SWC Appalled by World Council of Churches Election of Rev. Jerry Pillay as General Secretary
June 23, 2022
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is appalled – not surprised – by the election of Rev. Jerry Pillay as General Secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), which claims it represents some 500 million Christians in 110 countries.
In an era of expanding rapprochement between Arab nations and Israel the WCC has chosen a leader who has long perpetuated the big lie accusing Israel of being an apartheid state.
Speaking to an event of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 2014, he advocated for the extreme anti-peace and anti-Semitic BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) movement. Pillay has spoken of the “exclusionary and violent character of the Israeli Zionist project,” and denied the historical link between the Jewish people and its homeland since Biblical times. Then in 2016 he decried the alleged influence of “Jewish leadership” on European powers to allow for the creation of a Jewish state “on the land of Palestine.”
“All this is hardly surprising,” observed Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Center, and its Director of Global Social Action. “The WCC has shown systemic bias and hostility to Israel since its creation in 1948. It has shown disdain for Israel, as well as for Christians who support her. Jewish organizations have reached out again and again to WCC to moderate its stance on the Israel/Palestinian dispute. Now instead of working to build on the historic Abraham Accords the WCC choose Pillay as their top leader.
Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, the Center’s director of interfaith affairs, pointed to what he called the chutzpah and ludicrousness of Pillay’s self-defense against those calling him out. “Pillay wrote, ‘There is absolutely no merit or value to this preposterous and absurd claim [of being anti-Jews (sic)]. I sincerely value and cherish my Jewish friends and the Jewish community and faith.’ Claiming to cherish the Jewish faith while ignoring the connection between Jews and their Land is the equivalent of professing love for all Christians – except for those who believe in Jesus. Nothing but empty words.”
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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).