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GENEVA (RNS/ENI) The American Jewish Committee on Friday (Aug. 28) denounced the World Council of Churches’ outgoing general secretary, the Rev. Samuel Kobia, for his declaration that Israel’s “occupation” of Palestinian territories is “a sin against God.”
“Rev. Kobia parrots the same hypocritical statements regarding Israel that the WCC regularly issues, ignoring the root causes of Israel’s presence in the West Bank,” said Rabbi David Rosen, AJC’s international director of interreligious affairs.
On Wednesday, during his final address to the WCC’s Central Committee, Kobia said, “Occupation, along with the concomitant humiliation of a whole people for over six decades, constitutes not just economic and political crimes but, like anti-Semitism, it is a sin against God.”
Jewish groups have repeatedly criticized the WCC for its Middle East policy, which they say heavily favors the Palestinians and ignores Israel’s desire to live in peace and security.
Kobia noted that at its founding assembly in Amsterdam in 1948 — the same year the State of Israel was founded — the WCC declared anti-Semitism a “sin against God.” Kobia asked, “Are we ready to say that occupation is also a sin against God?”
Rosen accused Kobia of “willfully (ignoring) the violent rejection of Israel’s very existence that is at the root of the conflict, and makes no mention of the terrorism and incitement that has prevented the realization of the aspiration of the vast majority of Israelis, as well as of most Palestinians, to live in peace based on a two-state solution.”
By Peter Kenny
Copyright 2009 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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