A prominent Black American church released a statement accusing Israel of “mass genocide” in Gaza and demanded that the US immediately end its financial support of the Jewish state.

The statement, issued on Thursday by the leaders of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME)—one of the country’s oldest Black Christian denominations, boasting three million members worldwide—argues that for decades, Israel has shown “a willful disregard for the human dignity of Palestinians.”

Drawing on figures from the Hamas-run Gazan Health Ministry, the AME Church’s statement accuses Israel of having killed over 28,000 Palestinians in retaliation for the murder of 1,139 Israeli citizens by Hamas since October 7, 2023. However, these figures have not been independently verified.

The letter claims that 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 is supporting this mass genocide. This must not be allowed to continue,” the letter argues.

Senior Bishop Adam J. Richardson Jr., one of the four bishops who signed the statement, told The New York Times that the joint statement accurately represents the voice of the church.

“Israel has a right to defend itself, but why are we paying? Why are we paying for the destruction of people?” asked Bishop Richardson.