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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

  • In 2015, total income was $2.7 billion;expenses were $2.4 billion..
  • Government donors include: United Kingdom (DFID), EU, Australia (AusAID), the United States (USAID), Canada (CIDA), and Germany (German Humanitarian Assistance).
  • According to its website, World Vision also “work[s] closely with various UN agencies including the World Food Program, UNHCR, the refugee agency and UNICEF on children’s issues.”
  • According to Australian MP Michael Danby, AUD “5.7 million of Aussie taxes” were gifted to World Vision specifically “to spend on Palestinians.”
  • World Vision solicits donations through its Child Sponsorship Program. According to an article in The New York Times entitled, “A World Vision Donor Sponsored a Boy. The Outcome Was a Mystery to Both,” this donation structure is misleading and ambiguous – despite the advertisement campaigns that lead donors to believe that they are funding one specific child and will thus develop a relationship with him/her, the funds are instead pooled and distributed to children in a specific region in need.

Top Five Single Grants Received in 2014* (Source: World Vision Accountability Report)

Primary DonorCashNon-CashGrand Total
World Food Programme26,570,222151,782,493178,352,715
US Agency for International Development71,742,85113,300,58985,043,440
Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria35,427,37935,427,379
AusAID, Australian-NGO Cooperation Program26,365,92626,365,926
UK DFID20,887,58820,887,588
TOTAL180,993,966165,083,082346,077,048
Percentage to Total Grant Portfolio50%97%65%

*All amount are listed in USD

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.”

Activities in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza

  • World Vision has five offices operating under the “country” name World Vision Jerusalem, West Bank, Gaza (WV-JWG); WV-JWG does not exist as a separate financial and legal entity. An Israeli NGO named World Vision (WV-IL), was registered with the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits (R.A. 580110641) in 1988. Although the relationship between the two organizations is unclear, WV-JWG apparently overlaps to some degree with the Israeli entity of World Vision.
  • Funding
    • According to its annual reports, WV-JWG had a 2014 budget of $17,448,455 (including $2,690,915 in government grants- from non-audited statements).
    • According to filings with the Registrar, income to the Israeli entity is provided entirely by World Vision International and “local donations.” According to WV-IL’s financial report, revenue in 2014 amounted to $16.3 million.
  • World Vision 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.”
  • Correspondence between the Registrar and World Vision IL (available on file with NGO Monitor) reveals that for many years, the NGO failed to comply with information requests regarding financial records and audits relating to the use of its funds. It is unknown whether the NGO presented the missing documents to the Registrar.
  • Several senior officials in the World Vision Israeli entity (information taken from documents provided by the Registrar) have ties to NGOs promoting BDS activities and demonization of Israel:
    • Sami Khoury, listed as the financial manager in the latest available documentation, is a member of Sabeel’s General Assembly. Sabeel is a leader of church divestment campaigns, utilizing overtly antisemitic language to demonize Israel.
    • Raffoul Rofa, a board member since 2008 and chair since 2009, is also the director of the Society of St.Yves, a highly politicized Catholic NGO that is among the leaders of demonization campaigns, through allegations of “discriminatory policies” and “breach[ing] international law.” Founder Michel Sabbah authored (with Naim Ateek of Sabeel and Atallah Hanna) the 2009 Kairos Palestine document, which promotes BDS in chuches, compares Israel with the South African apartheid regime, and denies the Jewish historical connection to Israel.
    • Anton Asfar is a member of the WV-IL board of directors, and serves on the board of directors of St. Yves.

Arrest of manager of operations for World Vision in Gaza

  • On June 15, 2016, Mohammad El-Halabi, the manager of operations for World Vision in Gaza, was arrested by Israeli authorities.
  • On August 4, after 50 days in administrative detention, El -Halabi was revealed by the Shabak, the Israeli security agency, to be a Hamas terrorist. He is accused of diverting approximately 60% of the World Vision’s Gaza budget to the terrorist organization to build tunnels and fund other terrorist activity. The siphoned funds amount to approximately $50 million.
  • El-Halabi hijacked World Vision funds by creating humanitarian projects and fictitious agricultural associations to act as a cover for the transfer of monies and materials to Hamas. El-Halabi had previously worked for the United Nations Development Agency (UNDP), before being accepted by World Vision.
  • In its statement, World Vision explained that they were “shocked” to learn of these charges and stated that, “The funds entrusted to us are spent…in ways that do not fuel conflict but rather contribute to peace.”
  • World Vision officials, including World Vision Australia CEO Tim Costello, have contended that the total budget for Gaza operations was only $22.5 million over the past decade, in stark contrast with the $16.3 million annual budget reported in 2014 by the Israeli entity, as well as the Israeli government allegation that over $50 million dollars was diverted from the Gaza budget over ten years.
  • Following the allegations against and arrest of El-Halabi, the Australian government announced the suspension of funding to World Vision projects in the Palestinian territories.
  • Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) indefinitely froze $1.66 million that had been earmarked for the organization.
  • As a result of the indictment, World Visioncancelled its Gaza project and laid off, at least temporarily, 120 employees from the office.

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. This includes calling the security barrier “illegal,” ignoring the fact that the barrier was built in the wake of the second intifada in which Israeli civilians were the targets of near daily suicide bombings.
  • World Vision Australia financially supports 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, entitled “Commemorate Al Nakba: Protest Israeli Apartheid.“
  • Endorsed the 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 was condemned for being “biased, simplistic, and factually incorrect.”
  • Tom Getman, former head of Palestinian operations, has expressed virulently antisemitic hatred of the “Zionist enterprise” and its “idolatry.” In a video interview with Rev. Steven Sizer, Getman referred to members of Hezbollah as his “friends,” seeking their guidance regarding his position on Israel.
  • Issued a joint statement on November 19, 2012, with 44 other highly politicized organizations, including American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Care International, DanChurchAid, Diakonia, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), Save the Children, and Norwegian Refugee Council, 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.”
  • The organization presents biased and historically inaccurate description of the conflict in its “Brief History of the Region.” The “history” fails to mention the Arab invasion that led to the 1948 War of Independence. Similarly, the profile offers no background or context to the 1967 Six Day War that led to Israel’s control over the West Bank and Gaza Strip simply stating that, “In 1967 Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.”
  • During the 2014 Gaza war, World Vision called for a ceasefire, but stated that, “There is no sign at the moment that this latest cycle of violence will contribute anything towards ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and therefore will not bring security for Israel.”
  • 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), World 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 protects Israel’s citizens.

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

  • World Vision promotes a very distorted narrative of the Arab-Israeli conflict. After the 2014 Gaza War, World Vision published that they termed first person accounts of children in Gaza, which cannot be verified and depict Israel as the sole aggressor and erasing the context of Hamas terrorism. World Vision failed to publish any findings on the effects of the war on Israeli children.
  • 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 [West Bank].”
  • 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.”

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