World Council of Churches (WCC)
|In their own words||Call[ing] one another to visible unity in one faith and in one Eucharistic fellowship, expressed in worship and common life in Christ, through witness and service to the world, and to advance towards that unity in order that the world may believe.”|
- The World Council of Churches (WCC) is a collective of “347 churches, denominations and church fellowships in more than 110 countries and territories.”
- In the Middle East, WCC has 12 member churches, all of which are active in the “Israel / Palestine” network.
- The WCC has established several highly biased and politicized subgroups, including Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI), Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF), and the Jerusalem Interchurch Centre (JIC).
- The regional chapter of the WCC, called the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC), was founded in 1974, and includes the Department of Service to the Palestine Refugees (DSPR), a branch that is specifically designated to promote the Palestinian refugee narrative. Within the DSPR, the Near Eastern Council of Churches International Christian Committee (NECC-ICC) dispenses funds to Jerusalem and the West Bank, and the Near East Council of Churches Committee for Refugee Work (NECCCRW) focuses on Gaza.
- Though WCC claims that it “is not a member of any alliance that is generally promoting a boycott or a member of the so-called ‘BDS-movement,’ and that “The WCC has never called for an economic boycott on the state of Israel,” it plays a key role in mobilizing churches worldwide to support international BDS campaigns against Israel, including through the EAPPI and PIEF programs.
- The WCC is a central promoter of the Kairos Palestine document, which characterizes terrorist acts of “armed resistance” as “Palestinian legal resistance” denies the Jewish historical connection to Israel in theological terms, calls to mobilize churches worldwide in the call for BDS, and compares Israel with the South African apartheid regime.
- In December 2016, WCC associate general secretary Prof. Dr Isabel Phiri was denied entry to Israel on the basis of her role in EAPPI and BDS campaigns. According to Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, “Granting an entry permit to activists such as Phiri would in effect reinforce the wrongful activities she and her peers are advancing.”
- In contrast to its claim that it does not support BDS, the WCC calls on member churches to be “more active agents” by “promoting and supporting all non-violent efforts to end the occupation (including considering appropriate economic and other measures).”
- A September 2016 joint statement with the National Council of Churches (NCC) defended discriminatory BDS campaigns and called on the US government to “reconsider” its military aid package to Israel. The statement further claimed that Israel “cannot keep an entire people subject to pressure and violence for many years and not expect a violent reaction.”
- WCC documents (May 2013) imply that Israel’s very existence is illegitimate, accusing it of “sixty-five years  of continuing dispossession of Palestinian people—Christian and Muslim alike—from their land by Israeli occupation.”
- The WCC participated in the infamous NGO Forum of the 2001 Durban Conference, and was instrumental in removing a paragraph in the final declaration that condemned “prevalence of antizionism and attempts to delegitimize the State of Israel through wildly inaccurate charges of genocide, war crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and apartheid, as a virulent contemporary form of anti-Semitism.”
- Engages in international advocacy and in September 2014 presented a “set of recommendations advocating the rights of stateless persons” at the First Global Forum on Statelessness organized by the UNHRC.
- Refers to Christian Zionism “as a form of Christian fundamentalism” and claims that “Christians who promote “Christian Zionism” distort the interpretation of the Word of God and the historic connection of Palestinians—Christians and Muslims—to the Holy Land, enable the manipulation of public opinion by Zionist lobbies, and damage intra-Christian relations.”
- During the 2014 Gaza conflict, WCC released several statements placing sole blame for the conflict on Israel and ignoring Hamas terrorism against Israeli civilians. One statement, issued July 11, alleged that, “What is happening in Gaza now is not an isolated tragedy. These events have to be seen in the context of the occupation of Palestinian territories that began in 1967. The WCC has always called for an end to this illegal occupation and the continuous blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip by Israel. Without an end to the occupation, the cycle of violence will continue.”
- The WCC works closely with Sabeel, a Palestinian NGO that claims that the Palestinians represent a modern-day version of Jesus’ suffering and utilizes deicide imagery and supercessionist rhetoric to demonize Israel and Judaism.
- The WCC and Sabeel published a 2008 resource booklet titled “Imagine Peace,” which maintains that Jesus’ promise of peace is unfulfilled because “this part of the world is under the domination of American/Israeli military power.”
- WCC, together with PIEF, organizes the annual World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel (WWPPI), 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.” The 2014 WWPPI focused on “Palestinian political prisoners” – a term that, in PIEF’s usage, includes terrorists convicted for attacks against civilians. (See here for NGO Monitor’s factsheet on the World Council of Churches’ “World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel”- September 21-27, 2014).
2012-2015 Funding to WCC (Amounts in CHF)
|Direct government funding||
|Indirect government funding to WCC||
|Act for Peace||60,140||35,500*||12,320
|Bread for the World (Germany)||1,584,150||2,248,975.99||5,509,859.96||4,895,365
|Christian Aid (UK)||1,373||92,033.5||102,093.75||139,093.75
|Church World Service||63,914.98||42,060.29||42,982.63||
|DanChurch Aid (Denmark)||208,350||213,126.24||222,952.92||217,682.37
|Diakonie Auslandshilfe - Osterreichische (Germany)||4,862||11,747.37||17,420.50||8,896.40
|EED - Church Development Center (Germany)||3,965,107||3,604,134.1||
|FinnChurch Aid (Finland)||666,074||557,327.5||553,546.21||217,682.75
|HEKS - Swiss Interchurch Aid (Switzerland)||380,870||398,499||350,169.11||304,692
|Kerk in Actie (Netherlands)||574,973||564,588.71||434,780.40||366,280.16
|Lutheran World Federation||457.80||
|Norwegian Church Aid (Norway)||716,995||649,591||521,174.67||469,072.67
|Presbyterian Church (USA)||693,767.75||418,894.98||424,555.02||437,475.67
|Church of Sweden||3,044,752.93||2,861,987.76||2,169,919.35||2,028,397.30
*According to WCC, the full pledged amount was not received in 2014.
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