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PAX Christi

Profile

Country/TerritoryBelgium
Websitehttp://www.paxchristi.net/
Founded1945
In their own wordsA “global Catholic peace movement” that seeks to “transform a world shaken by violence, terrorism, deepening inequalities, and global insecurity… and believes that religion should be an unequivocal force for peace and social justice.”

Funding

Activities

  • Operates in “more than 50 countries on five continents with over a hundred Member Organizations worldwide.”
  • Holds “special consultative status” with the United Nations and UNESCO; is “officially represented” at the African Union and the Council of Europe; and “enjoys, along with its Member Organisations, access to the European Parliament and the European Commission.”

Political Advocacy:

  • Pax Christi International was an active participant at the NGO Forum of the 2001 Durban Conference, which crystallized the strategy of delegitimizing Israel as “an apartheid regime” through international isolation.
  • Promotes the Palestinian narrative of the “Nakba” [catastrophe] and urges the international community “to hold Israel accountable for its statist crimes of oppression and collective punishment.”
  • Former president Michel Sabbah, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, claimed that “occupation is the fertile soil for terrorism,” “Hamas is protecting us[Christians],” and chaired a panel on the Kairos Palestine document, which calls for BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) against Israel; denies the Jewish historical connection to Israel in theological terms; and rationalizes, justifies, and trivializes terrorism, calling it “legal resistance.”
  • Pax Christi International describes itself as a “co-founding non-governmental organization” of the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI), a volunteer program that claims to “provide protective presence to vulnerable communities, monitor and report human rights abuses.” EAPPI promotes BDS campaigns, accuses Israel of “apartheid,” and promotes a Palestinian “right of return,” meaning the end of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.
  • Supports the “World Week of Peace in Palestine Israel,” organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC), 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.
  • On April 12, 2018, PAX Christi was a signatory on a statement by US Churches and Christian Agencies “support[ing] the Palestinian people as they courageously stand up for their rights” during the Great March of Return. The statement ignored the violent nature of the protests, which included Molotov cocktails, arson, and attempts to breach the border fence with Israel. The groups called on the United States to “censure the violent and indiscriminate actions of the State of Israel in response to the demonstrations which in no way threaten the security of the state or its citizens, and to hold Israel appropriately accountable, ensuring that US aid isn’t used in ways that contravene established US and international laws, given the more than $3 billion in military aid the US disburses to Israel annually.”
  • On February 7, 2017, PAX Christi was a signatory on a call to “end the European complicity – marking 100 years of injustice against the Palestinian people.” The call “solemnly reaffirm[ed] that in 2017, after 100 years of dispossession, denial and ethnic cleansing, the rights of the Palestinian people must, at last, be respected.”
  • Co-signed an August 2015 campaign, calling on world leaders “to press the Israeli government to lift the blockade on Gaza,” while altogether omitting that the blockade was implemented in an effort to stop Palestinian terrorists from smuggling of weapons and rockets into Gaza that would later be used to target Israeli civilians.
  • Pax Christi, along with other NGOs, often exploit the holiday of Christmas to demonize Israel in the international arena.
    • Issued a 2013 Christmas message, encouraging “all people of good will… to write a message of hope and encouragement to our friends in Bethlehem,” which will be displayed on “the wall” [separation barrier].
  • Pax Christi International, together with the WCCsubmitted a “joint written intervention” before the 2012 September session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, “applaud[ing] the Human Rights Council’s attention to the numerous and disastrous violations of human rights in Jerusalem.” The UNHRC routinely exploits the rhetoric of international law to obsessively target Israel. UNHRC Permanent Agenda Item 7, purporting to address Israeli human rights violations, is the only agenda item targeting a single country.
  • In response to Israeli self-defensive measures against Hezbollah and Hamas terror attacks, Pax Christi issued a 2006 statement accusing Israel of “[c]ollective punishment,” “unjustified and disproportionate use of force”, and calling on the United Nations to “hold Israel accountable” for “clear violation[s] of international humanitarian law.”

BDS Activities

  • In April 2018, PAX Christi signed on a call to the EU to “Stop funding Israeli arms companies.” The call urges the EU to “immediately exclude all Israeli military and security companies from the EU framework programs, given that an analysis of past projects has shown that their participation in these programs inherently involves EU support for the development and legitimisation of, and profiting from, technology and methodology used by Israel in the commission of war crimes and human rights violations” (emphasis added).
  • In February 2017, called on the EU to “consider suspending economic relations” with Israel.
  • Signed a May 2016 letter calling on the European Union to support the right of individuals and institutions to engage in BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel, claiming that Israel is attempting to “shield it from being held accountable for its violations of international law.”
  • Supported the 2012 call of the UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk to boycott Israeli goods, alleging that Israeli enterprises fail to meet “international human rights standards” and comply with “humanitarian law.”

Politicized activities of individual Pax Christi branches

Pax Christi Flanders

  • On May 15, 2018, Pax Christi Flanders organized “silence circles” to “express our solidarity with the Palestinian people for the suffering that happened 70 years ago. We want to express our indignation at the persistent injustice that is being done to them.”
  • Pax Christi Flanders organized a “Peace Journey” to Israel in September 2016, with Broederlijk Delen. Due to the Israeli policy of denying entry to leading activists involved in BDS, Brigitte Herremans, a Middle East expert with Pax Christi Flanders and Broederlijk Delen, was denied entry.
    • In an interview on Flemish Radio 1 on September 12, 2016, Herremans called for “sanctions against Israel” and to “subject Israeli citizens who come to Belgium to interrogation.” In the same interview, when asked about reports that showed a rise in antisemitism in Belgium, Herremans accused “Israel’s allies” of “inflating” the level of antisemitism in order to “distract from its treatment of Palestinians.”
    • Herremans also encourages the EU “to confront Israel with the fundamental choice of whether it wants to continue its occupation and systematic violations of international law (with all the criticism that comes along with this) or if it wants to be a full and respected member of the international community.”

Pax Christi UK

  • Pax Christi UK has created resources for the World Council of Churches’ “World Week for Peace in Palestine & Israel,” which seeks to target policy-makers, community groups, and local parishes regarding “the urgent need” to end the “illegal occupation and secure the legitimate rights and future of both peoples.” (See here for NGO Monitor’s factsheet on the World Council of Churches’ “World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel”- September 21-27, 2014.)
  • Pax Christi UK organized a “Peace Education Workshop,” encouraging “young people to critically engage with arguments from all sides of the conflict.”  The workshop “attempts to give some sense of the frustrations of life behind barriers where checkpoints regulate and restrict movement” and urges young people to play the “role of guards” and “decide on criteria for admitting people (for example, anybody wearing jeans is kept out) or keep in wholly irrational,” thus implying that Israeli security criteria and concerns are irrational and unfounded. The workshop pamphlet accuses Israel of “[c]ollective punishment,” “house demolitions,” and “torture.”

PAX (Netherlands)

  • According to its website, “PAX is a partnership between IKV (Interchurch Peace Council) and Pax Christi. In 2006, the two organisations merged under the name IKV Pax Christi. As of 29 January 2014, the new name of the organisation is PAX.”
  • PAX, along with Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation (ICCO) and Oxfam Novib (and Cordaid until January 2016), formed the organization United Civilians for Peace, which advocates for BDS campaigns against Israel and partners with highly politicized NGOs.
  • IKV Pax Christi (Netherlands) co-published an October 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.
  • PAX supports a boycott of “products from settlements” and calls on citizens, the business community and investment companies in the Netherlands to cooperate with this international pressure by not buying products from Israeli settlements.

Pax Christi Germany

  • In May 2014, Pax Christi Germany began targeting Heidelberg Cement and called to “divest from its Israeli affiliate, Hanson Israel.” Pax falsely accused Israel of human rights violations and erroneously argued that conducting business with Israel amounts to furthering these alleged violations.
  • In January 2014, the German branch of Pax Christi called on the German government to sanction Israel by not providing defensive weapons and missile speedboats, saying that such a deal would “further arm Israeli apartheid.”

Pax Christi Australia

  • Pax Christi Australia sent a 2012 letter to Australian politician Bob Carr stating that the organization is “deeply concerned” that the government is “giving Australians the deceitful impression that Israel… is, or can be, the innocent victim of Hamas’ rockets,” and that “the unequivocal support of you and the Government you represent for Israel’s impunity to commit war crimes demean Australian decency.”

Pax Christi USA

  • In March 2016, Pax Christi USA announced that it signed a statement from Friends of Sabeel North America condemning anti-BDS laws, claiming that such measures threaten the right to “engage in economic advocacy to end the Israeli occupation.”
  • In June 2015, Pax Christi USA lobbied extensively regarding a letter sent to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urging the “Department of State to elevate the human rights of Palestinian children to a priority status in our bilateral relationship with the government of Israel.”

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