First South African Church to commit to BDS

In a historic step the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA) issued a clear statement in support of the non-violent Palestinian struggle. The church’s national conference approved the resolution on 10 July 2016.

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Rev. Thulani Ndlazi, Synod Secretary of UCCSA, speaking at the conference

The declaration names the danger of Christian Zionism and its literal reading of the Bible which confuses the Old Testament’s Israelites with Jewish Israelis. ‘We hear the Palestinian Christians’ appeal for help,’ they say, and we commit our support to the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign.

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The statement is the first of its kind by a South African church.

Earlier South African Methodists also urged their circuits to “study the Palestinian Kairos Document that calls for divestment of Israel to end the occupation by Israeli in Palestine” (2013 Yearbook, 3.4:93-95). They also encourage those who undertake “Holy Land Pilgrimages” to have meaningful engagements with the Palestinian community. Yet the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA) does not ask people to consider the requests of the Palestinian Kairos Document. UCCSA acknowledges their requests, it affirms the call for creative, non-violent resistance and it commits publically.

What makes it even more historic is the fact that UCCSA was the only South African church who publicly supported the now historic South African Kairos call of 1985.  In it South African theologians asked the world to help end apartheid. The world listened and it helped. In recent years the churches of the world have started to speak up about fundamentalist, Zionist readings of the Bible that support Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians.

The statement by UCCSA on Palestine is a welcome prophetic step. It reads as follows:

We pledge our support to the Palestinian people as follows at this 8th South African Synod Conference of UCCSA in George, South Africa:
  • We recognize that the Palestinian struggle is not simply a conflict, but an asymmetric struggle between an oppressor and the oppressed. The oppression entails a decades’ long institutionalized discrimination against Palestinians in the occupied territories of Palestine and also against those within Israel and those in the diaspora who are not allowed by Israel to return.
  • We hear the call of our sisters and brothers from Kairos Palestine who asked the world and in particular Christians to take a public stand against injustice in ‘A Moment of Truth – a Word of Faith, Hope and Love.’
  • We do not take an anti-Semitism position. However we are extremely concerned about fundamentalist and progressive Christian Zionism which conflate the Biblical Israel with the modern state of Israel. We call on all Christians to read the Bible responsibly so as to not trample on the human rights and the dignity of the Palestinians.  We ask Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land to meet with and to listen to the Palestinians in Bethlehem, East Jerusalem and other cities in the occupied Palestinian territory.
  • We acknowledge with gratitude the support of our Palestinian sisters and brothers in South Africa’s anti-apartheid struggle.
  • With this resolution we join other churches in the world such as the Presbyterian Church, the United Methodist Church and the United Church of Christ in the United States of America as well as the United Church of Canada. With them we stand in public solidarity with the Kairos Palestine’s appeal for help and the Palestinian civil society’s call for creative non-violent resistance.
  • We pledge our support to the international Boycott Divestments Sanctions (BDS) campaign.


The United Congregational Church of Southern Africa is one church in five countries –Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The UCCSA was formed in 1967 but traces its origins back more than 200 years to the arrival of the first missionaries sent by the London Missionary Society to Southern Africa. Today over 500,000 members worship in over one thousand local churches across the five countries.

15 thoughts on “First South African Church to commit to BDS

  1. Congratulations from your sisters and brothers in the USA, united with UCCSA as the constituent members of Kairos USA: denomiational mission committees, city-based ecumenical taskforces, and congregational mission committees.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. paarlmuslimjamaa says:

    Goodwill prevail if good people are not scared to speak up and support the righteous cause. We pray for peace and love in a world that’s being terrorized by a minority from all sides.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. MMM says:


    We are United like that even in our diversity!!!! The struggle continues….PROUDLY UCCSA! We are “participating in the struugle and sufferings of others”


  4. Elvira van Oudtshoorn says:

    This indeed speaks of the bravery of fine minds. It was a bit of a jolt to me that (well-meaning I am sure) South Africans donated a statue of Nelson Mandela to the Palestinians, themselves strangers to idolatry. I wish that those who proclaim their faith readily would also follow the Reverend’s example and protest the abject misery and suffering of the people of Palestine.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Gideon Kaufmann says:

    LOL, committing to help the enemy who is slaughtering your own…reminds me of the statement by Winston Churchil, ” An appeaser is someone who feeds a croc hoping it will eat them last” This croc will laugh while it is eating you…and then you will cry saying” But I thought we were friends!” LOL…

    That is all what you stupid misguided people are! There is no link to biblical Israelites and Jews of today LOL….if the re-establishment of Israel did not miraculously happen like it was prophesied in the Old Testament…maybe then you might have a point…however seeing as the Jews are still around and the enemies of the Jews are slowly dying out….it can only mean that you idiots have sold your souls to the enemy…thinking this will save your lives…how did that work out for your co-religionists who have been slaughted en masse by the same people you support? You turn a blind eye while your co-religionists are sold as sex slaves, forcibly converted, expelled, have to pay Jizya….you idiots have sided with the wrong side of history and you will not be redeemed, you will in fact disappear and will end having the same fate as all Jew haters throughout the ages.

    By strolling down this path, you have cemented your fate and you will take a whole bunch of gullible idiots with you.


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