Church-based humanitarian NGOs receive funding from private as well as government donors to promote their agendas. Some of these groups are highly politicized, and promote within churches around the world BDS, a one-state framework, and, in many cases, antisemitic supercessionist (or replacement) theologies.
- Amos Trust (England) – Promotes a one-sided, politicized view of the conflict. Uses “apartheid” rhetoric. Amos Trust condemns Israeli actions that are meant to protect citizens, including by describing the devastating impact of: the wall, settlements blocks and travel restrictions upon Palestinian life,” while making no mention of Palestinian corruption or terrorism.
- American Friends Service Committee (United States) – Actively promotes BDS campaigns; accuses Israel of “apartheid against Palestinians”; and advocates for a “right of return,” meaning the end of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.
- Bethlehem Bible College / Christ at the Checkpoint (Jerusalem) – CATC seeks to advance the Palestinian nationalist agenda within Evangelical Christian churches.
- Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) (Jerusalem) – Founded by the World Council of Churches (WCC), which continues to fund the project. EAPPI presents a one-sided Palestinian narrative, and promotes the claim to a “right of return.” EAPPI sends political activists to “witness life under occupation;” many return and promote BDS and other forms of demonization around the world.
- Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL) (Jerusalem) – Promotes BDS campaigns, demonizing rhetoric, and the Kairos Palestine document that denies Jewish historical connections to Israel. Acts as a “service provider” of the Act Palestine Forum, the Gaza chapter of the ACT Alliance.
- International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) (United States) – Although financial appeals focus primarily on humanitarian purposes, rather than political agendas, IOCC regularly partners with Act Alliance to distribute aid in Gaza and has been an active member since APF’s inception in 2008.
- KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives (Canada) – A primary supporter of the anti-Israel divestment movement in Canada and demonizes Israel through accusations of “war crimes” and “collective punishment.”
- Mennonite Central Committee (United States) – Activities and publications reveal a highly politicized and anti-Israel agenda, including campaigning against the Israeli security barrier while ignoring Palestinian terror.
- PAX (Europe) – Promotes the Palestinian narrative of the “Nakba” [catastrophe] and urges the international community “to hold Israel accountable for its statist crimes of oppression and collective punishment.”
- Society of St. Yves (Jerusalem) – Accuses Israel of “discriminatory policies” and “breach[ing] international law.” Active in “lawfare” campaigns against Israel. Founder Michel Sabbah co-authored the 2009 Kairos Palestine document, which calls to mobilize churches worldwide in the call for BDS, compares Israel with the South African apartheid regime, and denies the Jewish historical connection to Israel in theological terms.
- Tent of Nations (West Bank) – Utilizes highly biased and politicized rhetoric, distorting the reality of the conflict, calling the security barrier the “Apartheid wall,” and alleging that “everyday …more land is being confiscated for new settlements or expanding the existing ones and more and more Palestinian farmers are attacked by Israeli settlers.”
- YMCA (East Jerusalem) – Claims to be an “integral part of the Palestinian social movement… Within the context of oppression and Israeli military occupation, the YMCA is a beacon of hope for Palestinians throughout the West Bank.” Promotes demonizing rhetoric, BDS campaigns, and the Kairos Palestine document that denies Jewish historical connections to the land of Israel.
- Quaker Council for European Affairs (Europe)- One of 22 NGOs that signed the 2012 report “Trading Away Peace,” which calls for BDS against Israel. QCEA also published a discussion paper calling for the boycott of Israeli products and companies.
Palestinian Christian Advocacy NGOs
Over the last decade, activism in support of boycott and divestment resolutions against Israel has increased markedly in churches in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Europe, South Africa, and elsewhere. This increase is not spontaneous. Rather, it is the result of a confluence of efforts pushed by a number of Palestinian Christian organizations whose influence within the churches has increased dramatically. These organizations include:
- Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center – Founded in 1989 by Anglican Canon Naim Ateek, Sabeel promotes Palestinian Liberation Theology1, BDS campaigns, and is a proponent of supersessionism and related antisemitic theologies.
- Christ at the Checkpoint (CATC) – Initiated in 2010 by the Evangelical Bethlehem Bible College, CATC targets Evangelical Christians and states that they must “reclaim the prophetic role in bringing peace, justice and reconciliation in Palestine and Israel.”
- Holy Land Trust – Is a signatory to the 2005 “Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS,” supports the Kairos Palestine document, and conducts highly politicized tours of the region.
For many churches, the perspectives provided by the above organizations and others often become the primary or only source of information on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This heavily influences Christian aid organizations regarding policies, including allocation of grants to these groups and affiliated NGO beneficiaries in the region. These NGOs and Palestinian Christian advocacy organizations receiving taxpayer funds in the form of grants from Christian aid organizations are therefore able to finance more trips abroad, strengthen their relationships with donors, and reinforce this cycle of influence and funding.
Jewish BDS Supporters
Individual Jews and radical Jewish groups participate in the promotion of BDS and other anti-Israel activities in various Christian denominations. The role of Jewish identity in church-based BDS efforts as an influence multiplier is significant. The disproportionately large influence afforded to Jewish BDS supporters partnered with Christian pro-BDS activists in the churches suggests that Jewish activists, willfully or not, take on the role of political shield against mainstream Jewish criticism of double standards, demonization, and legitimate allegations of antisemitism
- Jewish Voice for Peace (United States) – Views itself as the “Jewish wing” of the Palestinian solidarity movement. The strategy is to create “a wedge” within the American Jewish community over support for Israel. It champions strategies designed to dismantle the Jewish state, like BDS and advocating for a Palestinian “right of return.” JVP provides cover for BDS and attempts to shield activists from accusations of antisemitism: “We will defend activists around the world who employ the full range of BDS tactics when they are demonized or wrongly accused of antisemitism.”
- Coalition of Women for Peace (Tel Aviv) – Active in BDS campaigns against Israeli companies, banks, and corporations. Involved in campaigns against major Israeli banks, the Elbit and G4S security companies, Ahava cosmetics, and Agrexco produce. Initiated the “Who Profits” campaign “in response to the Palestinian Call for boycott, divestment, and sanction (BDS) on Israel.” “Who Profits,” now an independent NGO, is an activist tool and a database that identifies targets for anti-Israel divestment and boycotts.
- Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (Jerusalem) – Rhetoric includes accusations of “ethnic cleansing,” “genocide,” “collective punishment,” and “apartheid.” Active in promoting the BDS campaign against Israel. Explicitly advocates for the end of the state of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, stating that “the only option for resolving the conflict [is] a one-state solution.”
- PLT is a body of thought developed by Rev. Naim Ateek of Sabeel that creates a theological framework for the advancement of the Palestinian nationalist agenda within Christian churches. This paradigm interprets Christian texts to depict Palestinians as the wholly innocent victims of Israeli aggression and attempts to establish a religious obligation to promote the Palestinian narrative.