The Legal Forum for a Zionist and Democratic Israel and the DMU Project has filed a complaint with the Jerusalem Police against the World Council of Churches (WCC) alleging that it has engaged in several illegal activities and is acting against the State of Israel.
The WCC is an international organization with over 500 million members that openly declares its support for the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions).
According to the complaint, the WCC has been running the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI), its flagship project in Israel which has brought some 1,800 volunteers over the past 15 years to Judea and Samaria to “witness life under occupation, engage with local Palestinians and Israelis pursuing a just peace, to change the international community’s involvement in the conflict, urging them to act against injustice in the region.”
The program involves some 25-30 participants known as Ecumenical Accompaniers who operate on the ground for periods of three months, during which they work with fringe political anti-Israel organizations such as B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence. EAPPI’s “extensive advocacy” includes sharing “first-hand experiences to open the eyes of their communities, churches and governments to the realities of occupation.”
NGO Monitor, an independent research institution that tracks other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that use the humanitarian banner as cover for anti-Israel activities, has pointed out in a report published a year ago that the WCC does not run similar activities in other conflict zones, and “by singling out Israel, EAPPI embodies anti-Semitism,” as defined in the International Holocaust Remembrance Association’s (IHRA) working definition.
The police complaint states that the purpose of this program is “to harm the State of Israel on the international level and even spy on it.”
According to the complaint, the activists of the program are told to lie about the purpose of their arrival in Israel as the organization is not authorized to operate in Israel, and thus the organization’s activists are entering Israel illegally under the guise of tourists or pilgrims and hide the real reason for their arrival in Israel.
Another section of the complaint alleges that the EAPPI activists have engaged in espionage against the State of Israel. For years, EAPPI activists have been documenting IDF training, security activities such as checkpoints and arrests, and have publicly released the information.
The organization’s activists regularly take part in disturbances and violent protests within closed military zones and occasionally harm IDF soldiers and police officers.
The EAPPI activists join various anarchists such as the Ta’ayush organization and participate in provocations and document the reactions of IDF soldiers.
According to the complaint, the activists publish blogs and reports against Israel, using false images and lies. In many cases, the reports are subsequently used to harm Israel at international institutions, including at the United Nations and the European Union.
Attorney Yotam Eyal, of the Legal Forum, stated that “the State of Israel has a legal duty to protect itself and its citizens from those seeking to harm it.”
Amit Barak from the DMU project noted that WCC and EAPPI officials have also “been caught up in anti-Semitic statements and their activities also infringe on Jewish and Christian relations in Israel and abroad.”
NGO Monitor found a filmed lecture since deleted from the internet of an EAPPI activist comparing Israel army actions in Hebron to Nazi gas chambers.
“We call on the law authorities, relevant ministers and the security system to wake up and act to enforce the laws of the State of Israel, and eradicate the phenomenon,” he added.
The combined activities of the Israeli groups pressured the WCC into pulling its EAPPI activities out of Hebron in January 2019, Barak said, while calling for their complete ban in Israel.