In 2009, a group of thirteen Palestinian Christian clergy, many of whom are anti-Israel activists and pro-BDS campaigners, drafted the Kairos Palestine Document. The purpose was to rally churches globally to support anti-Israel BDS, delegitimization, and demonization campaigns. The Document called for churches to “stand against injustice and apartheid…[and] revisit theologies that justify crimes perpetrated against our people and the dispossession of the land,” and “an economic and commercial boycott of everything produced by the occupation.”
The Kairos Palestine Document was nurtured and later widely promoted by the World Council of Churches (WCC) through its Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF), which was founded “to catalyze and coordinate new and existing church advocacy for peace, aimed at ending the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories in accordance with UN resolutions.” This included the WCC’s June 2007 “Amman Call,” which explicitly supported the claim of a “right to return,” and the 2008 “Bern Perspectives,” which “expose[d] manipulations of Scripture that ignore context and complexity.”
Many organizations have widely denounced the Kairos Palestine Document due to its overt antisemitism. The Central Conference of American Rabbis explains that the Document “echoes supersessionist language of the Christian past, since rejected by most mainstream Christian denominations, referring to the Torah absent Christian revelation as, in the words of the Christian Scriptures, ‘a dead letter.’” The Simon Wiesenthal Center describes it as “a revisionist Document of hatred for Israel and contempt of Jews.”
The Kairos Palestine Document also drew criticism for rationalizing, justifying, and trivializing terrorism, calling it “legal resistance,” and ignoring Palestinian terror, rejectionism, and legitimate Israeli security concerns. Joseph Puder, founder and director of the Interfaith Taskforce for America and Israel, has referred to the Kairos Palestine Document as “essentially a copy of Hamas and Fatah ‘talking points’ wrapped in religious packaging.”
The Document continues to be used by numerous NGOs as a tool to target Israel and bolster BDS campaigns worldwide.