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World Council of Churches rebuts ‘antisemitism’ claim by Israel advocacy group

Christians pilgrims wait in front of the closed Church of the Holy Sepulcher after the church is closed to react to tax demands of the Jerusalem municipality belonging to Israel in Jerusalem on 27 February, 2018 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

The World Council of Churches (WCC) has rejected claims by an Israel advocacy group that its Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) “embodies anti-Semitism”.

According to The Church Times, the WCC was responding to a document published by NGO Monitor, an Israeli organisation which routinely attacks regional and international human rights groups.

As the paper noted, the EAPPI sends “ecumenical accompaniers” (EAs), who “aims to offer a protective presence to vulnerable communities, monitoring and reporting human-rights abuses”.

NGO Monitor has accused the WCC of “singling out Israel” and thus “antisemitism”, through its EAPPI initiative. The group also urged donors to rethink giving to the programme.

READ: ‘Everything Palestinian is targeted by Israel’s occupation’

The WCC called the NGO Monitor accusations “misleading”, stating that “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”, the WCC statement continued.

The WCC also pointed out that it has “geographical focuses” in countries such as Syria, Iraq, and South Sudan.

A further statement from the WCC in response to “continuing accusations” of antisemitism reiterated that its “condemnation of antisemitism is clear and categorical”.

Israel forces assault Coptic Christian priest during protest in Jerusalem – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

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