Archbishop Theodosios Atallah Hanna has long been an embarrassment to the Greek Orthodox Church. Back in 2002, Irineos I, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, fired Hanna from his post as spokesman for supporting terrorism (see here) and wrote a letter to the Israeli president assuring him that Hanna doesn’t represent the Orthodox Church.
But western churches that imagine they’re progressive don’t have so much of a problem with Hanna – he’s one of the authors of the Palestine Kairos Document, which calls for a boycott against Israel and which has been warmly embraced by liberal churches.
In Canada, for example, the United Church has been urging its members to study the Karios Document and recently passed a motion calling for a boycott against Israeli settlements. (More here & here.)
But while Archbishop Hanna wants the world to boycott the Zionist entity, he doesn’t call for a boycott against Syria. On the contrary, he’s a big supporter of the Assad regime.
According to news reports, Assad is busily killing his own people by the thousands. According to Hanna, the Syrian revolt against their brutal dictator is a “heinous conspiracy,” a “US-Zionist scheme.”
Hanna is straightforward in explaining his support for the murderous Assad regime: “Syrian is the only resistant country in the region which stands by the Palestinian cause,” Hanna told the Syrian Arab News Agency.
Syria has indeed long been a strong supporter of the most murderous terrorist groups, providing funding, safe haven, and training. No wonder Hanna is upset by the prospect of the Syrian people overthrowing this regime.
And after all, Assad is a man after Hanna’s own heart: they’re both big believers in the use of violence. Speaking at a Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem in 2003, Hanna said:
"We do not believe in so-called 'peace with Israel' because peace cannot be made with Satan… The Palestinians' rights will be restored only by resistance. What was taken by force will be restored only by force… We encourage our youth to participate in the resistance, to carry out martyrdom attacks.”
And Hanna is perfectly clear about his goals:
“Palestine is from the sea to the river [i.e., from the Mediterranean Sea to Jordan River – the entire land of Israel]. … We emphatically refuse any concession on [even] a grain of the land of our precious homeland.
"The Zionist Jews … should go somewhere else in the world to establish their state and their false entity… They must leave their homes.”
To me, “They must leave their homes” sounds distinctly like a call for ethnic cleansing.
In the Palestine Kairos Document, Hanna and his fellow authors are less clear. They call the occupation a sin – the original sin, really, at the root of the conflict, they claim. But in the Kairos document, they’re coy about exactly what territory they consider occupied.
Similarly, in the Kairos Document, they’re more two-faced about terrorism. They endorse non-violence. But then they also define terrorism as “legal resistance.”
Assad isn’t the only murderous thug Hanna praises. This March, Hanna took part in a conference in Beirut on Jerusalem. Besides himself, there were representatives from Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad – organizations united by the desire to commit genocide against Jews.
Hanna was the only Christian invited to address this select group.
Considering the participants, there was of course talk at the conference about “the necessity of activating the Palestinian armed resistance,” and a corresponding disdain for “the policy of negotiations.”
And according to Al-Manar: “The Iranian ambassador called upon all Muslims to unite and stand together to face this ‘cancerous tumor’ [Israel] which Imam Khomeini said must be wiped off the map.”
For his part, Archbishop Hanna “hailed” the stances of Sayyed Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, and called for the liberation of Jerusalem, which Hanna described as being occupied since 1948, the year of Israel’s creation.