ELCA leaders and even members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) should be very concerned that they will be denied entry into the Jewish State. They are members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America which has been actively working to harm Israel. (see here and here)
Last year the ELCA approved two resolutions aimed at Israel. One calls on the United States government to end all aid to Israel until a list of ELCA demands are met. The other resolution is titled “Justice for the Holy Land through Responsible Investment.” The resolution’s main aim is to stop investments in Israel and select companies that do business with Israel. (See here and here)
An article titled “Evangelical Lutherans Divest from Israel over 'Settlement' Activity” speaks to last year’s votes by the ELCA. (see here)
During an interview in 2014, before the 2016 resolutions, the ELCA’s highest bishop outlined the different actions the ELCA had taken concerning Israel. This is what she said:
- “We've urged our government not to engage in grants to the state of Israel while the settlements are going on.”
- “We also support that the blockade of Gaza be lifted.”
- “We also engage in selective purchasing. So we not only try to trade with the Palestinian Authority, but we do not purchase products made in the illegal Israeli settlements.”
- “...We are contacting the Congress, the President and saying that the illegal settlements must stop. We’re hoping that people are listening to us. I'm not sure that the government of Israel is listening to the United States when we ask for these settlements be stopped. But we have to keep trying.” (see here)
In 2017 the ELCA, by way of its top bishop, signed a letter to congress stating its opposition to the "Israel Anti-Boycott Act." It said "we collectively affirm and defend the right of churches and organizations to use economic measures in the specific case of Israel-Palestine." (see letter here) The ELCA, which boycotts (they use the words "selective purchasing") parts of Israel, is defending churches and organizations that boycott Israel. The letter is advocating for the United States Congress to reject the “Israel Anti-Boycott Act” which "prohibit support of international state-sponsored boycotts of Israel by U.S. citizens engaged in interstate or international commerce." (see article here)
As you can see, the ELCA is involved in and supports divestment, boycott and sanctions against Israel. Anyone associated with the ELCA should be prime candidates to be denied entry into the Jewish State. ELCA leadership and bishops should be forbidden entry into Israel. ELCA pastors and missionaries should be denied. And anyone who is an ELCA member should be denied entry to Israel, because they have chosen to be part of an organization that actively seeks to harm Israel.
There is a precedence for this. In 2016, an Israeli government directive resulted in an “Associate General Secretary for the World Council of Churches (WCC)” being “blocked from entering Israel because of her work with the group to malign Israel and damage it through an economic boycott.” (See here) There is also this, “Presbyterian Official Denied Israel Entry Amidst Divestment Tension.” (See here)
Top it all off with the fact that the ELCA sends “missionaries” to “the Holy Land” who take part in the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) (see here, here and here) “which brings activists to the Jewish State to create publicity material alleging that Palestinians are oppressed.” (read more about EAPPI here)
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America pushes policies that are harmful to Israel. ELCA employees should no longer be allowed to come to Israel until the denomination rescinds all their anti-Israel policies, actions and rhetoric.
Rev. Khader El-Yateem, an ELCA pastor says, “I support BDS. And I will say this publicly, I say it to everyone.” (See here)
The ELCA's Peace Not Walls program is an initiative of the ELCA to implement their Anti-Israel agenda. (See here)
Here is an excellent response to an article about the two anti-Israel ELCA resolutions:
“How does one distinguish between the ELCA’s actions as being anti-Semitic as opposed to merely anti-Israel? Well, because in presenting and arguing the proposed boycott the major proponent, an organization called Isaiah 58, characterized the history of Israel’s presence in the Middle East as nothing but a land grab. They characterized the history of Israeli-Palestinian relations as nothing but apartheid. They said nothing about why Israel came to exist, i.e. the Holocaust; they said nothing about the fact that Israel has had to defend against four wars from hostile Arab neighbors; they said nothing about the constant threat of terrorism that plagues Israel on a daily basis. They invited no one to speak to the Israeli side of the issue. From an ELCA standpoint, Jewish Lives Don’t Matter. When an organization cherry picks facts in order to support a position of discrimination as the ELCA did in this case, goes out of its way to not hear any evidence or meaningful argument which doesn’t support its agenda; when an organization fails to consider that the BDS movement undoes 50 years of engagement between Lutherans and Jews; and when an organization fails to realize the…BDS movement serves as a justification for hate crimes against Jews everywhere from Portland and Los Angeles to Brussels and Marseilles; that probably qualifies the organization’s actions as unambiguously anti-Semitic.” (See comment section here)
Exposing the ELCA has compiled an enormous amount of information about the ELCA and their harmful work against the Jewish State. (See here and scroll down here)
As you look through these links you will find that the ELCA continually takes the Palestinian position on the conflict, uses the Palestinian talking points, calls for Israel to divide Jerusalem and never condemns the Palestinians for their violence, terrorism and hatred toward Israel.
From Portico Benefit Services, the ELCA’s largest institutional investor we learn that “New SIF Investment Creates Jobs and Housing in the Holy Land.” No, they are not investing in Israel, they are investing in Palestine. (See here)