Report on Israel Sheds Light on How China Uses International Anti-Cultists

Report on Israel Sheds Light on How China Uses International Anti-CultistsA new report on the Israeli Center for Victims of Cults reveals the links between the Chinese Communist Party and an international network of groups defaming religious minorities as “cults.”

The Belgian NGO Human Rights Without Frontiers released on September 4 a report on the Israeli Center for Victims of Cults (ICVC), the Israeli branch of an international network of so-called anti-cult organizations, most of them affiliated with the European Federation of Centres of Research and Information on Cults and Sects (FECRIS). Scholars have studied for many years the international anti-cult movement and its nefarious role in stereotyping unpopular religious minorities as “cults,” claiming that they “brainwash” their members and separate them from their families. Years of scholarly research of new religious movements have debunked anti-cult theories as pseudo-scientific, and simple tools used to discriminate against groups the anti-cultist do not like.

The new report shows of the allegedly secular Israeli Center for Victims of Cults, the Israeli correspondent of FECRIS, has in fact deep ties with Yad L’Achim, an organization officially denounced by the U.S. Department of State as a radical expression of ultra-Orthodox Judaism, which promotes discrimination against religious minorities in Israel and violence against them.

While in its beginnings the international anti-cult networks represented private interests, in the 21st century it is increasingly connected with regimes persecuting religious minorities and relying on international anti-cultists for justifying the persecution.

The report exposes Yad L’Achim’s connections with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which are typical of anti-cultists in several countries. Bitter Winter has recently reported on how South Korean anti-cultists cooperated with the CCP in organizing false “spontaneous demonstrations” against refugees of The Church of Almighty God seeking asylum in South Korea.

The report notes that “in 2009, Yad L’Achim published a press release in which they boasted the fact that one of their organization’s representatives was invited to participate in a congress in China devoted to the fight against Falun Gong. The propaganda of Yad L’Achim against Falun Gong is accessible on their website,” which also offers “an article on Benjamin Kluger, a convert from Christianity to ultra-orthodox Judaism and a Yad L’Achim activist, who worked in the Department for the Fight against Missionary Activity with Rachel Lichtenshtein, the current director of the ICVC. He was invited by the Chinese embassy in Israel as ‘an expert from Yad L’Achim about destructive cults’” to a CCP conference in China. Rabbi Shalom Dov Lipschitz, Chairman of Yad L’Achim, stated that the government in Israel should have “learned from the Chinese authorities how to forcefully fight dubious and destructive cults.”

The report noted that the CCP also invited other “FECRIS representatives: the ill-famed Alexander Dvorkin from Russia, who fully supports the repression of Falun Gong practitioners in China and campaigns against the movement in his own country, and the well-known deprogrammer Rick Ross, who was prosecuted in several US criminal cases, yet still praised by the ICVC.”

Recent events in Korea proves that the CCP uses anti-cultists as “fellow travelers” to justify its persecution, torture and extra-judicial killings of members of religious movements it classifies as “cults.”