JERUSALEM – In response to the October 5, 2012 letter to Congress by leaders of several US Protestant denominations calling for an investigation into American foreign aid to Israel, Prof. Gerald Steinberg, President of the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor research institute, released the following statement:

“Behind this letter from a group of US Protestant leaders is the global effort to isolate Israel diplomatically, economically, and culturally, as adopted at the NGO Forum of the 2001 UN World Conference Against Racism, held in Durban, South Africa. Since then, the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign targeting Israel has become a key issue in some mainline Christian denominations around the world. This immoral and discriminatory strategy has now been expanded through actions such as this highly biased letter.”

In 2001, 1,500 groups in the NGO Forum adopted a political war plan against Israel, which NGO Monitor has defined as the “Durban strategy”. Among the accredited NGOs at the conference were a number of mainline Christian denominations that have since become among the major leaders in this war. BDS strategists view the churches as key targets for promoting their anti-Israel agenda.

“In the October 5th letter,” continued Steinberg, “Israel is falsely accused and singled out for condemnation, while Palestinian terror groups carrying out attacks against Israeli civilians are ignored. The word ‘terrorism’ and the names of the groups that carry inhuman attacks against Israeli civilians were ignored by the church leaders responsible for this letter.

According to Steinberg, “this letter and the involvement of church-based organizations is part of a broad campaign seeking to co-opt major Christian denominations to the anti-Israel cause. “Christian leaders who invoke liberal and progressive principles cannot reconcile this with discriminatory campaigns to deny the Jewish people the right to sovereign national equality in the world. This is the intent of BDS and their letter to Congress on denying assistance to Israel.” A number of European governments, plus the United States and Canada, provide major funding for these church-based NGOs that exploit humanitarian frameworks for unprincipled advocacy. NGO Monitor has repeatedly called for transparency in the allocation process for government funding to ensure that taxpayer’s money is not being used to support blatantly biased activities that are the antithesis of promoting peace and understanding. “

For detailed information, see NGO Monitor’s report BDS in the Pews: European, US, and Canadian Government Funding Behind Anti-Israel Activism in Mainline Churches.