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Oxfam International

Profile

Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Websitewww.oxfam.org/en
In their own words“An international confederation of 17 organizations networked together in 92 countries, as part of a global movement for change, to build a future free from the injustice of poverty.”

Funding

  • In 2015-2016, total income was €1.1 billion; total expenses were €1.1 billion. 41% of income came from “Institutional Fundraising,” including national governments, the European Union and EU institutions (€67.9 million), and the UN and UN institutions (€63.6 million).
  • Since 2014, Oxfam International has reported spending €42.1 million in the “Occupied Palestinian Territories.”
  • According to Oxfam’s website, “Our work in Gaza is supported by numerous donors. These include: ECHO, DFID, DEC, Danida, WFP, SIDA, DFATD, the Italian and Belgian governments and Oxfam’s public appeals around the world.”
  • Between 2015 and 2019, Oxfam is receiving $10.8 million from Sweden (SIDA) to “facilitate the development of local markets” in East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

Activities

See also NGO Monitor’s reports on Oxfam Australia, Oxfam Novib (Netherlands), and Oxfam-Solidarité (Belgium).

  • In addition to Oxfam International, affiliates involved in politicized advocacy on the Arab-Israeli conflict include Oxfam Novib (Netherlands) and Oxfam Great Britain. Oxfam Novib has “taken the lead in campaigning on Palestinian issues” within the Oxfam International network. In contrast, these issues are less central to Oxfam USA.

Anti-Israel Activity

  • Oxfam consistently paints a highly misleading picture of the Arab-Israeli conflict, departing from its humanitarian mission focused on poverty. Most Oxfam statements erase all complexity and blame Israel exclusively for the situation, and these distortions and their impacts contribute significantly to the conflict.
  • Oxfam also distorts economic analyses of the West Bank and Gaza, repeatedly arguing that that the sole impediment to Palestinian development is Israeli policy, ignoring intra-Palestinian limitations and factors.
  • Oxfam produced a “web documentary” titled “Enclosure” (June 2017) purporting to show the “impact of more than 50 years of occupation on Bedouin communities living in Area C of the West Bank,” as well as “how international action is urgently needed to protect them.” The video series makes false and distorted claims regarding Palestinian access to water.
  • Oxfam releases publications regarding the “illegality” of the Gaza blockade, ignoring the necessity behind the construction of the blockade and its role in stopping Hamas’ smuggling of weapons and rockets used to target Israeli citizens.
    • In January 2017, Oxfam released a publication on the “dairy sector in the Gaza Strip” claiming “Gaza’s dairy sector has been severely damaged by Israel’s separation policy, blockade and three rounds of hostilities,” and called on the Government of Israel and the international community to “pressure Israel to adhere to its responsibilities under International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law, including by lifting the blockade, opening all crossings into and out of Gaza and allowing for the unimpeded entry and exit of goods and people, and allow for the free movement of Palestinians within the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”
    • In June 2016, Oxfam released a video titled “Time to End the Gaza Blockade – 9 Years On,” calling on the “international community to press the Government of Israel to immediately end this stifling blockade and to ease access into and out of Gaza,” as this “collective punishment keeps people poor, denies them their rights and fails to make Israel safer.”
  • Signatory to the 2015 Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA) “joint agency briefing paper titled, “Charting a New Course: Overcoming the Stalemate in Gaza,” misrepresenting international law and distorting legal terminology to place primary blame for the 2014 Gaza war on Israel. The paper omits Hamas rocket attacks against Israeli civilians, as well as terror tunnels running beneath the border into Israel. The paper further encourages contact with Hamas, stating: “Restricted contact can undermine humanitarian access and implementation of humanitarian programmes…”
  • Funded Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling’s (WCLAC) September 2014 report, “Jerusalem: A City Divided,” promoting the Palestinian narrative of the “Nakba” (“catastrophe”) and accusing “Israeli settlements [of] forming a concrete and human shield.”
    • WCLAC is highly active in BDS and lawfare campaigns against Israel and utilizes its membership in a number of Palestinian organizations and networks to lobby international forums and disseminate demonizing statements against Israel.
    • Manal Tamimi, a WCLAC fieldworker, has endorsed terrorism and violence several times on her Twitter account. In August 2015, Tamimi tweeted, “I do hate Israel ,i (sic) wish a thrid Intefada (sic) coming soon and people rais (sic) up and kills all these zionist settlers everywhere.” In September 2015, on Yom Kippur (a fast day and the holiest day of the year in the Jewish calendar), Tamimi tweeted: “Vampire zionist celebrating their Kebore day by drinking Palestinian bloods, yes our blood is pure & delicious but it will kill u at the end.”
  • During the 2014 Gaza war, published a number of highly biased and emotive statements and blog posts, placing primary responsibility for the conflict on Israel, calling for the immediate implementation of an arms embargo, and claiming that the “conduct of both the Government of Israel and of Palestinian armed groups raises numerous concerns of violations of international law.” The statements thus equate indiscriminate Hamas rocket fire directed at Israeli civilians and legitimate measures of Israeli self-defense.
  • In a July 2012 briefing paper, Oxfam recommended that NGOs should engage in explicit violations of international and domestic law by “initiat[ing] and support[ing] development projects in the Jordan Valley and other parts of Area C…even if they have not been approved by the Israeli Civil Administration…” (emphasis in original). In 2009, Oxfam was accused of being involved in constructing a water-siphoning system, which illegally diverted water from the “main authorized Palestinian water supply.”
  • Following the violent confrontation instigated by the 2010 Free Gaza Flotilla, Oxfam issued a deeply biased statement entitled “Monday’s tragedy is a direct result of the Israeli blockade on Gaza,” condemning Israel’s “appalling use of violence and the killing of civilians” and falsely claimed that “The Israeli operation appears to have violated a number of basic rules of International Law. This comes on top of the blockade that inflicts collective punishment on the population, which is illegal under International Humanitarian Law.”
  • In a July 2009 blog, Oxfam falsely stated the blockade “punishes the ordinary people of Gaza for rocket fire and the imprisonment of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit over which they have no control. International humanitarian law defines this as collective punishment which is illegal.”
  • Signatory to the 2009 report, “Failing Gaza: No rebuilding, no recovery, no more excuses,” which advances 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 January 2009, Oxfam International’s Director Jeremy Hobbs stated that “The people of Gaza are living in the world’s largest prison but have fewer rights than convicts.”
  • In 2008, released a report, alongside Christian Aid, Amnesty International, Trocaire, Save the Children UK, and Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD), titled, “The Gaza Strip: Humanitarian Implosion,” stating, “Israel’s policy affects the civilian population of Gaza indiscriminately and constitutes a collective punishment against ordinary men, women and children. The measures taken are illegal under international humanitarian law.”

BDS Activities

  • While Oxfam states that it does not “support a boycott of Israel,” it states that it “oppose[s] trade with Israeli settlements in the West Bank because they are illegally built on occupied land, increase poverty among Palestinians, and threaten the chances of a two-state solution.”
  • In 2014, actress Scarlett Johannsen was forced to resign as an “Oxfam Ambassador” over her role in promoting SodaStream. Oxfam responded, stating that “businesses, such as SodaStream, that operate in settlements further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support. Oxfam is opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law.” In response, Johannson released a statement that she and “Oxfam have a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.”
    • In December 2016, chief executive of Oxfam Mark Goldring admitted that the conflict with Johansson cost Oxfam America “literally thousands” of donors.
  • Goldring also took credit for helping to persuade large UK supermarkets to label, and then withdraw, products from Israeli settlements.
  • In response to increased (mutually beneficial) cooperation between the EU and Israel, in July 2012, Oxfam called on the EU to sanction Israel with “urgent and concrete measures to push for an immediate end to settlement construction and the unlawful demolition of Palestinian civilian infrastructure.” In March 2010, Oxfam also called on the EU to sanction Israel regarding the blockade of Gaza. Oxfam lobbying in 2009 led the British Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to recommend that retailers label goods produced in the West Bank as “Israeli settlement produce” or “Palestinian produce.”
  • In August 2009, Oxfam severed ties with actress Kristin Davis – an “ambassador” (supporter and spokesperson) for the NGO – due to her work endorsing the Israeli Ahava cosmetics company. Oxfam was prompted by the radical American group CODEPINK.

Partners

Oxfam claims to work with “more than 60 Palestinian and Israeli partner organizations” (emphasis in original), but does not disclose the names of these organizations.

All Articles about Oxfam International

Further Reading