Twelve National Christian groups Urge Department of State to Investigate Israeli Human Rights Abuses

Today, twelve churches and faith-based organizations, including Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ, submitted cases of apparent extrajudicial killings by Israeli forces to the U.S. Department of State.

In a letter addressed to Mr. Tom Malinowski, Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, and Ambassador Anne W. Patterson, Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, the organizations indicated that these cases constitute the second submission in a comprehensive project to seek accountability for documented human rights violations by Israeli forces.  The first submission was made in December, 2015.

The organizations asked the Department of State to investigate whether these cases constitute violations of the Leahy Law, and requested that the Department of State investigate and identify the units involved in the killings. “If a Leahy Law violation occurred, then the units responsible should be ineligible to receive future U.S. security assistance as stipulated by the law,” the letter concluded.

Two provisions in U.S. law, collectively known as the “Leahy Amendments” or “Leahy Laws” address concerns about human rights related to U.S. security assistance. Israel receives the majority of U.S. Foreign Military Financing.

The organizations submitting the cases were the American Friends Service Committee; Church of the Brethren, Office of Public Witness; Conference of Major Superiors of Men; Friends Committee on National Legislation; Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ; Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns; Mennonite Central Committee U.S.; Pax Christi International; Pax Christi USA; Presbyterian Church (USA); United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries; and United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society.

The letter and the case study document are available below.


Rev. Susan P. Wilder
Faith Forum on Middle East Policy
(703) 598-2503

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  • bill williams
    commented 2016-02-24 18:37:46 -0500
    Great article. Israel has a history of destroying US presence in the Middle East, outside of Israel. In 2014 Israel bombed the American International School (AIS) in Gaza. Israel used Mk-82 bombs dropped from F-16 fighter aircraft, both furnished to Israel from the United States. No mention was ever made of Israel destroying US interests in Gaza. Then only last week, Amb. Power visited the AIS School and students near Tel Aviv, and again, no mention was ever made by Power about Israel destroying the AIS in Gaza. Even knowing that over 600 children in Gaza were killed during the 51 days airstrikes. When a “democratic ally” bombs US interests overseas killing civilians and the US government neglects this? It falls into the same vein as Israel’s murder of American peace activist Rachel Corrie and Israel’s unprovoked bombing on the USS Liberty, It is also insulting that one of the worst criminals in US history, Jonathan Pollard, was released from prison last November. Pollard, a criminal and traitor to the US, is considered a national hero in Israel. Israeli children are taught songs of praise for Pollard, who has a street named for him in Tel Aviv. But when Pollard was originally captured, just outside the Israeli Embassy in DC, Israel would not allow him entry inside the Israeli Embassy compound, allowing him to be arrested by Federal authorities on the spot. Pollard and his wife copied thousands of top secret US documents and sold those documents to many foreign agents, not just Israeli. Israel however, not only purchased those documents but sold those same documents to the Soviet Union. Israel denied these facts for decades while Pollard stayed in prison. It was only recently that Israel confessed to buying secrets for Pollard, who escaped a life imprisonment because of his attorneys and a weak US prosecution.