World Council of Churches running BDS program in Israel

The World Council of Churches has brought 1,800 volunteers to Judea and Samaria to “witness life under occupation.”

By David Isaac, World Israel News

The World Council of Churches (WCC), an organization with a pronounced anti-Israel bias since its founding, has been shipping in activists to Judea and Samaria to “witness life under occupation,” according to a new report by NGO Monitor.

These international activists work under the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI), WCC’s flagship project on Israel and the Arab-Israel conflict. EAPPI has brought 1,800 activists to Israel since its founding in 2002.

These volunteers, known by EAPPI as “Ecumenical Accompaniers,” travel to Israel on tourist visas. They are first trained for 10 days in Jerusalem, after which they are sent to various towns in Judea and Samaria as well as checkpoints and other friction points between Arabs and Jews.

EAPPI maintains an ongoing presence of 25 to 30 of these activists, who stay in the country for a period of three months, “offering protective presence, and witness… monitoring and reporting human rights abuses,” says the NGO Monitor report, quoting EAPPI terminology.

The information these activists gather is “fed into U.N. systems,” according to the report.

Activists return to their countries where they share “first-hand experiences to open the eyes of their communities, churches and governments to the realities of occupation,” according to EAPPI’s website.

In fact, says NGO Monitor, upon their return to their communities, these activists “engage in anti-Israel advocacy, such as BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns,” and compare “Israel to apartheid South Africa and Nazi Germany.”

“EAPPI is a project of WCC and therefore reflects its ideology and theology. This includes support for ‘an international boycott of goods and services from illegal Israeli settlements,'” NGO Monitor says.

In its report, NGO Monitor provides several anti-Israel statements by senior WCC leadership, including WCC’s General Secretary Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit.

NGO Monitor says its report is the first comprehensive look at EAPPI’s structure, financing and goals.

The report offers several recommendations, suggesting donor governments rethink funding EAPPI and that the Israeli government develop a “consistence, fact-based policy” to deal with delegitimization campaigns like that of WCC.

Finally, NGO Monitor offered its two-cents to WCC, suggesting that it not “promote an ideology that denies Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State,” if it hopes to improve its image among Jews worldwide and within Israel.