Jerusalem - Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are again exploiting Christmas to advance immoral anti-Israel campaigns, and in some cases crude antisemitism, says Jerusalem based research institute NGO Monitor. A new report documents the ways in which Christian Aid (UK), Kairos Palestine, Sabeel, War on Want (UK), Amos Trust, and Adalah-NY often use offensive and inflammatory rhetoric in Christmas carols, holiday messages and cards, nativity scenes, and other products.
"NGOs are hijacking Christmas to promote their anti-Israel agenda, including the peace-destroying (BDS) boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign, while ignoring violence perpetrated against Israelis," said Professor Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor. "The manipulation by these organizations of religious symbols is highly offensive, and does nothing to promote co-existence and peace. They are reviving deep-seated Christian antisemitic theology and the ancient libel blaming Jews for the death of Jesus."
Among the blatant examples, both Kairos Palestine and Sabeel invoke antisemitic imagery linked to the charge of deicide. European government and church groups that fund these organizations are enablers that share responsibility for these campaigns.
As in previous years, Christian Aid is using their Christmas materials for politicized attacks against Israel. Christian Aid has published an "Advent Journey" and "Advent Reflections," both under the title of "Healing in this Holy Land." These publications purport to describe the travel restrictions imposed on Palestinians and other forms of suffering due to roadblocks and checkpoints, while completely removing the context of Palestinian mass terror attacks which necessitates them. There are clear theological overtones in this campaign.
In Sabeel's annual Christmas message, Naim Ateek, founder and head of Sabeel, uses an antisemitic analogy equating the Palestinians with Jesus, and Israel with the evil Roman Empire responsible for his death. While Kairos Palestine, together with Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ) published a 32 page "Christmas Alert", which includes distortions on the situation of Palestinian Christians, interlaced with sermons based on themes from the Christian Bible. One of these compares the situation of the Palestinians today with the "Parable of the Vineyard and the Tenants", casting Israelis as the evil tenants, and the Palestinians as Jesus, whom the tenants seek to kill.
Steinberg added, "Funding from European governments, both directly and through out-sourcing designated for international aid, which is provided to these groups and their theologically-charged messages greatly exacerbates the impact and damage. The parliaments and taxpayers in the EU, Ireland, UK, Sweden, Netherlands, Spain, Norway and other countries should demand full transparency and an immediate end to such hate-producing activities."
Click here to read NGO Monitor's report, O Boycott All Ye Faithful: How Anti-Israel NGOs are Abusing Christmas
NGO Monitor (www.ngo-monitor.org), based in Jerusalem, was founded to promote critical debate and accountability regarding the political activities of non-governmental organizations claiming a human rights agenda that are active in the Arab-Israel conflict. NGO Monitor's independent research reports and analysis are quoted frequently in the press, academic publications, by NGO officials and donors, and in governmental and parliamentary discussions.