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Church World Service

Profile

Country/TerritoryUnited States
Websitehttp://www.cwsglobal.org/
Founded1946
In their own words"Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, comfort the aged, shelter the homeless.”

Funding

Activities

  • Founded in 1946 in the aftermath of World War II as “a cooperative relief, refugee, and development ministry currently comprised of 37 member communions.”

Political Advocacy

  • Lobbies churches, policymakers and the general public and in the U.S. “to give voice to the issues that affect hunger people and promote sustainable solutions.”
  • In the United States, the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) is “supported by churches in partnership with CWS [Church World Service].”
    • EAPPI sends volunteers to the West Bank to “witness life under occupation.” Upon completion of the program, the volunteers return to their home countries and churches where many engage in anti-Israel advocacy, including advocating for BDS campaigns in churches, comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa and Nazi Germany, and other delegitimization strategies.
  • In May 2018, Church World Service was a signatory on a statement condemning Israel’s “lethal…military response” to the violence on the Gaza border. The statement furthered that its “own government’s seemingly unqualified and unquestioning support for Israel is a significant enabling factor for Israel’s continuing and repeated violations of international conventions and laws.” The statement ignored the violent nature of the protests, which included Molotov cocktails, arson, and attempts to breach the border fence with Israel.
  • In January 2018, Church World Service endorsed US Congresswoman McCollum’s proposed legislation to sanction Israel over its alleged “ongoing detention and mistreatment of Palestinian children.” The entirety of the proposed bill is premised on factually inaccurate claims from anti-Israel advocacy NGOs, including direct quotes from DCIP’s “No Way to Treat a Child” 2016 report and website.
  • In September 2016, Reverend John L. McCullough, President and CEO of Church World Service, was a signatory on a letter to U.S. presidential candidates stating that “Ongoing settlement expansion that has led to 570,000 Israelis living in East Jerusalem and the West Bank is eroding the viability of the two-state solution. The blockade of Gaza has led to immense human suffering. This status quo is clearly contrary to global security interests, including those of the U.S., and a source of violent extremism throughout the region.”
  • In April 2016, McCullough signed an “Atlanta Summit of Churches in the USA and the Holy Land” document titled “Pursuing Peace and Strengthening Presence,” that “Encourage[d] reference to the Kairos Palestine message as an established initiative.” Kairos Palestine calls for BDS against Israel; denies the Jewish historical connection to Israel in theological terms; and rationalizes, justifies, and trivializes terrorism, calling it “legal resistance.”
  • During the 2014 Gaza war, Church World Service condemned “Hamas militants’ practice of firing rockets into Israel, and Israel’s bombardment of homes, hospitals and other civilian centers in Gaza,” drawing an immoral symmetry between Israeli self-defense and illegal attacks by terror organizations and failing to acknowledge Hamas’ responsibility through its systematic exploitation of civilians, homes, hospitals and population centers. The statement also ignored the illegal flow of weapons to Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza.
  • Signed a 2014 letter to US Secretary of State John Kerry and the administrator of USAID, urging the US government to: “Increase the U.S. financial commitment to the reconstruction of Gaza, and ensure that these funds are disbursed immediately to relevant U.N. agencies and non-governmental organizations operational in Gaza”; “Urge Israel to fully lift the blockade on Gaza”; and “Urge Egypt to allow full freedom of movement through the Rafah crossing.” The letter ignores Israel’s legitimate security concerns regarding restrictions on Gaza.
  • During the 2012 Gaza war, Church World Service submitted an appeal to raise $100,000, claiming that the “Israeli military offensive” continues to be “categorized by poverty, unemployment, forced displacement, lack of access to basic goods and services, impeded freedom of movement, aid dependency, food insecurity, confiscation and inadequate access to healthcare, education, jobs and markets.” This biased and distorted picture of the conflict furthers a Palestinian narrative of victimization. The appeal supported ACT Alliance members including Norwegian Church Aid (NCA)Christian Aid (UK), the Middle East Council of Churches/Department of Service to Palestine Refugees (MECC/DSPR)International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), and DanChurchAid (DCA). According to the appeal, “DCA is heading ACT member efforts for advocacy work to promote a global discourse on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
  • President and CEO Rev. John McCullough signed a January 2013 letter to President Obama, calling on the “[a]dministration to play a catalytic role in the resolution of this conflict.” He also signed a 2005 letter to President Bush alleging that “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has become a threat to the people of the United States.”
  • Middle East Regional Coordinator Steve Weaver wrote a 2009 article, “We are captive and slowly suffocating,” alleging that “the 22-day assault that ended early this year [which] was only the most recent, although especially brutal, chapter in a longer context of occupation and blockade” of Gaza.
  • In November 2006, Church World Service led a delegation of African-American religious leaders to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, where they met with local religious and government leaders. According to one participant, Church World Service Board Member Dr. Belletech Deressa of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, “This crisis is different to me than any other one. I always thought that yes, there is a difference between the Palestinians and the Jews; yes, there is animosity. But now I realize that it is worse than racism and worse than apartheid. I don’t really have a word for it” (emphasis added).

Partners

  • Founding member of ACT Alliance.
    • The ACT Alliance promotes demonizing rhetoric against Israel; international boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS) campaigns; as well as the Kairos Palestine document, which calls for BDS against Israel; denies the Jewish historical connection to Israel in theological terms; and rationalizes, justifies, and trivializes terrorism, calling it “legal resistance.”
    • Supported the EU’s decision to label products exported from Israeli communities over the 1967 ceasefire line, calling it “an important measure towards ensuring continued, full and effective implementation of existing EU legislation.”
  • Member of ACT Palestine Forum, a coalition of ACT Alliance Members that cooperates in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza under the Act Alliance network.
    • 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.”
  • Partners with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI).
    • EAPPI frequently uses inflammatory and demonizing rhetoric against Israel; engages in BDS campaigns; participates in activities commemorating the Palestinian “Nakba” (catastrophe); and promotes a Palestinian “right of return,” meaning the end of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.
  • Partners include: Act for Peace, Bread for the World, Churches for Middle East Peace, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), UNICEF, and the World Council of Churches.

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