Category Archives: International

ZAMBIA: GÉN. PROFESSOR, DR. PASTOR MUPENZI JEAN DE LA PAIX DEPORTED.

A SUSPECTED M23 rebel from the Democratic Republic of Congo has been deported to Rwanda by the department of Immigration on grounds that his presence is likely to endanger peace and good order in Zambia. This is according to a statement issued on Tuesday by department of Immigration public relations officer Namati Nshinka.

Would You Want Your Vaccine Produced by Supporters of Jihad? by Judith Bergman

  • “Selling the crucial manufacture of vaccines to an ideologically hostile country, which might – for whatever reason – suddenly decide to shut down production, does not sound like a good idea… Those who say that the Saudis are merely interested in profit, just like everybody else, should know better”. — Rachel Ehrenfeld, expert on financing terrorism
  • Virtually all political parties supported the Danish government’s sale of its vaccine manufacturing facility to the Saudi conglomerate.

  • After the publication of the Danish Mohammad cartoons in 2006, Saudis boycotted Danish goods. Do Danish politicians really have such short memories?
  • Vaccines are not an easy commodity to come by. It takes minimum six months for an order of vaccines to be delivered, but, according to the World Health Organization, delivery can also easily take up to two years.
  • How much trust are Danish consumers supposed to have in a Saudi owned conglomerate, which employs jihadists such as Usmani and donates heavily to jihadist organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood, who want to bring about a caliphate? The potential for political exploitation is too evident to reject.

Would you want your vaccines produced by a Saudi company that supports jihad? Danes, it seems, may have no choice.

Denmark recently sold its state-owned vaccine manufacturing facility to a conglomerate owned by the Aljomaih Group, a Saudi family dynasty[1] led by Sheikh AbdulAziz Hamad Aljomaih. The sheikh is also the largest single stockholder and chairman of Arcapita Bank, (formerly First Islamic Investment Bank) headquartered in Bahrain. As an Islamic bank, it has a so-called Sharia Supervisory Board comprised of Islamic scholars, who ensure that the bank’s activities comply with sharia (Islamic law).

Former Islamic judge and leading Islamic scholar Taqi Usmani, who sits on the bank’s Sharia Board, in his book, “Islam and Modernism”, writes ruminations such as: “Aggressive Jihad is lawful even today… Its justification cannot be veiled…”

Usami had also, after Danish newspapers reprinted the Mohammad cartoons in 2008, co-signed an appeal to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), urging it to boycott Denmark:

“If the Danish government does not declare the [publication of] shameful and blasphemous cartoons as a criminal act, the OIC [should] appeal to all Islamic nations for a trade boycott of that bigoted country”.

Equally noteworthy is that the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Yussuf al-Qaradawi, used to sit on Arcapita’s sharia board, until he eventually resigned. Qaradawi, already in 1995, told a Muslim Arab Youth Association convention in Toledo, Ohio, “We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America!” According to Qaradawi, sharia law should be introduced gradually, over a five-year period in a new country. Presumably, this gradually-introduced sharia legal system would include the end of free speech under “blasphemy laws”, the denigration and oppression of women, such as women worth half as much as men in court, polygamy, the persecution of Jews (Qaradawi advocates killing all of them), beating wives as a way of “disciplining” them and so on. Only after this transition phase, sharia laws such as killing apostates and homosexuals, as well as chopping off hands for theft, would be introduced.

Given Qaradawi’s former prominence in Arcapita, it hardly comes as a surprise that the bank has given financial support to the Muslim Brotherhood in Bahrain, known there as the Al Islah Society. According to a leaked report by former US Ambassador to Bahrain, Ambassador William T. Monroe:

“Arcapita reported giving a total $591,000 in 2003 and $583,000 in 2002 to a variety of charitable organizations… the Islamic Education Society (Al Tarbiya Al Islamiya – Sunni Salafi) and the Al Islah Society (Sunni Muslim Brotherhood) are the largest beneficiaries of Arcapita’s charitable giving… We are aware of concerns linking Arcapita advisors and staff to questionable organizations.”

In August 2016, the Danish government announced that it “…rejects any organization representing antidemocratic and radicalized environments” and considers the Muslim Brotherhood to be “deeply problematic” and something they “strongly reject”.

Clearly not strongly enough.

“Selling the crucial manufacture of vaccines to an ideologically hostile country, which might — for whatever reason — suddenly decide to shut down production, does not sound like a good idea. Those who say that the Saudis are merely interested in profit, just like everybody else, should know better”, Rachel Ehrenfeld, an expert on the financing of terrorism, told Ekstra Bladet.

Denmark’s Statens Serum Institut (State Serum Institute). Image source: Wikimedia Commons/Froztbyte.

Virtually all political parties supported the Danish government’s sale of its vaccine manufacturing facility to the Saudi conglomerate. This is strange, given the recent history of Danish-Saudi relations.

After the publication of the Danish Mohammad cartoons in 2006, Saudis boycotted Danish goods. Saudi Arabia’s religious leader, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheik, demanded that the Danish government hold Jyllands-Posten, the newspaper that printed the Mohammad cartoons, to account and force the newspaper to give an apology: “The government should give [the newspaper] a fine as a deterrence. This is the least that Muslims should demand”, he said.

Do Danish politicians really have such short memories?

Vaccines are not an easy commodity to come by. It takes minimum of six months for an order of vaccines to be delivered, but, according to the World Health Organization, delivery can also easily take up to two years. Astonishingly, the Danish state has given the Aljomaih group an incredible start by promising to buy all its children’s vaccines from the sheikh for the first 30 months. Only after that will Danish authorities be able to buy their children’s vaccines elsewhere. The Danish government has also promised the Aljomaih group not to create new Danish state vaccine production for the first three years.

Should consumers not be able to trust a producer of something as critical as vaccines? How much trust are Danish consumers supposed to have in a Saudi owned conglomerate, which employs jihadists such as Usmani, which donates heavily to jihadist organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood, which in turn wants to bring about a caliphate? The potential for political exploitation is too evident to reject. Ekstra Bladet ran a poll on its website asking whether Danes were in favor or against the sale: 95% were against it.

Even more remarkable is that the government claims not to have known about the connection between the Muslim Brotherhood and Aljomaih; all the information is easily accessible on the internet.

Health Minister Ellen Trane Nørby has defended the sale: “We did not have several buyers to choose from. We have the buyer we have and it has saved 600 Danish jobs, which would otherwise have been lost”.

Is she saying that the safety of Danish citizens is worth 600 jobs?

The sale of the Danish vaccine production facility to the Saudi conglomerate captures perfectly everything that is wrong with European politicians today: their apparent gullibility, their carelessness and their desire to sell out to places such as Saudi Arabia, seemingly without giving much thought to the long-term consequences.

Judith Bergman is a writer, columnist, lawyer and political analyst.

World Council of Churches Struggles with the Truth – Again by Malcolm Lowe

  • The open letter from the World Council of Churches (WCC) should have first quoted the three points from my article, then answered them one by one. Such a letter, however, was impossible, because all three points are simply and obviously correct. Instead, the WCC wrote a letter that completely ignored Tveit’s mistakes and falsely claimed that he was using only UN sources, apparently trusting that nobody would read my article.

  • If the WCC is truly thirsty for Palestinian water justice, why has it not rushed to the defense of Najat Abu Bakr?
  • Suppose, however, that the WCC wants to start a dialogue based on truth rather than “narratives.” Then there is a way for it to do so.

Two recent Gatestone Institute articles were addressed to the current campaign of the World Council of Churches (WCC) called “Seven Weeks of Water 2016.” In response, the WCC has issued an open letter to Gatestone. This author is responsible only for what his article stated. Conversely, we can examine the WCC’s response exclusively as referring to that article.

The article concerned the “sermon” preached by the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), Olav Fykse Tveit, when he launched the campaign in a Jerusalem church. The sermon can be downloaded from the WCC’s website.

From this viewpoint, the WCC’s open letter contains a plainly false statement. It says: “The information and statistics we employ in the campaign are derived from United Nations sources. None are from the Palestinian Water Authority.”

Read the sermon from beginning to end and back, and you will find only one reference to a United Nations source: that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 100 liters of water per day per person (a target that is missed in many parts of the world). Regarding Palestinian water, Tveit’s “information and statistics” are drawn, as the sermon explicitly says, from the “advocacy group of Palestine, EWASH” (that is, from the Palestinian website “Thirsting for justice”). So, contrary to what the open letter states, Tveit’s sermon, which constituted the opening statement of the campaign and sets the tone for whatever follows, is based on a source openly engaged in pro-Palestinian agitation.

The criticism in my article was addressed to what Tveit unhesitatingly accepted from that source. So note, too, that the open letter makes no attempt to answer, or even to mention, what that criticism was. How could it, since it alleges that Tveit’s sermon is part of a campaign that cites UN data alone?

Moreover, the web page of the campaign contains various “reflections” by Palestinian clerics and WCC employees in the same spirit as Tveit’s sermon. The contribution of Bishop Younan, for instance, makes the same claims about water as Tveit does. It is absurd to claim that the campaign is based exclusively, or even mainly, on UN sources.

The WCC does, however, have good reason for not attempting to deal with my criticism. It is that my criticism is so evidently correct, and Tveit’s claims are so lamentably wrong, that the WCC would make itself look absurd if it quoted the criticism and struggled to find any way around it.

To save the reader time, let us briefly review three main claims made by Tveit and why they are wrong.

First, Tveit claims that “80% of the ground water from Palestine’s mountain aquifer is pumped underneath all the way to Israel.” Likewise Younan: “80% of the water is pumped to Israelis.” You have to be a blind believer in Israeli iniquity not to notice that this statement is prima facie incredible. The suggestion is that Israel has created a network of pumps and pipelines that gather water from wherever it can be found and transfers it all to Israel. Of course, there is no such network.

The truth of the matter is that water falling in the hills, where the main Palestinian cities lie, goes underground, and some of it, thanks to the geology, emerges far away in Israel. This issue was addressed in the Oslo II agreement of 1995, where Israel committed itself to pump a fixed proportion of the estimated annual rainfall in the opposite direction: to connections with the water grid of the Palestinian Authority. So the only question is whether Israel has fulfilled that commitment. It has. That is the end of the matter. All claims that Israel “steals” Palestinian water are based on credulous ignorance or conscious dishonesty. [For more details, see “Palestinian Water (and Martin Schulz): The Lack of Logic“]

Second, Tveit claims that Palestinians enjoy less water per capita than Israelis. Here the point is that his figures may be true or false, but that per capita comparisons are anyway irrelevant. Israel’s obligation is based on the actual amount of rainfall. How much that works out to per capita depends upon how fast the Palestinian population grows, a factor for which the Palestinians themselves are solely responsible.

Third, Tveit complains that Israel strictly limits permits to sink wells in Area C of the West Bank. Why Israel is right to do so can be seen from the case of Gaza, where uncontrolled digging of wells has made the ground water undrinkable because the drop in the water level led to contamination by an inflow of sea water.

The proper form of response from the WCC would have been to write an open letter that first quoted the three points from my article, then answered them one by one. Such a letter, however, was impossible, because all three points are simply and obviously correct. Instead, the WCC wrote a letter that completely ignored Tveit’s mistakes and falsely claimed that he was using only United Nations sources, apparently trusting that then nobody would read the article itself.

The World Council of Churches (WCC) published an open letter to Gatestone Institute last week, concerning a pseudo-Christian political “sermon” given by WCC General Secretary Olav Fykse Tveit (pictured left) at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Jerusalem (right). [Image source: Vidar Ellingsen/Innovasjon Norge (Tveit), Wikimedia Commons (Church)]

The WCC makes much of how Palestinians are “thirsting for justice.” Only it has turned its eyes away from the thirst of Palestinians for justice from the Palestinian Authority (PA) itself. These very days, a Palestinian legislator, Najat Abu Bakr, sought refuge in the building of the Palestinian Legislative Council after PA President Mahmoud Abbas ordered her arrest. Her offence was to accuse one of Abbas’s ministers of — wait for it — stealing Palestinian water and selling it privately.

There have been various protests on her behalf, one of them in a Gatestone article by Israeli Arab writer Khaled Abu Toameh. If the WCC is truly thirsty for Palestinian water justice, why has it not rushed to the defense of Najat Abu Bakr?

The “open letter” of the WCC proposes the opening of a dialogue. What does that mean? If the WCC envisages a meeting of Palestinians and Israelis in which each participant mouths his or her “narrative,” then — first of all — it can hardly take place, since the Palestinians have imposed a ban on all such “normalization” of Israeli-Palestinian relations. They also impose sanctions upon any Palestinian who, nevertheless, ventures to talk with Israelis. Second, a “narrative” in that sense, as this author wrote elsewhere, is often “a pack of lies that demands immediate uncritical assent.” In a publicly staged debate of “narratives,” the one who shouts loudest walks away as the acclaimed victor, but neither truth nor justice is served.

Suppose, however, that the WCC wants to start a dialogue based on truth rather than “narratives.” Then there is a way for it to do so. It should send Gatestone a fresh open letter that includes the following three points:

  1. A statement that the WCC has removed from its website that section of Tveit’s sermon which was based on EWASH and that such allegations will no longer be part of Seven Weeks of Water 2016. The WCC will also have to withdraw the Order of Worship that it sent out. In this worship, hundreds of millions of Christians are requested to chant Israel’s guilt and the innocence of Palestinians, including the lie that “80% of the water is pumped to Israelis.”
  2. An admission that its original open letter was mistaken in claiming that Tveit’s sermon was based only on United Nations sources.
  3. A call for the persecution of Najat Abu Bakr to cease and for an impartial investigation of her claim that a Palestinian minister has been stealing Palestinian water. This call, the WCC should also promise, will be made part of Seven Weeks of Water 2016.

If the WCC can do those three things, then a dialogue based on truth, as opposed to “narratives,” could emerge.

Malcolm Lowe is a Welsh scholar specialized in Greek philosophy, the New Testament and interfaith relations.

World Council of Churches Starts Seven Weeks of Brainwashing General Secretary Tveit Recycles Dirty Old Water Lies by Malcolm Lowe

  • Palestinian propagandists constantly disseminate false accusations that Israel steals Palestinian water. Those allegations have been thoroughly refuted many times and are to be catalogued under the rubric of typical Palestinian propaganda lies.

  • If General Secretary Tveit seriously wants to help Palestinians, he should explain why Israelis enjoy so much more water per capita — to contrast the brilliance of Israel’s elimination of its former water problems with the utter incompetence of the Palestinian Authority to deal with its own problems. And to exhort the Palestinians to learn from Israel instead of vainly slandering Israel.
  • Israel now recycles 80% of waste water. Desalination plants have been erected along the Mediterranean coast, so that now Israel has an abundance of water. All this costs money, so Israelis pay more for their water and there is a punitive water price for anything above a legally defined level of domestic per capita water. Under the Palestinian Authority, it is the opposite. Up to 30% of their water has been estimated to go lost in their water delivery systems. Waste water is released to pollute the PA’s land, and some flows downhill to pollute Israel as well. Large numbers of Palestinians either do not pay water bills or simply steal water by illegal connections.

February 12, 2016, was a day of fresh hope for the suffering Christians of the Middle East. Pope Francis of Rome and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow met in Havana, Cuba, to issue a joint message to the world. After pledging themselves to change the history of schism between Eastern and Western Christianity, they placed the contemporary merciless persecution of Christians at the top of their agenda:

“Our gaze must firstly turn to those regions of the world where Christians are victims of persecution. In many countries of the Middle East and North Africa whole families, villages and cities of our brothers and sisters in Christ are being completely exterminated. Their churches are being barbarously ravaged and looted, their sacred objects profaned, their monuments destroyed…”

These were not empty words. The Moscow Patriarchate has collected large sums of money from its faithful to help the persecuted Christians of Syria. Likewise, the Roman Catholic Church, and specifically the Franciscan Order, is working at its own peril on the ground in Syria to relieve the suffering.

By coincidence, the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), Olav Fyske Tveit (pronounced to rhyme with “state,” not “twit”), was on the ground in the Middle East. Only he was not there to show any concern for the Christians victims of Islamic militias in Syria and Iraq. Nor had he time for the persecution of Copts in Egypt, which continues despite the efforts of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to suppress attacks by Muslims upon Christian churches.

As many will have guessed, Tveit came to Jerusalem to pursue the decades-old obsession of the WCC with Palestine, Palestine and Palestine, to the detriment of Middle East Christians elsewhere, as an earlier article detailed. At a service in a Jerusalem church, hosted by Lutheran Arab Bishop Munib Younan and accompanied by the Archbishop of Sweden, Tveit was there to launch “Seven Weeks of Water 2016.”

We can let others describe the solemnly nonsensical ceremony and concentrate on the “sermon” (or rather pseudo-Christian political harangue) delivered by Tveit. It is available for download from the relevant webpage of the WCC. But first, consider some basic definitions.

Palestinian propagandists constantly disseminate false accusations that Israel steals Palestinian water. Those allegations have been thoroughly refuted many times and are to be catalogued under the rubric of typical Palestinian propaganda lies. This does not worry the propagandists themselves, who continue to repeat the same lies to every newcomer.

A person who hears such lies for the first time, maybe from a Palestinian cleric, and naively believes them is to be defined as an innocent dupe. Someone who repeats such lies year in and year out, despite being given every opportunity to know the truth, and who even sets up a long-term mechanism to perpetuate them, is a shameless liar.

To the former category, in a moment of uncharacteristic hasty judgment, belonged Martin Shulz, the otherwise prudent President of the European Parliament. When he visited Israel in February 2014, he was confronted in Ramallah with such a false statement by a Palestinian youngster, himself a victim of the Palestinian education system. This is the same education system, in place for two decades, that currently produces wave after wave of deluded teenage terrorists.

Shaken by what he heard, Shulz inserted that statement at the last moment into a speech that he was about to give to the Knesset. The Israeli legislators, who recognized the lie immediately as such, broke into a hubbub and some later walked out. Subsequently, Shulz added to the published version of his speech a disclaimer, to the effect that he was merely repeating what he had heard without having time to check the facts. Also the leader of the walkers-out, Naftali Bennett, went to Brussels to seek reconciliation with Mr. Shulz and even presented him with an ancient coin as a sign of friendship. Both men realized that they had made their respective mistakes and both made due amends.

Among others, this author then explained in a readily available article the truths and falsehoods of the matter. Moreover, the WCC has had for years a mechanism, its Ecumenical Water Network (EWN), to deal with water in general, but above all with Palestinian water. Such a mechanism, we may assume, must be aware of the refutation of all the Palestinian lies and irrelevant claims on the matter, at least since 2014. Nonetheless, Tveit’s so-called “sermon” merrily repeated them.

Leaving aside the window dressing of biblical quotations and theological platitudes, let us proceed to the heart of the “sermon,” Tveit’s allegations against Israel, which he takes unhesitantly as gospel truth from the “advocacy group of Palestine, EWASH.” Says he: “80% of the ground water from Palestine’s mountain aquifer is pumped underneath all the way to Israel; and, the Palestinians are left with only 20% of the available water.”

This is an incredible claim: that Israel steals 80% of the water of the Palestinians and pumps it all the way to Israel. Needless to say, no such apparatus of pumps and pipelines exists. The truth, here totally garbled, is quite different. Almost all the Palestinian population is concentrated in a series of cities and villages on the central mountain range running from north to south (Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Hebron). It is also here that rainfall is concentrated, brought by prevalent winds from the west. Much of this water, however, passes through underground rock formations either to the east (mainly to Jericho) or to the west, where it emerges in springs in pre-1967 Israel. So the only person that Tveit can denounce for this “theft” is the Creator of the World.

Nor is the situation unique. Similar cases exist elsewhere on the planet. The standard answer is an agreement whereby the beneficiaries of the situation give a certain percentage of their water to those who live where the rain fell. Naturally, there is no standard formula to calculate the percentage, since it must depend on local factors. Moreover, Israel and the Palestinians made exactly such an agreement in 1995 as part of the Oslo II Accord. In recent years, the amount of rainfall has decreased, but Israel continues to transfer the agreed amount of water and even more.

In other words, the central accusation of Palestinians – that Israel steals water from them – has been refuted for more than twenty years. Nevertheless, Palestinian propagandists – since truth matters neither to them nor to their eager audiences of Israel haters – continue to propagate the lie.

Says Tveit further, also quoting EWASH: “on an average, Ramallah receives more rainfall than London. However, the average per capita water consumption in London is 150 litres/day compared to that of only 70 litres/day for an average Palestinian. On the other hand, the per capita consumption for Israel is 300 litres/day.”

It does not matter whether these figures are true or just more lies. The point here is that the figures are utterly irrelevant. Israel’s obligation to the Palestinians is based exclusively upon the volume of rain that falls in the mountains. How much this works out per capita depends upon something else: how many Palestinians there are to use it. The obligation is the same whether the areas of the Palestinian Authority contain just one hundred Palestinians or one hundred million Palestinians. If the Palestinians are engaged in a population explosion that doubles their population every twenty years, as they claim (whether truthfully or not), that is entirely their own responsibility and not Israel’s.

Consequently, any accusations against Israel that allege per capita figures of water usage are null and void and should be immediately rejected and ignored. Whenever Palestinians confront you with such per capita data, as they invariably do, you should know that they are attempting to blind you with irrelevant information. As does Tveit.

What Tveit should have thought and spoken about, if he seriously wanted to help Palestinians, was to explain why Israelis enjoy so much more water per capita – to contrast the brilliance of Israel’s elimination of its former water problems with the utter incompetence of the Palestinian Authority to deal with its own problems. And to exhort the Palestinians to learn from Israel instead of vainly slandering Israel. Indeed, his whole Ecumenical Water Network, if it is worth anything, should be recommending the Israeli model worldwide.

Until a few years ago, Israel was highly susceptible to sharp variations in annual rainfall. It has now solved the problem by a combination of legislation and technical initiatives. Recycling now reclaims some 80% of waste water. New desalination plants have been erected along the Mediterranean coast, so that now Israel has an abundance of water to start with. All this costs money, so Israelis do pay more for their water and there is a punitive water price for anything above a legally defined level of domestic per capita water.

Under the Palestinian Authority, it is all the opposite. Up to 30% of their water has been estimated to go lost in the systems that deliver their water. Waste water is released to pollute the Palestinian Authority’s land and some of it flows downhill to pollute Israel as well. What is recycled, as in Tveit’s case, are just dirty old water lies. While the Palestinian Authority (PA) lacks a coast, Oslo II did permit it to exploit the eastern mountain aquifer, which it barely does. In addition, very large numbers of Palestinians either do not pay water bills or simply steal water by illegal connections to the water grid. It is the same with Palestinian electricity: bills are not paid and illegal connections are made with impunity.

Rather than enforce whatever laws it has, the Palestinian Authority simply orders more water and electricity from the Israeli grids. Yet it, too, does not pay its bills: it is typically hundreds of millions of shekels in arrears.

Israel spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the last few years to build water desalination plants on its Mediterranean coast, so that now Israel has an abundance of water. At the same time, Palestinian propagandists constantly disseminate false accusations that Israel steals Palestinian water. Pictured above, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro tours the Hadera Desalination Plant on July 26, 2012. (Image source: U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv)

And do not let anyone deceive you with claims that Israeli settlements in the West Bank are stealing Palestinian water. The major settlement blocks have been connected to the Israeli water grid, so they are receiving and paying for Israeli water.

The third claim taken by Tveit from EWASH is that “only 1.5% of the applications by the Palestinians for digging wells and other water facilities in Area C have been approved by Israeli authorities over the past 4 years.” Anyone with an understanding of hydrology should applaud this fact, if fact it be. Area C (the Palestinian population of which has always been small) comprises arid or semi-arid regions, where the sinking of wells has to be strictly controlled.

This situation can be seen in Gaza. Here the natural rock formations are the reverse: rainwater falling in Israel is funnelled underground to Gaza. That is why Gaza was a fruitful oasis throughout millennia of human history. Since the Palestinian Authority was set up in Gaza in 1993 (under the Oslo I Accord), and since Hamas seized power in 2007, the proliferation of uncontrolled well-drilling by Palestinians has led to a drop in ground water level and an encroachment of sea water. It has made the ground water undrinkable. The Gazans have destroyed God’s gift, taken from Israel and given to them. So they now only import drinkable water from water-thrifty Israel.

The WCC’s Seven Weeks of Water will be in effect Seven Weeks of Brainwashing. As the WCC’s dirty water pours into member churches, it will pollute the minds of naïve ignorant Christians and it will be lapped up by pretend-Christian Israel haters, as if they were giving themselves shots of a Class A drug. As for the miseries of Middle East Christians, the WCC will succeed, as usual, in removing them from the agenda for the sake of “Palestine.”

Regarding Tveit himself, he no longer has any excuse for repeating lies. If he truly was utterly ignorant of the truth, he can show it by admitting ignorance hitherto, expressing remorse and cancelling his seven wet weeks. We have no confidence, however, that any such thing as a true evaluation of the matter is of any interest to him and his like.

One of Tveit’s predecessors, Konrad Raiser, did once admit that the WCC had wrongly disregarded the truth. It had done so, he said, in its attitude to Soviet dissidents. But his was merely a sin of omission, easier to regret. In any case, he admitted it only after he had left office and the Soviet Union had disappeared.

The current WCC has multiplied sins of commission by founding an alphabet soup of subsidiaries that militate against Israel: EAPPI, KP, EWN, PJP… (never mind the inventive titles that they stand for). EAPPI, for instance, recruits volunteers from churches all over the world to have their heads stuffed for three months with Palestinian allegations. (Three months – because that is the longest visa that Israel grants to visitors who claim to be tourists.) The well-intentioned volunteers are afforded no opportunity of verifying those accusations against Israel. They are then obliged to spend another three months touring their own churches and repeating the allegations. Truth is not merely ignored, it is of systemic insignificance.

Malcolm Lowe is a Welsh scholar specialized in Greek philosophy, the New Testament and interfaith relations.

World Council of Churches Demonizes Israel – Again Does the German Protestant Church Know What It Is Doing? by Thomas Smith

  • Usually, in regular Lenten services, solemn memories of divine mercy on the sinners of the world take center stage for Christians. But not in this liturgy. Center stage was instead given to committing a sin of evil speech: launching a lie about an Israeli-made water shortage suffered by Palestinians. The lie is a sin in which all the member churches of the WCC are invited to participate.

  • Those leaders of Protestant churches, turned into political propagandists, used the pulpit of Jerusalem unjustly to call upon the Protestant faithful worldwide to listen to Palestinian water libels against the State of Israel.
  • This liturgy abused the biblical readings as a means of invigorating the equally false Kairos Palestine message, that Israel takes the Land of Palestine and has no right to be where it is.
  • A close look shows no scientific analysis, neither of water distribution nor of water politics for the territories of Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).
  • The Palestinians certainly are experiencing a water crisis; the question is to what extent are they themselves are responsible for it, and to what extent are their own leaders responsible for keeping them as victims for effective international “marketing.”

On February 10 (Ash Wednesday in the Western Christian calendar), the Palestinian Lutheran Bishop, Munib Younan, on behalf of the World Council of Churches (WCC), launched the Lenten Campaign of the Ecumenical Water Network. Entitled “Seven Weeks for Water,” it was presented at the (German) Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Younan — a “yes-signatory/no-signatory” of the infamous document published by Kairos Palestine in 2009 — was flanked by other well-known supporters of Palestinian agitation against Israel:

  • Dr. Antje Jackelen, the Archbishop of Sweden, (another “yes-advocate/no-advocate” of the document)
  • Rev. Dr. Olaf Fykse Tveit, the General Secretary of the WCC (he heads the body that generated Kairos Palestine and continues to be its main sponsor)
  • Mrs. Hind Khoury, the current Secretary General of Kairos Palestine; also a Palestinian economist from Bethlehem and PLO delegate general to France 2006-10)
  • Mr. Dinesh Suna, the Coordinator of the Ecumenical Water Network

The Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Jerusalem, Israel. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

It was an impressive group of seasoned activists for Palestine who gathered for a ten-page prefabricated liturgy during an hour-long church service. The few people in the pews were to be sensitized about an alleged injustice to the Palestinian people: the supposed deprivation of rightful quantities of water by supposedly evil Israelis. In order to bring some action into this otherwise flow of distorted information, each participant got a cross of ash on his forehead — possibly one of the few remnants of the Christian custom of Lent.

In regular Lenten services, for seven weeks until Easter, solemn memories of divine mercy on the sinners of the world take center stage for Christians. But not in this liturgy. Center stage was instead given solemnly to committing a sin of evil speech: launching a lie about an Israeli-made water shortage suffered by Palestinians, a sin that all present were invited to commit daily for the next seven weeks; a sin in which all the member churches of the WCC are invited to participate.

Those leaders of the Protestant churches, turned into political propagandists without even any hindrance, used the pulpit of Jerusalem unjustly to call upon the Protestant faithful worldwide to listen to Palestinian water libels against the State of Israel. This liturgy abused the biblical readings as a means of invigorating the equally false Kairos Palestine message, that Israel takes the Land of Palestine and has no right to be where it is.

The WCC acolytes who gathered at the Redeemer Church are now set up to spread this propaganda through a confusing network of seemingly distinct organizations, all of which turn out — on closer inspection — to be WCC subsidiaries.

Two organizations were highlighted: first, the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace (PJP), launched in 2013 at the 10th WCC Assembly in South Korea. The PJP in Jerusalem was accompanied by three strategic support groups: the “Theological Study Group,” the “Reference Group,” and the “International Research Group.” Second, the Ecumenical Water Network (EWN), launched in 2008 as a network of churches and Christian organizations, to keep watch on water access. Although PJP and EWN seem to be two different entities, the WCC’s press center advertised its Seven Weeks for Water campaign as a

“pilgrimage of water justice in the Middle East, with specific reference to Palestine. The Biblico-theological reflections and resources for the seven weeks will be based on the water crisis in Middle East region and take into consideration issues of justice and peace.”

That is, the work of PJP and EWN is closely interlinked. Both groups, in fact, are committed to the Palestinian cause and can be best understood as parts of the WCC-sponsored network that implements the Kairos Palestine agenda.

A close look at the EWN website shows no scientific analysis, neither of water distribution nor of water politics for the territories of Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA). The EWN material also shows no reference to any of the existing water distribution analyses in Israel (e.g.: here and here). Neither is the well-documented mismanagement of water by the Palestinian Authority mentioned, nor is Israel’s just and generous over-the-quota water support for the PA areas.

The aim of the water campaign clearly appears to spring from an unjust and unsubstantiated discrimination against the State of Israel, as propagated in the Kairos Palestine statement. The intent of launching the Seven Weeks for Water campaign was unashamedly addressed by Tveit in his sermon,

“As the WCC’s Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace is focused on issues of the Middle East, particularly in this year, we hope your stories and struggle for justice and peace will become the stories and struggle for the churches around the world. May this Lenten season help us to reflect on these issues more deeply. May the Seven Weeks for Water during this Lent help us to highlight the water crisis in Palestine and other places in the world in desperate need for more clean water.”

Such Palestinian narratives had been collected, a short time before the services at the Redeemer Church, under the watchful eyes of Bishop Younan, when the “International Research Group” met in Bethlehem. Dinesh Suna wrote on his Facebook page:

“The IRG meeting of the WCC’s Pilgrimage of justice and Peace started today at Bethlehem. To set the tone of the discussion we went to listen to stories of struggle to end occupation of Palestine by Israel. It was quite a touching moment for us to hear these stories…”

Did these people ever meet with Israelis, as well? Did the “International Research Group” ever research the countless academic water analyses, which are freely available on-line? There is no reference that either activity ever took place.

Instead, we are informed, the WCC’s PJP is organizing “two strategically important groups” in “the Holy Land” between February 9-17. One is PJP’s “Theological Study Group” at the Roman Catholic St. Anne’s Church in Jerusalem on February 9-11, “in order to deepen the theology for accompanying PJP.”

The other is PJP’s “Reference Group” in Bethlehem, February 12-17, presumably for parading more “eyewitnesses of the water crisis.” The Palestinians certainly are experiencing a water crisis; the question is, or should be, for their sake, to what extent are they themselves are responsible for it, and to what extent are their own leaders responsible for keeping them as victims to have them appear more wretched for effective international “marketing.”

Tveit and his WCC staff accompany both groups. The point of this money-intensive travel of those well-salaried clergy-cum-politicians is not to solve any misery. Rather, it is, as Tveit sermonized: “we hope your stories and struggle for justice and peace will become the stories and struggle for the churches around the world.”

In short, the WCC invites the Christian world to join in an assault upon the State of Israel. This is the actual underlying message of Kairos Palestine and PJP’s Seven Weeks for Water campaign.

Predictably, WCC’s PJP projects will find any number of young, enthusiastic, uninformed and naive Christian followers to deceive. And the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Jerusalem is just a perfect location for launching more and more of such initiatives. How curious.

Also curious is that the German Protestant Church, owner of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Jerusalem, and committed to reconciliation with Israel, seems to tolerate WCC approaches against Israel, under the local auspices of the Palestinian Bishop. Is Bishop Younan just a willing fig leaf for German Protestant Church agitation against Israel? Or does the German Protestant Church not know what is going on in its own church in Jerusalem?

Thomas Smith is a scholar based in the Middle East.

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