Char­ity’s anti-Is­rael stance sanc­tioned by watch­dog

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY SI­MON ROCKER

THE CHAR­ITY Com­mis­sion has sup­ported the right of War on Want to be in­volved in a pro-Pales­tinian demon­stra­tion last week­end.

War on Want’s cam­paign­ing on Is­rael — in­clud­ing op­po­si­tion to its se­cu­rity bar­rier — has pre­vi­ously drawn com­plaints that it is op­er­at­ing out­side its char­i­ta­ble re­mit.

But the com­mis­sion stated this week that it is sat­is­fied that the anti-poverty group is work­ing within the rules.

A spokesman for the char­ity watch­dog said: “The con­cerns that the com­mis­sion con­sid­ered re­lated pre­dom­i­nantly to War on Want’s sup­port for trade sanc­tions against Is­rael.

“Fol­low­ing dis­cus­sions with the char­ity, dur­ing which it clar­i­fied the strat­egy be­hind this sup­port, we are sat­is­fied that the trustees un­der­stand our guid­ance on po­lit­i­cal cam­paign­ing and that the char­ity’s ac­tiv­i­ties are linked to its char­i­ta­ble ob­jects. Ac­cord­ingly, we will not be look­ing to take any fur­ther ac­tion with re­gard to this point.”

The spokesman added: “By the same to­ken, we are sat­is­fied that the in­volve­ment of the char­ity with a demon­stra­tion on 10 May con­sti­tutes nor­mal cam­paign­ing and po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­ity for a char­ity to un­der­take.”

War on Want was listed as one of the sup­port­ers of Satur­day’s demon­stra­tion or­gan­ised by the Pales­tine Sol­i­dar­ity Cam­paign, the Bri­tish Mus­lim Ini­tia­tive and oth­ers call­ing for an end to Is­raeli oc­cu­pa­tion and the re­turn of Pales­tinian refugees.

Guest speaker Dr Mustafa Bargh­outi, elected Pales­tinian Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil mem­ber, ac­cused Is­rael of be­ing an apartheid state, ac­cord­ing to the PSC web­site.

Video mes­sages came from, among oth­ers, Is­mail Haniyeh, the Ha­mas leader who was Prime Min­is­ter of the Pales­tinian Na­tional Author­ity un­til last June.

Char­ity Com­mis­sion guide­lines give wide scope to char­i­ties to take part in char­ity cam­paigns as long as they are con­sis­tent with their char­i­ta­ble ob­jec­tives.

Apart from com­bat­ing poverty, War on Want says it also works for hu­man rights and it ar­gues that Pales­tinian poverty “is a di­rect re­sult of 40 years of Is­raeli oc­cu­pa­tion”.

The char­ity has also urged sup­port­ers to write to their MPs, call­ing for the Euro­pean Union to sus­pend trad­ing pref­er­ences for Is­rael.

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