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Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD)

Profile

Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

Activity

  • Founded in 1960, as the “official Catholic aid agency for England and Wales and part of Caritas International.”
  • Work in “Israel and Palestine” includes “working with Christian, Jewish, Muslim and secular partners” to: “mitigate disruption to Palestinian families’ daily lives in the West Bank, especially through legal challenges to house demolition, land confiscation and violent attacks.”

Political Advocacy

  • While CAFOD does not list NGO grantees in its financial documents, NGO Monitor research reveals that grants have been provided to a number of highly biased and politicized NGOs active in the Arab-Israeli conflict, including: Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine Israel (EAPPI), Islamic Relief, Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC), Yesh Din, Pax Christi, Bethlehem Bible College, and others. (See table below for available financial information.)
    • EAPPI promotes BDS campaigns, and utilizes highly demonizing rhetoric, accusing Israel of “apartheid,” “collective punishment,” and “war crimes.”
    • On June 19, 2014, Israel’s Defense Minister declared Islamic Relief Worldwide to be illegal, based on its alleged role in funneling money to Hamas, and banned it from operating in Israel and the West Bank.
    • Yesh Din is a leader in attempts to portray Israel and its security forces as unaccountable to the rule of law, as part of a wider strategy of bringing false “war crimes” cases against Israeli officials in foreign courts and in the International Criminal Court (ICC).
    • JLAC is also active in anti-Israel BDS and lawfare campaigns and alleges that “brutality and sadism is the true face of Zionism.” On August 30, 2009, General Director Issam Abu-Haj wrote an open letter endorsing the article published in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet that accused Israeli soldiers of abducting and killing Palestinians in order to harvest their organs. The Swedish article was widely condemned as being a modern day antisemitic blood libel.
  • Published a July 30, 2014 “Gaza Crisis Appeal,” which condemned the “ferocious and relentless bombardment by the Israeli military on Gaza,” omitting that the military operation was launched in response to over 4,000 Hamas rocket attacks against Israeli civilians and in an effort to root out the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza, including terror tunnels running beneath the border into Israel.
  • While CAFOD has “condemn[ed] violence against civilians by all sides,” it states that “the only way out of the cycle of violence is to address the root causes of the conflict: there needs to be an end to the occupation of Palestinian territory, to the building of illegal settlements and to the closure of Gaza.” CAFOD thus places sole responsibility for the conflict on Israel, omitting Palestinian terror, rejectionism and legitimate Israeli security concerns.
  • Together with a number of other highly biased and politicized NGOs, CAFOD “actively supported” a November 2012 conference “initiated by North East Ecumenical Accompaniers” on “Peace and Justice in the Holy Land” that took place in Gateshead, England. Speakers included Nora Carmi, a founding member of Sabeel, who also works for Kairos Palestine; Stephen Leah, who helped prepare the 2010 Methodist Conference statement “Justice for Palestine and Israel”; Bishop Martin Wharton, “who was a member of the international delegation who visited Yasser Arafat in his compound to gain acceptance of international observers for the first elections for the Palestinian Authority after the Oslo accords,” and Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann of Rabbis for Human Rights. The conference absolved Palestinians from all responsibility in the conflict.
  • In November 2014, promoted an “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People” and posted a message on its website by Fr. Raed Abusahlia, General Director of Caritas Jerusalem, who alleged that “Since 1948, we Palestinians have experienced dispossession and exile. Our diaspora counts today more than 9 million people all over the world.” He further claimed that “Palestinians continue to live under occupation. Checkpoints, the Separation wall, lack of access to farmlands and violations are part of our daily life…Separation, segregation, violation, demolition, animosity and disrespect for basic human rights are all on the rise.”
  • Published a 2009 report “Failing Gaza: No rebuilding, no recovery, no more excuses” – together with Amnesty International UK, Trocaire (Ireland), Diakonia (Sweden), Oxfam International, Christian Aid (UK), Broederlijk Delen (Belgium), Medical Aid for Palestinians, and others – advancing  the unsupported legal claim that Gaza remains occupied and the false allegation of “collective punishment” in order to “prove” the central thesis that “primary responsibility [for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza] lies with Israel.”
  • In 2008, CAFOD co-authored a report “The Gaza Strip: A Humanitarian Implosion,” which inaccurately accused Israel’s Gaza blockade of being illegal under international law and constituting “collective punishment.”  Contrary to these claims, the naval blockade is a permissible tactic used to prevent the smuggling of weapons that will later be used to target civilians in Israel.
NGO GranteeAmount and Year
Yesh DinNIS 156,550 (2015)

NIS 136,800 (2014)

NIS 144,783 (2013)
Islamic Relief£235,846
Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights CenterNIS 47,100 (2013)

NIS 45,990 (2012)
Breaking the SilenceNIS 57,407 (2016)

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