BDS ‘tourists’ return to Israel, resume provocations

“The World Council of Churches and their accompaniment program do nothing apart from fueling the fires of conflict,” said Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg.

By World Israel News Staff

After a long hiatus due to COVID-19, the World Council of Churches’ controversial “ecumenical accompaniers” have returned to Israel, the pro-Israel watchdog group Im Tirtzu reported this week.

The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI), which sends operatives to Israel to “monitor” and “report human rights abuses,” is the flagship program of the World Council of Churches that boasts a “fellowship of 352 churches from more than 120 countries, representing over 580 million Christians worldwide.”

According to the EAPPI, since its founding in 2002 it has sent more than 1,800 accompaniers to Israel to “witness life under occupation” and to be “the first to respond to human rights violations.”

The accompaniers enter the country predominately using tourist visas and then proceed to operate in Judea, Samaria or Jerusalem for three months, Im Tirtzu noted. Upon their return home, they share their experiences with their churches and communities.

EAPPI has come under fire from an array of pro-Israel groups that have shed light on the EAPPI’s anti-Israel activities, the watchdog continued, noting that the accompaniers violate the conditions of their tourist visas by harassing IDF soldiers and residents. Upon their return home, they engage in anti-Israel advocacy, including promoting BDS and smearing Israel as an “apartheid” state.

In 2019, the EAPPI pulled its accompaniers from Hebron in response to an initiative by Im Tirtzu, which sent its members to film and expose EAPPI operatives.

This week, Im Tirtzu reported that EAPPI members have returned to Hebron for the first time since the pandemic.

In response to the EAPPI’s return, Im Tirtzu has resumed filming EAPPI’s activities and put up large banners in Hebron informing IDF soldiers about the illegal presence of the accompaniers, urging soldiers to report them to the authorities.

Hebrew-language banners posted throughout Hebron read “Pay Attention! Have You Seen an Illegal Foreign BDS Activist from EAPPI? Report It Immediately!” and “Attention, Soldier! A Foreign BDS Activist Is Above You.”

“The World Council of Churches and their accompaniment program do nothing apart from fueling the fires of conflict,” said Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg. “These so-called accompaniers film and harass IDF soldiers and seek out provocations in order to cast Israel in a negative light back home.”

Peleg added: “We will continue working hard to oppose the EAPPI’s anti-Israel activities and to see to it that these provocateurs are not allowed to enter the country.”