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Middle East Council of Churches (MECC)

Profile

Country/Territory
Websitewww.mecc.org
Founded1974
In their own words“To deepen the spiritual fellowship among the churches of the Middle East, and to unite them in word and deed as they strive to achieve the unity of the churches and bear a living evangelical witness to spread the gospel of salvation and reconciliation through the Lord Jesus Christ, love, peace and justice throughout the region and among the people inhabiting it.”

Funding

Activities

  • Consists of four ecclesiastical denominations: Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Evangelical, and Catholic.
  • Member of the Act Alliance, which promotes demonizing rhetoric against Israel; international boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS) campaigns; as well as the Kairos Palestine document, which characterizes terrorist acts of “armed resistance” as “Palestinian legal resistance,” denies the Jewish historical connection to Israel in theological terms, calls to mobilize churches worldwide in the call for BDS, and compares Israel with the South African apartheid regime..
  • MECC’s local division is the Department of Service to the Palestine Refugees (DSPR). The DSPR divides further, with the Near Eastern Council of Churches International Christian Committee (NECC-ICC) dispensing aid to Jerusalem and the West Bank, and the Near East Council of Churches Committee for Refugee Work (NECCCRW) focusing on Gaza.
    • The DSPR claims to work to “promote the socio-economic development and just rights of Palestinian refugees and communities in the Middle East.”

Political Advocacy

  • In June 2017, MECC was a signatory to an “Open Letter” from the National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine to the World Council of Churches, accusing Israel of “Discrimination and inequality, military occupation and systematic oppression.” The letter calls upon the WCC to “recognize Israel as an apartheid state,” and “unequivocally condemn the Balfour declaration as unjust, and that you demand from the UK that it asks forgiveness from the Palestinian people and compensates for the losses.” The letter also defends “our right and duty to resist the occupation creatively and nonviolently,” through “economic measures that pressure Israel to stop the occupation…in response to Israel’s war on BDS. We ask that you intensity those measures.”
  • NECC is a signatory to the 2005 “Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS” against Israel, which seeks to end the “occupation and colonization of all Arab lands” and promotes the right of “Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties.” These goals undermine the fundamental right of the Jewish people to self-determination.
  • In May 2013, MECC released a “Statement on Christian presence and witness in the Middle East,” together with the World Council of Churches (WCC), in which the two organizations present a false and distorted narrative of Israeli aggression, alleging that “The persistence, after sixty-five years, of continuing dispossession of Palestinian people—Christian and Muslim alike—from their land by Israeli occupation, continuing settlement of land inside the 1967 borders by a nation empowered by overwhelming military strength and external alliances and influence, is central to the turmoil in the region.”
  • Together with the WCC, the MECC co-founded the Jerusalem Interchurch Centre (JIC), which claims to “bring the voice and the concerns of Palestinian Christians to the wide ecumenical family and to the world.” Together with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine Israel (EAPPI), the JIC arranges highly biased and politicized international ecumenical visits to join Ecumenical Accompaniers (EAPPI volunteers) for “short gatherings and solidarity actions,” including “observing checkpoints” and “gate watches at the wall.” The Israeli perspective is entirely omitted.
  • In a July 2014 update on the Gaza war, DSPR refers to Israel as a “war machine” and alleges that “the Israelis have gone crazy as they are incessantly bombing and shelling.”
  • In a 2014 interview, Executive Secretary of DSPR Bernard Sabella stated: “‘We must defeat Hamas’. What does that mean? Do you want to destroy and raze Gaza to the ground? Is this a path that will lead to peace?… You say that Hamas is the problem. That is not true.”
  • NECC is a member of the “Ecumenical Water Network,” which uses allegations regarding water rights and availability as part of larger campaign to delegitimize Israel. In 2012, Ramzi Zananiri, head of the NECC, called for an international ecumenical fact-finding mission on environmental problems in Gaza and how they are linked to the occupation.

Funding Tables

 

Partial DSPR Funding based on 2014 Annual Report (“Received at Central Office”)

Donor20132014
Church of Sweden$377,762$184,341
Church of Scotland$7,599$20,297
Finn Church Aid$25,830
Bread for the World$83,385$83,238
ICCO$65,030
Embrace the Middle East$245,328$141,200
Norwegian Church Aid$362,568$301,151
CCFD- Terre Solidaire$33,900$46,170

According to the DSPR 2014 Annual Report, “Contributions Received Directly at Areas” in “Gaza” included:

Donor2014
Bread for the World$289,115
Catholic Relief Services$46,776
Save the Children International$165,089
ANERA$136,924
GIZ (Germany)$29,753

NECCCRW-Gaza Funding, based on 2016 annual report

“Grants through DSPR” include:

Donor20152016
Embrace the Middle East- Well baby clinic$75,270$64,142
DanChurchAid (DCA)- Norwegian Church Aid (NCA)$224,486$74,065

“Direct Grants” include:

Donor20152016
DanChurchAid (DCA)- Norwegian Church Aid (NCA)$130,346
Mennonite Central Committee$25,000$25,000
Church of Scotland$13,669$7,658
Amos Trust$15,063

 

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