“My Brother’s Keeper – A Line in the Sand”
May 2016 National Roadshow and International Conference
Africa for Israel Christian Coalition and the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem along with other faithful organisations and believers understand that we serve a covenant keeping God whose promises cannot be altered or annulled by the whims of man.
In Genesis 17:4-8, God says to Abraham “As for me, this is my covenant with you…I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you”. This covenantal promise to the patriarch Abraham was a three-fold promise of Land, People and the Torah. Crucially, it was repeated to successive generations through Isaac and Jacob and ultimately saw fulfilment through the Exodus led by Moses from Egypt, the receiving of the Word of God on Mount Sinai and finally taking possession of the Land.
Contrary to the centuries’ old teachings of Replacement Theology that advance the notion that God has forsaken the Jewish people and broken his covenant with them, the opposite holds true. In the Gospel of John, Jesus reminds us that "salvation is of the Jews" (John 4:22). The Apostle Paul, writing to the Church in Rome says “I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite” (Romans 14:1) and in verse 29 that “For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.”
Biblical prophecies instructs us that the Israelites were twice exiled, first to Babylon and later exiled and dispersed to the four corners of the earth. God, however, clearly states that He will ultimately gather Israel back from the nations to which they were exiled and restore their land of Israel back to them: “For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land” (Ezekiel 36:24).
Today, we are privileged to be amongst the first few believers in over 2,000 years to see the fulfilment of such prophecies made by prophets such as Ezekiel, Isaiah, Zechariah and others unfolding right before our eyes.
Inasmuch as we recognise the hand of God in Israel’s modern day restoration and the need to work alongside what God is doing and partner in such restoration, we remain mindful of the ever present Amalek spirit that continually seeks to resist the work of God.
Anti-Semitism, a centuries old blot in the history of the Christian world, is sadly on the rise again. In its current form it has seen a multitude of sectors ranging from faith based, political to civil society organisations converging to form a united front that whilst differing in tactics, shares the same spiritual disbelief against Israel’s prophetic restoration.
This should not come as a surprise to us for the Psalmist warned us over 2,500 year ago that such a time would come. King David wrote: “Come," they say, "let us destroy them as a nation, so that Israel's name is remembered no more." (Psalm 83.4).
2. The South African Connection
Anti-Semitism was for many centuries and remains so, a blight in European history but it has spread and taken root in new continents. This evolution seeks to transform this hatred of Israel from a purely a false religious doctrine into the more pervasive realm of politics and human rights.
One of the most active theatres in this relentless global campaign against Israel has been carefully crafted around the false libel that Israel is an apartheid state. This originated primarily from the United Nations World Conference Against Racism held in Durban, South Africa, during September 2001. The Draft Declaration and Program of Action championed by Arab countries at this conference included terms such as "racist Zionist practices", "Zionist practices against Semites" and equated the Holocaust with "ethnic cleansing of the Arab population in historic Palestine."
At this Durban Conference, Israel and the United States abandoned what was clearly a biased event and the final declaration emerged after an acrimonious session where Arab delegates sought to add several paragraphs including one that accused Israel of “foreign occupation that gave rise to racism.”
• The representative of the United States, in explaining their decision, said “...the United States had withdrawn from the World Conference Against Racism and had not been part of the agreement to adopt the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, because the Conference had placed inappropriate and unacceptable focus on a single country-specific situation irrelevant to the Conference’s subject matter.”
• Speaking in explanation of their vote before the vote, the representative of Israel said “...the events at the World Conference in Durban were an affront not only to Israel, but to any individual valuing the true objectives of international efforts to combat racism and racial discrimination. The highjacking of the Durban Conference to isolate and attack Israel had done a disservice to those who would have benefitted from genuine action against racism. Instead of contributing to the fight, certain delegations had acted to increase hatred by singling out one country for defamation. His delegation therefore, had withdrawn from the Conference...[and] his country could not support the outcome of Durban.”
Although some compromise on the wording was reached the ultimate result of this conference was to give rise to the false “Israel is an Apartheid state” libel which has become the rallying campaign of groups such as the Boycott Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) organisation and has been subsequently used to great effect to mislead various political, church and civic organisations to take punitive measures against Israel based on an erroneous belief that this allegation is actually based on facts.
Separate from the UN Conference but during the same dates, was an NGO Forum, held in the nearby Kingsmead Stadium in Durban that was attended by 8,000 representatives from 3,000 NGOs. The NGO Forum's proceedings were highly disorganized and characterised by several NGO delegates walking out of the Forum and a resultant lengthy declaration that included every NGO’s pet hatred. This declaration described Israel as a "racist, apartheid state" that was guilty of "racist crimes including war crimes, acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing". The NGO Forum then tried to symbolically present their declaration to the UN Conference but the UN Conference Secretary-General, Mary Robinson refused to accept the document, citing concerns over its language.
The South African government had volunteered to host the UN World Conference on Racism under the belief that South Africans were in a unique moral position to contribute and host such a conference given our apartheid history and efforts at nation building to end historic discrimination.
It is this very history of apartheid in South Africa that places South Africa in a unique position with regards to dealing with racism elsewhere in the world. However, it must be borne in mind that charges of racism and apartheid are unique in that audiences seldom require factual evidence and so anti-Semitic organisations can rely solely on the emotional persuasiveness of these allegations without ever being troubled to produce any shred of proof in support of their slanderous allegations against Israel.
It has thus become very strategic for such organisations that the UN World Conference Against Racism was held in South Africa, a country with a history of institutionalised racism in the form of Apartheid, that the South African government supports the cause of the Palestinian factions against Israel. To be precise, South Africa’s support for the false apartheid libel against Israel lends legitimacy that no other nation can bestow in the fight to delegitimise Israel.
BDS and similar organisations enjoy unprecedented support in South Africa, virtually from all sectors of society: Political - the ruling African National Congress (ANC) the South African Communist Party, The Economic Freedom Fighters; Religious – The South African Council of Churches and the Evangelical Alliance of Southern Africa; Trade Unions – The Congress of South African Trade Unions along with just about every other trade union from various sectors; Campus – almost every university campus has some active registered organisation such as the Palestine Solidarity Forum where Israeli Apartheid Week forms the cornerstone of their activities; Civil Society – there have been various campaigns against retail outlets such as Woolworths and the Wellness Clinic which have borne the brunt of BDS boycott campaigns because they stock Israeli sourced products.
It can be safely stated then that ground zero for the Boycott Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) campaign is centred in South Africa and it therefore follows that any attempt to neutralize and defeat these campaign must first and foremost focus its attention on the South African theatre of operations.
Zionism is the national movement for the return of the Jewish people to their ancestral homeland and the resumption of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel.
Viewed in proper context, it is an aspiration for self-determination that is no different to any other aspiration of oppressed or colonised people in the world and was certainly the driving force behind the anti-apartheid movement and other similar movements across Africa, South America, Ireland, Eastern Europe, Asia and more. Surprisingly, there are those who wish to equate Zionism to racism and apartheid. If self-determination remains the legitimate and natural aspiration for all other people then why should it be viewed with condemnation when aspired to by the Jewish nation?
Clearly then, there is both Biblical and political justification in supporting the return of the Jewish people to the Promised Land and we in South Africa should not only have a clearer appreciation of Zionism but be the most active supporters of this restorative movement.
4. The May 2016 Conference
It is comforting to note that there is a rapidly growing theologically correct appreciation of the covenantal relationship between God and the nation of Israel concerning the Promised Land. There are currently some sixteen Christian Zionist organisations in South Africa and the majority (at least twelve) of them only started operating in the last two years. Africa for Israel Christian Coalition (AFICC) was formed with a view of engaging in a broad range of advocacy initiatives and more importantly of providing a uniting umbrella platform for pro-Israel advocacy groups to speak in unity. The Church in South Africa, as is with the rest of the world remains divided yet we fight against a determined enemy that fully appreciates the value of unity.
As Chairman of not only AFICC but the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem’s South African Branch, since January 2014, we have able to convince the Jerusalem leadership of ICEJ to hold the next annual conference in South Africa and thus the May 2016 ICEJ International Leaders Conference will be held in Cape Town from May 18th to May 23rd. This conference will be attended by National Directors from over 80 nations where ICEJ has branches. This conference is not about glorifying one organisation but seizing the providential opportunity presented by the presence of global leaders from so many nations converging on South Africa. Scripture teaches us to be as cunning as snakes but as innocent as doves and thus we must exploit such an opportunity.
a. Intercession: There can be no denying the negative spiritual consequences to the South African nation for hosting the Durban UN World Conference on Racism which triggered the Zionism is racism libel. This is further compounded by South African’s widely reported support for various anti-Semitic organisations such as BDS, Israeli Apartheid Week, the hosting of organisations such as Hamas and the doctrine of Replacement Theology and Kairos Palestine.
As a first step, we need to repent on behalf of our nation’s part in the UN Durban World Conference on Racism and this act of repentance must take place in the very same city of Durban where the conference took place
Secondly, we need to stand together united in prayer as we seek spiritual covering for the preparations leading up to and the actual May conference itself. The work that lies before us of unifying our country to stand and defend Biblical principles requires prayer, determination and unity.
b. National Roadshow and Open Day Conference: AFICC has planned a series of roadshows that will incorporate most of the major cities in South Africa (Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth and Nelspruit) as a build up to a day-long public event to be held in Cape Town. Our intention is to have this public event at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (which holds around 10,000 seated delegates) on Sunday May 22nd where the full spectrum of Christian Zionist organisation will come together with the South African Jewish community. The South African Chief Rabbi, Dr Warren Goldstein and Israel’s Ambassador to South Africa, Arthur Lenk, have already committed to attending this event.
Whilst Christian Zionism is not new to South Africa, there has never been an event of the magnitude planned for May 2016 and given the increased levels of anti-Israel rhetoric in South Africa leading up to the 2016 Local Government Elections, the time is ideal to stage such an event. During this event on the 22nd of May 2016, we would like to hold a media event in Cape Town where we, as part of the global Church, will issue a declaration on where we stand with regards to Israel (theologically and politically).
This conference and declaration presents a unique opportunity of setting the record straight through a public declaration. Scripture, after all charges us with the duty of speaking the truth at all times, especially where we see our brethren being misled by deception. In essence then we would seek to correct a theological untruth in the very same country where the lie sprang from in the first place which is also now the epicentre of the delegitimisation campaign against Israel. The spiritual significance of South Africa championing the false apartheid libel against Israel has had disastrous consequences for our nation and this would be a much needed act of atonement.
5. Prayer Points
a. Unity amongst believers especially concerning our attitude towards the nation of Israel;
b. Obedience and Passion as a suitable response from the Church that we might be shaken from and freed from the slumbering spirit that has caused us to have a lukewarm attitude towards our faith;
c. An attitude of Repentance with regards to our silence in speaking the truth to our nation and also for being complicit in allowing a climate to breed that not only teaches a false doctrine towards Israel but has allowed others to be deceived about the truth due to our silence;
d. Wisdom as we prepare for the May conference that we might be led by the Spirit and do only what is placed before us rather than being derailed by our individual ambitions and narrow perspectives;
e. Protection for we know that our collective plans will be a fragrant offering to the Lord but will trigger spiritual attacks from the powers of darkness;
f. Success for we know and believe that the work of the Lord will always prevail.
To paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: May 2016 is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Church needed to blow off steam and will now be content, will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. The line has been drawn in the sand and the moment for decision and action has arrived: Will you be your Brother’s Keeper? We trust that we can count on your support as we work towards this momentous event for our country and continent.
Luba and Ncedi Mayekiso
(Africa for Israel Christian Coalition)