Lutheran World Federation


Founded1947 by Lutheran churches in Lund, Sweden, as “a global communion of 144 churches in the Lutheran tradition, representing over 72 million Christians in 79 countries.”
In their own words“Support and develop the capacities of Lutheran churches for service and advocacy in response to human suffering”; “Carry out humanitarian and development programs on behalf of member churches, giving priority to people affected by conflict, emergencies and natural disasters”; “Improve capacity for responding to natural disasters and emergencies caused by conflict” and “Strengthen advocacy to address the root causes of injustice.”



  • Lutheran World Federation (LWF) is based in Switzerland and works in more than 95 countries.
  • As the humanitarian and development arm of the LWF, the LWF Department for World Service (DWS) “works with marginalized and disadvantaged communities in the areas of greatest vulnerability and endemic need” and “provides humanitarian aid and assists in rehabilitation and development in 30 countries.”
    • DWS is engages in advocacy and “actively participates in global networks and cooperates with ecumenical partners, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and UN organizations as well as with governments.”

Political Advocacy

  • Attended the 2001 World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, also known as the Durban conference, which crystallized the strategy of delegitimizing Israel as “an apartheid regime” through international isolation became a platform for intense anti-Israel and antisemitism activities.
  • Utilizes highly biased and politicized rhetoric, placing primary blame for the conflict on the “Israeli occupation…Restrictions on movement [that] continue[s] to hamper [Palestinian] growth prospects…” The statement omits Palestinian terror attacks against Israeli civilians, the legitimate right of the state of Israel to self-defense, and the complexities of the conflict.
  • Holds a “prayer vigil” on the 24th of every month, meant to be held “until the Israeli occupation is dismantled.”
  • In January 2020, following the announcement of President Trump’s “Peace Plan,” ACT Alliance, of which Lutheran World Federation is a member, released a statement accusing Israel of placing Palestinians in “open-air prisons,” implementing “colonial and apartheid-style policies,” and maintaining a “complex matrix of control.”
  • In May 2018, during the violence on the Gaza border, Lutheran World Federation published a statement expressing “dismay over the escalating violence and disproportionate use of force against demonstrators at the Gaza border.” The statement ignored the violent nature of the protests, which included Molotov cocktails, arson, and attempts to breach the border fence with Israel.
  • In March 2018, as part of the ACT Palestine Forum, published “Water in the Gaza Strip,” which promotes the false allegation of Israeli water discrimination against Palestinians. APF ignores evidence that Israel provides Palestinians in the West Bank with more water than required under the Oslo framework and that poor management by the PA of infrastructure, waste, and theft of up to 50 percent of supplies in some Palestinian areas. In so doing, APF manipulates and distorts water and land issues in order to portray Israel as a brutal regime.
  • In February 2018, as a member of the Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA) published a report titled “50 Years of Occupation: Dispossession, Deprivation and De-development” that accused Israel of “systemic, decades-long squeeze of Palestinian economic prospects and human rights.”
  • In March 2017, Bishop Munib Younan, then President of LWF, stated that “EAPPI and the whole WCC needs to be a prophetic voice in the region, to lead in the present, remembering the past and envisioning a constructive future for just peace for both Palestine and Israel.”
  • In July 2016, Lutheran World Federation was a signatory on a petition to “stop this injustice” and “Lift the Gaza Blockade,” as “this blockade is a violation of international law.”
  • In June 2016, the Lutheran World Federation held a meeting in Germany calling for “urgent international efforts to resolve the [Middle East] region’s conflicts through negotiation rather than further violence” as well as for “the cessation of all Israeli settlement activities in the occupied territories.”
  • 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 October 2015, was a signatory on a statement by ACT Palestine condemning the “use of excessive force by Israeli police and army against protesters, extra judicial killings, collective punishment in the form of severe restrictions of movement, closure of Palestinian neighborhoods and punitive home demolitions in East Jerusalem.” The statement called upon the international community” to open negotiations…that will bring an end to the Israeli occupation.”
  • In August 2015, signed a press release with 30 international organizations calling on “world leaders to take urgent action to halt ongoing demolitions and hold the government of Israel accountable for the wanton destruction of Palestinian property and of projects funded by international aid in the occupied West Bank.”


  • Until June 2017, the president of LWF was Bishop Dr. Munib A. Younan.
    • Younan is also the head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL), which aims to “educat[e] Lutheran and other Christian communities around the world about the presence of Arab Christians in the Holy Land and about the Palestinian struggle.”
    • Younan was the only “Head of Church” involved in drafting the Kairos Palestine document; he later withdrew his signature as an author and added it as a signatory. The Kairos Palestine document calls for BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) against Israel; denies the Jewish historical connection to Israel in theological terms; and rationalizes, justifies, and trivializes terrorism, calling it “legal resistance.”
    • In addressing the Middle East Council of Churches, Younan provided an entirely biased and distorted view of the situation, ignoring that the state of Israel grants full freedom of religion to Christians, stating (2013): “we demand that Jerusalem, the mother of all religions and the city of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, must be on the agenda of every church in the Middle East and throughout the world….Do we seek to be subordinate subjects, or citizens with equal rights and responsibilities? Do we seek toleration and protection? Do we run under the skirts of a warlord? Are we weak and persecuted, and thus in perpetual need for other Christians to rescue us?”
  • Pauliina Parhiala, LWF representative in Jerusalem, was previously the Regional Director for Finn Church Aid programs in the Middle East and the Chief Operating Officer at ACT Alliance.


2016-2019 Donations Received (amounts in Euro)

Bread for the World852,000619,7171,244,160262,300
Church of Sweden215,775186,772348,840344,553
Norwegian Church Aid34,78334,828580,66737,876
USAID129,420148,113 240,426
Palestinian Medical Relief Society76,57872,47812,708
Mercy Corps19,39022,167
Health Work Committee46,15577,392
Catholic Relief Services95,126260,133

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