The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ECLA) has spoken out against Israel’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank in a series of articles published on their website, one of which additionally accuses Israel of having had a part in the murder of George Floyd.
The comment was made in an article that mentioned a letter that the ECLA, along with 26 other churches, sent to the US congress in opposition to the annexation plan. The letter demanded that the US government not provide funds for the recognition, facilitation or support of annexation.
“The Rev. Rafael Malpica Padilla, executive director of ELCA Global Mission, said that one should be aware of the connection between the Israeli government’s repressive tactics against Palestinians and those taking place against people of color in a number of localities around the United States,” the article stated.
In the letter that the ECLA sent to the US congress, the aforementioned Rev. Padilla wrote, “As it has been reported, the kind of police tactics used to kill George Floyd are among those taught to a number of police departments that have taken part in training by Israeli police and military forces.
“For example, 100 Minneapolis police officers received counterterrorism training from Israelis at a conference held in 2012.”
According to the ECLA page, the letter to congress was initiated by Churches for Middle East Peace in connection with their #ChurchesAgainstAnnexation campaign.
Another comment associating Israel with Floyd’s murder amid opposition to annexation was made during a letter published by Kathryn Mary Lohre, Assistant to the Presiding Bishop of the ELCA and Executive for Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations & Theological Discernment on the ECLA’s website.
In her letter, she compared Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to the death of George Floyd, who died after a police officer pressed down on Floyd’s neck with his knee for nearly eight minutes.
Lohre wrote: “The racism that has kneeled on the necks of Black Americans for 400 years is part of the same global pandemic as the racism that has been kneeling on the necks of Palestinians for 53 years of military occupation, and that has been even more suffocating under Israel’s nation state law, adopted in 2018.”