Comment: There is still hope the World Council of Churches repents

Pope Benedict XVI receives a book by Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general-secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) (photo credit: OSSERVATORE ROMANO / REUTERS)
Pope Benedict XVI receives a book by Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general-secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC)
It may seem like a bit of a coincidence that Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year, and the World Council of Churches’ World Week of Peace in Palestine and Israel 2017, fall during the same week.
As of Monday, the WCC hasn’t sent out any new year’s greeting, as it has done on previous occasions. But the juxtaposition of the two events shouldn’t be overlooked.
On Rosh Hashana, and during the following eight days leading up to and including Yom Kippur, Jews around the world ask God to grant peace to the whole world. The central prayer of the Jewish liturgy, the Amidah, ends with the blessing, “Blessed are you God, the maker of the peace.”
Sunday marked the start of the World Week of Peace in Palestine and Israel 2017, but the week is about anything but peace. Instead it is just a decorative name and an opportunity to bash Israel and try to find favor with the Arab population of the Middle East.
So what exactly is the World Council of Churches working for?
The European Coalition for Israel, for one, has stated that the WCC has a long track record of working against the State of Israel. “It has been widely seen as one of the main instigators behind the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and has often joined forces with Islamist groups in the on-going diplomatic war against Israel,” the organization wrote in its August report. “Through its activities WCC has managed to give modern antisemitism a Christian face.”
Malcolm Lowe, a Welsh scholar who specializes in Greek Philosophy, the New Testament and Christian-Jewish Relations, and who has been familiar with the Israeli reality since 1970, is also quite aware of the organization’s not so peaceful goals. After pointing out the false denunciations of Israel that the secretary-general had made in one of his sermons, Lowe saw that the group was one built on deceptions.
“The WCC Secretariat, in short, is chronically economical with the truth,” he wrote. “No dialogue is possible with such a body, as long as it seeks to mobilize the world’s Christians to denounce Israel with mendacious and irrational chants.”
But even worse, the group itself is only the beginning of this antisemitic monster. In addition, it has created several offshoots of its organization that try to delicately mask its purpose, but fail miserably."
The World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) was created in 2002 “based on a letter and an appeal from local church leaders to create an international presence in the country,” its site said.
The Jerusalem Post
reported last year, however, that Father Gabriel Naddaf, the spiritual leader of the Christian community in Israel, had told French Ambassador Patrick Maisonnave that EAPPI was spearheading a boycott Israel campaign, and they were doing it from the Church of St. Anne in Jerusalem’s Old City. The report concluded that by acquiring tourist visas and not volunteer visas they had managed to sneak into the country and perform illicit activities.
The list of groups, events and statements solely putting the blame on Israel goes on. So why isn’t more action taken against them?
Australian Hal G.P. Colebatch offered an interesting take on the issue in a column last year titled “Antisemitism of the progressive churches,” which is especially relevant to the Jewish High Holy Days.
“While the progressive churches are losing membership hand-over-fist, in Australia, America and Europe, the demographically young, and very often pro-Israel, evangelical churches, are flourishing.”
Let the WCC and the other progressive churches have their struggle now. Because it won’t be long before they either wake up and change their ways or they simply lose the majority of their members. In this season of repentance, let us hope it is the former.