Church of Sweden


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.”



  • The Church of Sweden is an Evangelical-Lutheran community that organizationally is divided into local (parishes), regional (dioceses), and national levels. In 2016, the Church had 6.1 million members.

Political Advocacy

  • Supports the Kairos Palestine document, which calls for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel; denies Jewish historical connections to Israel in theological terms; and rationalizes, justifies, and trivializes terrorism, calling it “legal resistance.”
  • Focuses on international advocacy, stating that “advocacy work targets those with economic and political power in Sweden, the EU and the UN.”
  • Supports the “World Week of Peace in Palestine Israel,” organized by the World Council of Churches, which calls for “advocacy and action in support of an end to the illegal occupation of Palestine.” The WCC plays a key role in mobilizing churches worldwide to support the international boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.
  • In November 2021, the Church of Sweden’s decision-making body passed a resolution urging the church’s central board to “investigate Israel as an apartheid state” and “raise the issue of scrutinizing the implementation of international law in Israel and Palestine, also from the perspective of the United Nations convention on apartheid and the definitions of apartheid in the Rome Statute.”
  • In May 2021, Church of Sweden was a signatory on a joint statement calling to “support and protect the investigation of the International Criminal Court (ICC).”
  • In March 2018, as a member of the Act Palestine Forum, published “Water in the Gaza Strip,” which repeated the false allegation of Israeli water discrimination against Palestinians. APF ignored that Israel’s use of water is entirely consistent with international law and practice, and is dictated by the 1995 Interim Agreement (Oslo II) mutually agreed to between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. (For more information, see NGO Monitor’s report: Analysis of Palestinian Water Issues and Israel’s Role.)
  • Signatory to a 2015 Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA)” joint agency briefing paper, “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 and 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.”
  • 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 InternationalChristian Aid(UK), Broederlijk Delen (Belgium), Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) (UK), and others.

BDS Activities

  • The Church of Sweden has provided funding to Who Profits, a leader in BDS efforts against Israeli and foreign companies.
    • In 2020, the Church of Sweden granted NIS 181,289 to Who Profits.
  • According to the Church of Sweden’s website, “The Church of Sweden is against a boycott of Israel within internationally recognized borders. But we are for an origin marking of goods produced in occupied territory…The Church of Sweden believes that origin labeling is an important tool for consumer information.” 
  • The Church of Sweden has claimed that “Methods that prevent financial support for the occupation are legitimate ways of working for peace. One such method can be pressure on companies that have operations in the settlements and thus contribute to the occupation. Another method may be to refrain from buying goods produced in Israeli settlements.” 
  • Church of Sweden promotes settlement goods labeling.
  • In August 2016, Church of Sweden sponsored a “Kairos Palestine summer camp” aimed at “ramping up the pressure on Israel by increasing the Church’s support of and participation in the BDS movement.” Anna Karin Hammar, the head of the camp and a Rev. Dr. for Church of Sweden, gave a presentation at the camp where she stated, “BDS may be the only chance to liberate both Palestinians and Israeli Jews from the occupation.  We should have nothing to do with the Israeli banking system” and there should be “no military cooperation between Sweden and Israel.”
  • 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.


  • Member of the World Council of Churches (WCC)ACT AllianceAct Alliance EU (formerly APRODEV) and the Lutheran World Federation.
  • Member of ACT Palestine Forum, a coalition for “improving the efficiency and effectiveness of ACT responses through enhanced cooperation and coordination.”
    • Advocacy goals include contributing “to a global discourse on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that addresses the consequences of occupation, promotes access of individuals to resources, and ultimately brings an end to the occupation” and targeting “Christian communities on the International level…by stressing Christians’ suffering in the Holy Land and seek to preserve Christians presence in Palestine.”
    • Urges “various forms of boycott of settlement products,” accusing Israel of denying “Palestinians their fundamental rights of freedom, equality, and self-determination through military occupation.”
    • Published a February 2013 Advocacy Paper, “The ‘Permit Regime’ and Israeli Attacks on Palestinian Freedom of Worship,” alleging that “Under Israeli military occupation, repression has become the worst of history compared to that of South Africa. It’s a sophisticated form of social, economic, political and racial discrimination, strangulation, and genocide, incorporating the worst elements of colonialism and apartheid as well as repressive dispossession, displacement and state terrorism to separate Palestinians from their land and heritage, deny them their rightful civil and human rights, and gradually remove or eliminate them altogether. The ID/permit system is one of many elements designed to make greater Israel an ethnically pure Jewish state.”
  • Church of Sweden has also partnered Wi’am Palestinian Conflict Resolution and Transformation Center, which actively promotes BDS and demonization.

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