Los Angeles; August 12, 2019 — The Simon Wiesenthal Center (“the Center”)has denounced several measures adopted by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) at its recently-concluded convention.
One measure copies an anti-Israel resolution introduced in congress, urged action to “ensure that U.S. taxpayer funds not support military detention, interrogation, abuse or ill-treatment of Palestinian children.”
A second measure urges the U.S. to have the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act of 2018 amended in order to remove legislative barriers to future funding of humanitarian aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA), including Lutheran-owned Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem. ELCA also wants the U.S. to restore funding to the United Nations Relief Workers Agency (UNRWA), the U.N. agency in charge of educating Palestinian children.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Center’s associate dean and director of global social action criticized the moves.
“ELCA shouldn’t be criticizing Israel about alleged mistreatment of Palestinian children but rather Hamas’ children as cannon fodder for its terrorist attacks on sovereign Israeli territory,” Rabbi Cooper said. “The Palestinian Authority has the cash to pay Augusta Victoria the $41 million it owes but chooses instead to divert $300 million for its ‘pay-to-slay’ program paying terrorists who succeeded in murdering and injuring innocent Israelis.
“And UNRWA? The U.N. agency is ion the grips of a scandal involving $1 billion of misappropriated funds. Its curriculum continues to teach Palestinian children to venerate terrorists and deny Israel’s existence. Outrageous.”
Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, the Center’s director of interfaith affairs, added: “The measures were passed around the 18th anniversary of the notorious Sbarro suicide attack that claimed the lives of 15 including two Americans. Since that time, the PA has paid out $910,823 to the terrorists involved and their families. We looked unsuccessfully for language in the measures that asked Palestinian parents to stop sending their children out to murder Israeli civilians and to ask the PA to stop funding terrorists.
“We acknowledge that ELCA, to its credit, also reaffirmed its 1994 statement that repudiated Martin Luther’s vicious anti-Semitism, and promised to reach ‘out in love and respect to the Jewish community.’ But if this is what their love looks like, we say, ‘Thanks but no thanks.’”