The World Council of Churches (WCC) published an open letter to media in response to the new report released by the NGO Monitor criticizing the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI).
The WCC was informed by media in advance of the publication of the report, which describes the EAPPI programme as “The World Council of Churches' Training Camp for Anti-Israel Advocacy”. WCC offers the following comments:
The WCC was established in 1948. WCC is a fellowship of Christian churches around the world representing half a billion Christians, and is committed to the cause of Christian unity and, in that spirit, to “breaking down barriers between people, seeking justice and peace, and upholding the integrity of creation.” As God stands by the oppressed and marginalized, the WCC seeks with its member churches to stand by such people, wherever they are or whatever their faith tradition might be.
On the work in Palestine and Israel
The form of the EAPPI programme as an accompanying presence is a response to a specific call from WCC’s member churches in the region. EAPPI was established to respond to concerns that are, sadly, specific to the region. A similar methodology has been in practice in the context of conflict and widespread human rights violations in Colombia.
EAPPI’s purposes are to accompany local communities, provide a protective international presence, witness events and circumstances, and promote a just peace for all peoples of the region. Its activities are undertaken, to the best of our knowledge, in compliance with all applicable laws.
The situation in Israel and Palestine is one of several geographic focuses of concern for the WCC. Other current geographic focuses include Syria, Iraq, the Korean Peninsula, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ukraine, Nigeria, Nicaragua and Colombia, among others.
Since its founding assembly in 1948, the WCC has denounced antisemitism as a sin against God and humanity, and the WCC strongly maintains that position.
The WCC is aware of the definition of antisemitism adopted and promoted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), which is described by the IHRA as a “non-legally binding working definition”. We note that the IHRA's guidelines refer to "applying double standards by requiring of [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation". WCC expects all nations to respect and apply international human rights and humanitarian law and principles.
On human rights and human dignity
WCC’s engagement in promoting peace and human rights seeks to address root causes, not only symptoms. This necessarily entails advocacy of a broadly political nature. WCC is critical of unjust policies and practices, of violence and of violations of human dignity and rights in many different contexts.
On boycott of goods and services from illegal settlements
WCC does not promote boycotts based on nationality in this or any other context. Nor does WCC promote economic measures against Israel. It does however have a longstanding policy position in favour of boycotting goods and services from settlements (considered internationally as illegal) in the occupied Palestinian territories.
For more information
For questions regarding the EAPPI programme or interview requests to the WCC:
WCC director of communication Marianne Ejdersten; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, mobile phone: +41 79 507 63 63
Please contact WCC Media, Claus Grue; email: email@example.com, phone +46 70 611 09 77