EPN PIN applauds Anglican Church of Southern Africa for calling Israel an apartheid state

Episcopal Peace Fellowship Palestine Israel Network
Posted Oct 3, 2023

The Episcopal Peace Fellowship Palestine Israel Network (EPF PIN) calls attention to and encourages readers to give due notice to the September 28 report of the Provincial Standing Committee of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa declaring Israel an apartheid state. The resolution notes that the National Executive Committee of the South African Council of Churches (SACC) has also declared Israel an apartheid state and requests Archbishop Thabo Makgoba to inform the Primate of Jerusalem and the Middle East of this decision.

In his statement on the resolution, Archbishop Makgoba wrote, “People of all faiths in South Africa have both a deep understanding of what it is to live under oppression, as well as experience of how to confront and overcome unjust rule by peaceful means. When black South Africans who have lived under apartheid visit Israel, the parallels to apartheid are impossible to ignore. If we stand by and keep quiet, we will be complicit in the continuing oppression of the Palestinians.” Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu for many years likened the Israeli regime to South African apartheid and declared his support for the use of boycotts and economic sanctions as a means to compel Israel to alter its policies.

In 2018, Israel’s Knesset passed the Nation State Law, a Basic Law having constitution-like authority, stating that “the right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people,” evidently legally separating Palestinian citizens from certain rights. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, B’Tselem and numerous legal and human rights scholars have issued reports and statements that the legal criteria for a condition of apartheid are met by the practices of the government of Israel toward Palestinians: legal distinctions and discriminations between Jews and non-Jews; categorizing of identities for that purpose; systemic restrictions of movements and liberties; and unequal access to voting, housing and property ownership, employment opportunities, and education.

At the 80th General Convention, three diocesan resolutions to name Israel’s discriminatory practices and system as “apartheid” were considered by the Social Justice and International Policy legislative committee. In the context of that abbreviated General Convention, the committee decided to refer those three resolutions to the 81stGeneral Convention in June 2024 for further consideration.

The Anglican Church of Southern Africa is the oldest Province in Africa. British Anglicans met for worship in Cape Town after 1806, with the first Bishop appointed in 1847. The 28 dioceses of the Province extend beyond the Republic of South Africa and include the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (St. Helena and Tristan da Cunha), Mozambique (Lebombo and Niassa), the Republic of Namibia, the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Kingdom of Swaziland and Angola. Its geographical area exceeds 2 million square kilometers and the population is just under 63 million.