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Anti-Israel groups have turned Christmas into an annual opportunity to attack the Jewish state in particularly surreal terms, with some going so far as to roll out invective-filled Christmas carols and call for economic warfare against Israeli Jews, according to a detailed report issued yesterday by the Jerusalem based research institute NGO Monitor.

The report is part of NGO Monitor’s “BDS in the Pews” program, which tracks European, U.S., and Canadian government funding as it flows through anti-Israel Christian groups. It documents a range of groups – including Christian Aid (UK), Kairos Palestine, Sabeel, War on Want (UK), Amos Trust, and Adalah-NY – exploiting holiday and religious symbols to urge that Israel be economically and politically isolated.

Christmas carols, holiday cards, and even nativity scenes were all mobilized to among other things promote boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns. The campaigns – which call for Israeli Jews to be economically and culturally punished until they make a variety of concessions satisfactory to the campaigners – have been blasted as anti-Semitic by top watchdog groups including the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

The groups identified by NGO Monitor claim that their annual Christmas-themed campaigns are a response to Israel’s treatment of Christians. The explanation has been taken, in some quarters, as a badly strained pretext. Pope Francis last month called attention to the systematic cleansing of Christians from the Middle East, but in Israel – critically – the population of Christians is growing.

Yitzhak Santis, Chief Programs Officer and head of the BDS in the Pews project notes, “The growing role of churches, Christian aid societies, and faith-based NGOs in political campaigns against Israel is tragically eroding the historic reconciliation between Jews and Christians following the Holocaust. Through some of these NGO frameworks, classical anti-Jewish theologies are re-emerging, and that is extremely disturbing.”