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Church of Sweden

Profile

Country/TerritorySweden
Websitehttp://www.svenskakyrkan.se/default.aspx?id=657804
In their own wordsWorks “to address economic, social and cultural rights, particularly the right to food, livelihood, social welfare, education and health… The work is directed towards the process of building strong and relevant actors in civil society institutions as it is to empowering people to defend their dignity and claim their rights.”

Funding

  • Total assets of SEK 36 billion and 2014 total income of SEK 3.5 billion.
  • According to its 2014 annual report, “Fundraising by the Church of Sweden’s international work totalled SEK 177 million. In addition, the Church received SEK 163 million, mainly from Sida (the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency) and the EU for its international work.”
  • Recipients of CoS funding are not listed, reflecting a lack of transparency and accountability.
  • A Church of Sweden document lists projects and spending of SEK 10,204,907 in the Middle East Region. In many cases, it is unclear how this funding is distributed or where the projects are specifically located.
  • According to information submitted to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits, the Church of Sweden provided 78,828 NIS to Rabbis for Human Rights in 2014, and 76,452 in 2013.

Activities

Political Advocacy

  • Supports the Kairos Palestine document, which calls for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel and denies Jewish historical connections to Israel.
  • Focuses on international advocacy, stating that “advocacy work targets those with economic and political power in Sweden, the EU and the UN.”
    • Signatory to the 2015 Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA) ” joint agency briefing paper titled, “Charting a New Course: Overcoming the Stalemate in Gaza,” misrepresenting international law and distorting legal terminology to place primary blame for the 2014 Gaza war on Israel. The paper omits Hamas rocket attacks against Israeli civilians, as well as terror tunnels running beneath the border into Israel. The paper further encourages contact with Hamas, stating: “Restricted contact can undermine humanitarian access and implementation of humanitarian programmes…””
  • In 2012, the Church of Sweden “clarified its position on the conflict between Israel and Palestine… After 30 years of negotiations, the Church of Sweden cannot see any improvement in the situation of the Palestinians, and, as a recognised State, future negotiations would take place on a more equal basis.” It urges the Swedish government to: “campaign for Palestine being accepted as a full Member State of the UN”; “within the EU, press for legislation to limit the opportunities for supporting — financially or otherwise — the illegal settlements”; “within the EU, campaign against bilateral agreements between the EU and Israel being upgraded or entered into without any provision for compliance with international law”; and “without delay legislate on origin marking of products from Israeli settlements, in accordance with the EU directive.”
  • Following the Swedish government’s formal recognition of the State of Palestine in October 2014, Director of International Affairs of the Church of Sweden Erik Lysén voiced his approval: “The Swedish Government’s decision comes in a key course of events as the situation on the ground is deteriorating daily through the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements… Hopefully a Swedish recognition will pave the way for recognition from other countries in the EU.”

Funding

  • Church of Sweden received $540,445 in 2015 and $664,587 in 2014 from SIDA [link to Sweden report].
  • A Church of Sweden document lists projects and spending of SEK 10,204,907 in the Middle East Region. In many cases, it is unclear how this funding is distributed or where the projects are specifically located.
  • According to information submitted to Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits, the Church of Sweden provided 78,828 NIS to Rabbis for Human Rights in 2014, and 76,452 in 2013.
  • Sponsors and maintains a close relationship with Palestinian Christian NGO Sabeel. Together they coordinate “Morally Responsible Investment” campaigns. In 2012, Friends of Sabeel Scandinavia, in cooperation with the CoS, held a Palestine day with the theme “Can You Hear Us? – A Cry from Palestine.” In its 2015 Annual Report, Sabeel lists the “United Church of Sweden” as a donor.
    • Sabeel promotes BDS campaigns; supports a “one state” framework, meaning the end of Israel as a Jewish state; and employs antisemitic themes and imagery in its political attacks against Israel.
  • Together with EED (Germany) and DanChurch Aid (Denmark), sponsored an Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) mission to the Palestinian territories. The Church of Sweden is a member of the Swedish Council of Churches, which received $711,803 in 2015 and $874,648 in 2014 from SIDA for the EAPPI program.
    • Founded by the WCC, EAPPI promotes BDS campaign and utilizes demonizing rhetoric accusing Israel of “apartheid,” “collective punishment,” and “war crimes.”
  • Was a signatory to the 2012 report “Trading Away Peace” that repeats the BDS agenda, calling on EU and individual European governments to wage political warfare through various forms of economic sanctions on Israel.
  • Signatory to the 2009 report, “Failing Gaza: No rebuilding, no recovery, no more excuses,” which advances the unsupported legal claim that Gaza remains occupied and the false allegation of “collective punishment” in order to “prove” the central thesis that “primary responsibility [for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza] lies with Israel.” The report was also signed by Amnesty International UK, Trocaire (Ireland), Diakonia (Sweden), Oxfam International, Christian Aid (UK), Broederlijk Delen (Belgium), CAFOD (UK), and others.

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