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World Vision

Profile

Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Websitewww.wvi.org
Founded1950
In their own words“A Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice.”

Funding

Activities

  • Operates in approximately 100 countries worldwide throughout Asia, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
  • Claims to be “an international partnership of Christians whose mission is to follow our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in working with the poor and oppressed to promote human transformation, seek justice and bear witness to the good news of the Kingdom of God.”

Jerusalem/West Bank/Gaza branch

  • Funding: 2013 budget of $18,364,480 (of which $3,355,201 from government grants).
  • Active in the Middle East since 1975; lists “Jerusalem/West Bank/Gaza” among the countries in which it works (elsewhere identified as “Israel and the Palestinian Territories”).
  • Partners with Grassroots Jerusalem, which has “become one of World Vision’s strongest advocacy partners.” Grassroots Jerusalem is a vocal supporter of BDS (boycotts, divestments and sanctions) campaigns and frequently uses demonizing rhetoric against Israel.
  • Describes itself as being “committed to advocating for the improved well-being of children living under Israeli occupation” and “believes that the Israeli occupation has negative spiritual and psychological effects on Palestinians and Israelis, especially the children.”
  • Views “[a]dvocacy and communications… as a critical component of World Vision’s work in the region” and “advocates at the local, national, regional, and global levels,” including “building the capacity of local Palestinian NGOs, encouraging youth to document their history and surroundings, providing photography training to vulnerable communities across the West Bank and Gaza.”

Political Advocacy

  • Promotes a highly politicized and biased agenda, placing sole blame for the continuation of the conflict on Israel and paying little attention to legitimate Israeli security concerns or Palestinian terrorism against Israeli civilians.
  • Endorsed a film, With God on Our Side, which attacks Christian support for Israel and presents an “anti-Jewish theology” and “biased misunderstanding of ‘Jews,’ ‘Zionist,’ and ‘Israel.’” The film has been condemned as being “biased, simplistic and factually incorrect.”
  • Issued a joint statement on November 19, 2012, with 44 other highly politicized organizations, calling on the international community to “apply immediate pressure on the government of Israel” and warning of a “widespread humanitarian disaster in Gaza brought on by a prolonged [Israeli] military occupation.”

Exploits the suffering of Palestinian children in order to launch political attacks against Israel

  • On April 4, 2013, published an article, using manipulative and emotionally charged language, claiming that Palestinian “children are afraid to go to class” and “don’t feel safe” in school due to “violence by Israeli soldiers, including… shooting, throwing of teargas canisters and spraying wastewater onto village lands.”
  • Claims that every year “hundreds of Palestinian children are arrested by the Israeli military in the occupied Palestinian territory… in areas of particularly high tension such as an illegal Israeli settlement or in Palestinian villages that have land confiscated by the Separation Barrier.”
  • Sponsored ten Palestinian children in Gaza who were “given cameras to simply take photos of their lives,” claiming that the photos provide a “glimpse into the everyday lives of children – lives that are shaped and influenced by the ongoing Israeli blockade”.
  • Issued a press release on November 22, 2012, alleging that “Children in Gaza are particularly vulnerable” and that “the people of Gaza have nowhere to go to escape violence, due to continued restrictions on movement and ongoing Israeli blockade.”
  • In an April 2012 article in the Huffington Post, president of World Vision, Richard Stearns, falsely accused Israel of restricting Palestinian Christians from attending Easter services in Jerusalem. Former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren wrote an article in response, saying that “any Christian from the West Bank can reach Jerusalem on Good Friday and Easter” and that “All allegations to the contrary are flagrantly untrue and represent a reckless attempt to defame the Jewish state.”

Promotes Palestinian propaganda in UN frameworks

Australia branch

Funding

  • 2013 annual income of $370.4 million (accessed June 23, 2014).
  • According to its website, 71% of funds come from the Australian community, 12% from AusAID, the Australian government’s overseas aid program, and 17% from other sources.

Political Advocacy

  • Works in partnership with Union of Agricultural Works Committee (UAWC), an organization that explicitly endorses BDS (boycotts, divestments and sanctions) against Israel.1
  • World Vision Australia has financially supported the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network, which was established “by church leaders who saw a particular role for Christians to advocate from a faith perspective about Palestinian human rights.” The ecumenical network “find[s] inspiration and direction from the Kairos Palestine document,” which denies Jewish historical connections to the land of Israel. The ecumenical network’s website features an “online resources” page, which includes texts that challenge Christian Zionism, as well as books and articles written by Naim Ateek, founder of anti-Israel NGO Sabeel, and others. Its website also promoted a May 16, 2014 event, organized by Friends of Palestine Western Australia, titled “Commemorate Al Nakba: Protest Israeli Apartheid.”
  • In 2010, reportedly financed a youth center named after Palestinian terrorist Abu Jihad, a founder of Fatah who planned numerous terrorist attacks against Israelis, including a 1978 bus hijacking, which resulted in the death of 37 civilians.
  • In a July 14, 2004 op-ed in The Age (Melbourne), Word Vision Australia’s Chief Executive Tim Costello described the security barrier as “part of the problem, not part of the solution,” evoking the highly politicized claim that the barrier “is reminiscent of the Cold War and Eastern Bloc oppression.” Costello’s comparison reflects the Palestinian propaganda effort to compare the Berlin Wall, designed to keep citizens from fleeing, with Israel’s security barrier, which saves the lives of its citizens.

Footnotes

  1. In October 2012, the Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center claimed that by funding UAWC, World Vision Australia indirectly distributed more than $1 million of Australian taxpayers’ money to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror organization. A probe of the case by AusAID concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support Shurat HaDin’s claims.

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Further Reading