Black Church Leaders Call for Halt to All US Funding of Israel Amid ‘Mass Genocide’

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African Methodist Episcopal Church Leaders Call for Halt to All US Funding of Israel

The bishops accused Israel of denying Palestinians “access to food, water, shelter, and health care” and said that “after this torture, they plan to murder them.”

The African Methodist Episcopal Church’s top officials have called for the U.S. government to halt all its funding of Israel, citing the deaths of tens of thousands of Palestinians in the Hamas-Israel war.

In its statement, the church’s Council of Bishops said in part:  

“Today as we celebrate the birth of Richard Allen, the apostle of freedom, Israel has trapped 1.6 million desperate Palestinians in the southern Gaza city called Rafah. Most of them are women and children. They have denied them access to food, water, shelter, and health care. After this torture, they plan to murder them. The United States of America will have likely paid for the weapons they use. This must not be allowed to happen.

“The Council of Bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church calls on the United States Government to immediately withdraw all funding and other support from Israel.”

“Since October 7, 2023, in retaliation for the brutal murder of 1,139 Israeli citizens by Hamas, Israel has murdered over 28,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children. The United States is supporting this mass genocide. This must not be allowed to continue.”

The statement was signed by Bishop Adam J. Richardson, senior bishop of the denomination; Bishop Stafford J.N. Wicker, president of the bishops’ council; Bishop E. Anne Henning Byfield, chair of social action, and Bishop Francine A. Brookins, co-chair of social action.

Bishop Harry L. Seawright, the leader of the AME’s Alabama district, said in a Thursday interview with Religion News Service that he and other bishops also supported the statement, which he said reflects the denomination’s stances on social action.

“We have always tried to take a social stand against injustice, unfair treatment of all people,” he said.

On Saturday, February 17th, The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, welcomed a statement by the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

In a statement, CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper said:

“We welcome this principled statement by the African Methodist Episcopal Church Council of Bishops as a reflection of the growing movement nationwide in support of Palestinian humanity and human rights. The Biden administration must respond to the majority of Americans who seek an end to Israeli government’s ethnic cleansing and genocide by demanding an immediate ceasefire and a just resolution to the crisis that recognizes that Palestinians are also human beings worthy of life, freedom and dignity.”

CAIR condemned the far-right Israeli government’s latest war crime in Gaza after at least five patients died when their oxygen ran out as Khan Younis’ Nasser Hospital was stormed by Israeli troops in violation of international humanitarian law.

While several Christian organizations and leaders have called for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas – including the National Council of the Churches in Christ – or offered aid to Christians and Muslims living in the Gaza Strip, this is the first such call for a cessation of all American assistance to the Jewish State.

Last week, The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) and Majlis Ash Shura: Islamic Leadership Council of New York condemned Westchester County Executive George Latimer’s refusal to say that all Muslims are not part of Hamas in a Facebook post relating to his New York Times exposé. 

The AME is one of the oldest Black church denominations in the United States. The announcement came out on the birthday of the church’s founder, Richard Allen, who laid the foundation for the church in 1787. Allen was an enslaved person who bought his freedom before founding the church.

‘We remain in solidarity with Jesus Christ of Nazareth, a Palestinian Jew’

“There must be an immediate and permanent ceasefire between these two communities,” the AME bishops wrote. “Surely there is a grassroots solution that affirms the dignity and humanity of all God’s people in Palestine and Israel. The tools of empire, colonialism, and domination will not solve the problems they created. 

“The cycle of violence between historically wounded peoples will not be dissolved by the creation of more wounds or through weapons of war,” they continued. “We remain in solidarity with Jesus Christ of Nazareth, a Palestinian Jew, and the Prince of Peace.”

AJ Woodson
AJ Woodson
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief and co-owner of Black Westchester, Host & Producer of the People Before Politics Radio Show, An Author, Journalism Fellow (Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism), Rap Artist - one third of the legendary underground rap group JVC FORCE known for the single Strong Island, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian, Documentarian, Activist, Criminal Justice Advocate and Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale, Sonicnet.com, Launch.com, Rolling Out Newspaper, Daily Challenge Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine, Word Up! Magazine, On The Go Magazine and several others.

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