce Mokoena

14. Bishop Dr. N.P Phaswana (Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa)

15. Rev. Trevor Sibande (Lutheran)

16. Rev. France Mkhatshwa (Lutheran)

17. Rev. Mautji Pataki

18. Hermina Damons (Former Local Coordinator of EAPPI)

19. Gosiame Choabi (EA)

20. Puleng Mkhatshwa

21. Motlagomang Oliphant (EA)

22. Mandla Mndebele (EA)

23. Folathela Botipe (EA)

24. Rev Moss Ntlha

25. Fr Albert Nolan

26. Rev Solomuzi Mabuza

27. Rev Roxanne Jordaan

28. Prof Tinyiko Maluleke

29. Rev Laurie Gaum

30. Busi Ntini (EA)

31. Ismail Moola

32. Cassim Moola

33. Fathima Moola

34. Ahmed Moola

35. Zuleika Moola

36. Zaid Moola

37. Junaid Moola

38. Shahana Moola

39. Faheema Moola

40. Suraya Moola

41. Zahra Moola

42. Mohammed Moola

43. Ebrahim Moola

44. Mariam Moola

45. Naseema Mia

46. Obayd Mia

47. Tahir Mia

48. Mohammed Mia

49. Salma Mia

50. Ismail Dawood

51. Anisa Dawood

52. Reead Dawood

53. Prof Farid Esack

54. Rev Dr Dawid Kuyler

55. Dr Llewellyn MacMaster

56. Rev Desmond Lesejane (ELCSA)

57. Rev Courtney Sampson

58. Rev Janet Trisk

59. Prof Christo Lombaard

60. Eddie Makue, SACC

61. Prof John de Gruchy


Bold added by blog author.

Kairos Launch - Norway