A friend recently attended a concert at the local Uniting Church and picked up a glossy pamphlet published by the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network (PIEN). While I’m well aware of the Uniting Church’s animus against Israel, the lies it contained truly shocked me. Its stated mission:
- express solidarity with the people of Palestine and Israel, especially Christians;
- influence public opinion to facilitate public policy reform.
- encourage theological reflection on challenges and hopes raised by the PIEN vision
The network includes people from the Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Churches of Christ, Lutheran, Religious Society of Friends and Uniting churches as well as Australian Christian aid and development agencies working in Palestine and Israel. We were established in 2006 by church leaders who saw a particular role for Christians to advocate from a faith perspective about Palestinian human rights.
The network is an organisational member of the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN). We strongly support and participate in APAN’s advocacy work with parliamentarians and the Australian community.
We find inspiration and direction from the Kairos Palestine document,… and Kairos’ continuing expression of Christian voices in Palestine and Israel.
The chief relationships of the network are with:
- the National Council of Churches in Australia through its international aid agency, Act for Peace;
- the World Council of Churches;
- the Christian community in Palestine and Israel;
- Christian-based international aid agencies in Australia;
- Australian church-related and community groups working for a just peace;
The network is currently supported financially by agencies such as Act for Peace and the Major Issues and Theology Foundation… Anglican Overseas Aid, World Vision Australia and the Uniting Church’s President’s Table.
Leaving aside the fact they claim to advocate for “Palestine” – which doesn’t exist – among the many disturbing aspects are that they only advocate for “Palestinian human rights”. Surely a truly Christian organisation would advocate for human rights for all – or aren’t Israelis terrorised by Hamas and other Jihadis worthy of the title of humans?
From their website, it’s clear that they are just another hate group. Some snippets:
· PIEN call out: don’t buy into the occupation – join campaign against Israeli settlement goods in Australia
Jessica was recently in Palestine serving with Christian Peacemaker Teams. Here she shares one of her stories. The ripping up and replanting trees – the Palestinian experience of resistance and hope
The Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF) of the World Council of Churches invites member churches, faith-based communities, and civil society organizations around the world to join together in 2014 for a week of advocacy and action in support of an end to the illegal occupation of Palestine and a just peace for all in Palestine and Israel.
PIEN supports the virulently antisemitic BDS movement, and ignores the atrocities committed by ‘Palestinians’ against Israelis. They spread lies about Israelis destroying olive crops, but are silent about the reality – Arab incursion into Israeli homes to kill innocents, even newborn babies. While we remember numerous murderous rampages like in Itamar and the merciless slaying of a family and their young children, this hypocritical and hate-filled group care nothing for Jewish lives.
In their May 5 2015 rant, “ don’t buy into the occupation – join campaign against Israeli settlement goods in Australia”, they state:
“Enough is enough. No more words without deeds. It’s time for action.”
These words were issued nearly eight years ago as part of a statement by a World Council of Churches gathering, and affirmed recently by a meeting of senior Palestinian Christians and their supporters in the Kairos Palestine 5th Anniversary statement, which noted that things have become worse, not better, for Palestinians since then. These words stirred us into action when we met earlier this year as the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network (PIEN) to consider our future priorities.
… We have heard the cry of Palestinian Christians asking the international community to join boycott and divestment campaigns. We have seen Churches internationally respond to the request. We have seen many Jewish people support these nonviolent economic strategies. We believe, with deep conviction, that the products made in the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank represent a serious and blatant disregard for Palestinian human rights, and must be opposed.
We have therefore decided that PIEN will join others in responding with more than words, and this year we will focus our efforts on campaigning for businesses in Australia to stop selling settlement goods, beginning with dates.
Why we shouldn’t buy goods made in illegal Israeli settlements
Israeli settlements are exclusively Jewish communities that have been established in Occupied Palestine. Their existence and ongoing expansion confiscate large areas and are widely accepted by the international community as being against international law. Additionally their presence leads to a wide array of problems for Palestinians: road-closures; loss of farming livelihoods; checkpoints; exposure to settler violence; military control by Israel of daily life, and many more. To buy goods from these settlements is therefore not only undermining international law but implies support for the Israeli military occupation of Palestine…
Worldwide Christian and Jewish responses to goods from Israeli settlements
In recent years many churches and Jewish groups around the world have been campaigning against goods made in settlements, and against companies profiting from the occupation. We have documented some of these campaigns. Read more.
CALL TO ACTION: Help us find dates being sold from illegal Israeli settlements
PIEN’s first campaign will focus on dates sold in Australia from Israeli settlements. We’ve identified one importer, and are negotiating directly with them to stop these imports…
No word about boycotting dates produced in countries controlled by the barbaric and murderous ISIS and other terror groups which are beheading, crucifying and burning people alive! It seems only civilised Israel deserves this shunning.
The endless propaganda about Israel’s occupation, illegal settlements and Palestinian suffering from checkpoints and ‘settler violence’ can easily be refuted by facts. Sadly though, with today’s emphasis on narrative over historical truth, hate groups like PIEN can successfully appeal to the emotions of their audience. Add to this the imprimatur of their church, and millions of gullible people are likely to be deceived.
Returning to their brochure, under “Quick Facts”, among the claims it makes are:
“The Gaza Strip is occupied, is under blockade, inflicting illegal collective punishment on the population…”
“the number of Christians living in Israel and Palestine has decreased significantly due to the occupation from 350,00 in 1948 to about 200,000 today.”
We know both these claims are ridiculous, that Gaza is not occupied, and that the decline in Christianity is due to Arab persecution, while the number of Christians living in Israel, where they enjoy complete freedom of religion, has significantly increased.
It seems Church leaders have strayed so far from the tenets of their faith that they can lie with impunity. The Ten Commandments states “You shall not bear false witness”. The Churches would do well to reflect on these words.