article entitled “What will the Swedish Church do in Gaza?”. The article explained that two “unbiased” candidates for the priesthood in the official Church of Sweden will be coming from Lund (a city outside Malmö) to attend a Palestinian peace conference called the Sabeel Young Adult Conference. What the article doesn’t explain is the nature of the Palestinian Sabeel organization. Therefore some key facts will be provided here in order to show you why the word “peace” and “Sabeel” should not be in the same sentence.
In the article the one of the two clerical candidates was asked on whether their being sent to Gaza could mean that the Swedish Church is taking a political stance in the Palestinian- Israeli conflict. To this one of the candidates answered:
“ It is hard to interpret the Bible in any other way than that one should take a stance for those who are exposed. We take no position on Palestine or Israel; we take a position for peace. “
The candidates clearly do not want to tell the journalists, or more likely, are not aware that the Sabeel organization, while claiming to “Strive to develop a spirituality based on love, justice, peace, nonviolence, liberation and reconciliation for the different national and faith communities” in fact was founded by a leaders who constantly strives to assault Israel’s right to exist. This contradiction between the stated “peaceful” mission and its genocidal ideology is sadly not uncommon with these extremist groups.
Sabeel as an organization is in fact promoting the idea that Zionism is based on a false reading of the Bible and that it stands for injustice and in opposition to God. Sabeel also often compares Palestinians to the crucified Jesus and Israel to his murderers. This clearly shows that the Sabeel organization does not hold an unbiased view of the two entities, nor is likely to promote such a view to the two “non-biased” Swedish clerical candidates.
While the candidates from Lund state in the interview with Sydsvenskan that the Bible tells them to take a position for peace, I wonder if this interpretation is taken from the Old or the New Testament. Let’s hope it’s from the New Testament—as the Sabeel organization, which is the religious group organizing the conference, heretically seeks to eliminate the Old Testament from the Bible—according to them the Old Testament “has been used to justify their [the Palestinians’] suffering”.
Attending a conference held by an organization which seeks to erase the Old Testament—the founding basis of Christianity—once again clearly shows that Sabeel is an extremist fringe organization. Sabeel does not seek to create peace with Israel but instead seeks to erase history in order to get rid of anything which has to do with Judaism or Israel. Wanting to eliminate the Old Testament from the Bible can be seen as another way to sever the Jewish connection to the state of Israel.
This is already being done by other Palestinian factions today. Working on the site of the Temple Mount, for example, Jewish archeological remnants have been destroyed in order to erase the historical evidence connecting Judaism to Israel. This is a clear attempt to deny the Jews’ historical connection to the land of Israel, and the right of Jews to live in the land. Denying the existence of the ancient Jewish Temple is an affront to both Jews and Christians as well.
The Sabeel organization can neither be a good source for peace solutions as it:
*Falsely calls Israel an apartheid state
*Claims that Israel was founded on denial and violation of Palestinian rights
* Claims that Israel violates international law by “occupying” the West Bank
*Omits any mention of peace process and ignores Israeli efforts and desires for peace agreements
*Calls on churches to divest/disinvest in Israel.
Well, while claiming to be non-biased one cannot help but wonder if the representatives, by attending the conference hosted by the Palestinian Sabeel organization, do not support the organization itself. Why would the Swedish Church, the largest Christian organ in Sweden send representatives unless they believed that the Sabeel organization was not a respectable one? Certainly by agreeing to participate in the conference the Swedish Church is granting Sabeel legitimacy which it certainly doesn’t deserve.
By attending a conference held by Sabeel one can conclude that while the clerical candidates perhaps may come to Gaza as unbiased on the issue of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, one can be sure that they won’t come out of Gaza with the same perspective. After attending a propaganda conference held by an organization which internationally claims to promote peace, but in fact seeks to eliminate Israel from the face of the earth, these representatives of the official Swedish Church are most likely to hold and promote the extremist views promoted by Sabeel.