Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL)
|In their own words||to “proclaim the Gospel within an Arab context in the Holy Land…to serve our Palestinian people through education that aims to provide Christian evangelical instruction, quality training and peace education.”|
- Website does not provide annual or financial reports, reflecting a lack of transparency and accountability.
- ELCJHL is a “service provider” of the Act Palestine Forum, the Gaza chapter of the ACT Alliance. Through Act Alliance appeals, the ELCJHL lobbies Act Alliance members for funding. In 2013, the church asked for donations amounting to $173,017.
- In 2014, the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees of the Middle East Council of Churches requested $485,966 on behalf of its service providers, including the ELCJHL. Funding distribution between the APF service providers is not clarified.
- Promotes BDS campaigns, demonizing rhetoric, and the Kairos Palestine document, which denies Jewish historical connections to Israel.
- Engages in international advocacy, urging visitors and activists “to listen and grow in your understanding of the complex life in Palestine under Israeli occupation in order that you might return to your home country and share what you have learned.”
- Encourages US citizens to “tell your Congress person what you have seen and heard while visiting the Holy Land and demand that the U.S. no longer support what is happening here.”
- During the 2014 Gaza War, ELCJHL condemned “the indiscriminate firing of rockets by Hamas against civilian targets and the ongoing Israeli blockade and bombardment of Gaza,” drawing an immoral symmetry between Israeli self-defense and illegal attacks by terror organizations, and without any acknowledgement of Hamas’ exploitation of the civilian population of Gaza as human shields. The statement refers to the blockade of Gaza as the key impediment to peace, failing to mention that the purpose of Israel’s blockade is to prevent the illegal flow of weapons to Hamas and other terrorist groups.
- Website includes numerous highly biased and distorted resources that promote a narrative based solely on the Palestinian narrative of victimization, including: “With God on Our Side,” “Exposing Israeli Apartheid,” “Occupations 101,” “Little Town of Bethlehem,” “Vandalized by Israeli Soldiers,” “The Story of the Kairos Palestine Document,” as well as other egregious materials.
- ELCJHL produced its own a video “It’s PalesTIME,” directed by ELCJHL’s Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, describing the “assessment of the degree to which Holy Land travelers omit Bethlehem from their itineraries… [and] Palestinians are denied their fair share of the tourism dollars flowing into Israel.”
- Rev. Mitri Raheb offered a racial theory for why Jews are not “the people of the land” at the 2010 Christ at the Checkpoint conference, saying: “I’m sure if we were to do a DNA test between David, who was a Bethlehemite, and Jesus, born in Bethlehem, and Mitri, born just across the street from where Jesus was born, I’m sure the DNA will show that there is a trace. While, if you put King David, Jesus and Netanyahu, you will get nothing, because Netanyahu comes from an East European tribe who converted to Judaism in the Middle Ages.” (emphasis added)
- Bishop Dr. Munib A. 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.
- Younan utilizes religious imagery and liberation theology to defame Israel, making statements such as “the canon of hermeneutic for the Palestinian Christians can be nothing less than Jesus Christ Himself.”
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