Church World Service (CWS) is a Christian aid agency comprised of 17 denominations that joined together to deal with post-World War II humanitarian challenges. Currently maintains offices in New York City and Elkhart, Indiana. CWS is involved, on both an organizational and individual-employee level, in activities within the Israeli-Palestinian arena.
One of the founding organizational members of the ACT Alliance, which is active in both Israel and the “Occupied Palestinian Territories.” ACT Alliance supports a boycott of settlement products, and uses the language of boycotts, divestments and sanctions movement (BDS) and provides links to its website.
CWS is also a member of EAPPI (Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel), a program of the World Council of Churches. CWS routinely sends volunteers to participate in EAPPI programs. EAPPI consistently demonizes Israel, making accusations of “apartheid,” “war crimes,” and “Bantustans”; and calls the security barrier, which has saved countless lives from suicide bombings, “evil.” (See NGO Monitor’s background paper on EAPPI.)
Led a November 2006 delegation of African-American religious leaders to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and met with local religious and government leadership. A report summary of their trip is published on the website of the “US Campaign to End the Occupation.” Church World Service Board Representative Dr. Belletech Deressa of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America stated, “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.”
While the CWS website does not appear to contain any statements or activities actively and overtly supporting BDS, Church World Service does appear on the “BDS Index” website on a list of “Christian Organizations Supporting Palestine” due to its delivery of food/medical supplies to a Gaza hospital.
Individual employees are also involved in the Israeli-Palestinian arena both personally and professionally. President and CEO Rev. John McCullough signed the January 2013 letter to President Obama, referring to a “just peace” and “the losses Palestinians have experienced since the Oslo Accords were signed.” He also signed a 2005 letter to President Bush stating that “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has become a threat to the people of the United States.” Steve Weaver, CWS’ Middle East Regional Coordinator, wrote an article in 2009 as his “personal reflection” about the humanitarian situation after “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.