Summary: Tacit support for terror and a highly politicized agenda reflecting anti-Israel rhetoric and biased history, under the guise of "development assistance and justice."
Founded in 1950, World Vision International describes itself as “a Christian relief and development organization working for the well being of all people, especially children.” Operating in 92 countries worldwide, it carries out its mission “through emergency relief, education, health care, economic development and promotion of justice.”
World Vision claims to be “an independent private Christian organization and is not formally affiliated with any government, denomination, foundation or corporation.” According to its website, almost 80 percent of the organization’s funding comes from private sources, including individuals, corporations and foundations. The remainder comes from governments and multilateral agencies. World Vision’s 2003 Annual Report states that $1.25 billion was raised in cash and goods for the organization’s work, of which $59.5 million was expended on humanitarian programs in the Middle East and Eastern Europe regions.
World Vision has operated in the Middle East region since 1975 and has a number of ongoing projects, including: Child Sponsorship; Education; Health; Area Development Programs; Living Stones Housing Project; Emergency Relief. These activities, while relatively small scale, are focused on the Palestinian population. World Vision’s Partnership income for “Jerusalem / West Bank / Gaza” amounts to $219,000.
It is important to note that World Vision’s report has no direct reference to Israel, instead treating Jerusalem as a separate entity tied to the Palestinian Authority. Instead, in keeping with the organization’s Christian ethos, World Vision refers to the region as “the Holy Land”.
The organization’s Brief History of the region repeats many of the standard Palestinian myths and distortions. For example: “In 1948 a war broke out resulting in the establishment of Israel on 77% of historic Palestine.” Pointedly, in using the passive tense, the authors of this summary fail to mention the Arab invasion that led to the war. 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: “In 1967 Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.”
The current Palestinian campaign of violence is blamed solely on Israeli policies leading to Palestinian ‘disillusionment’, Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount and the failure of Camp David. World Vision, strangely, quotes an Israeli death toll of 302 in the period September 2000 to March 2003, some hundreds less than the accurate figure for that time. By quoting a significantly higher Palestinian death toll and ignoring the terrorism that was responsible for the deaths of Israeli civilians, World Vision promotes an amoral equivalence between perpetrators and victims of terror, and offering no context to the loss of life. Instead, Israeli security measures are described as “a policy of sealing entries and exits to cities, villages, and towns as a form of collective punishment of the Palestinian population.”
World Vision’s casual attitude towards Israeli security is demonstrated in a December 17, 2002 news article “Bethlehem has little to rejoice about at Christmas” which states: “Bethlehem’s population of 120,000 is under collective punishment. The reason given by Israel for re-entering Bethlehem is because the last suicide bomber to blow up a bus in Jerusalem was from the Bethlehem area.” Other news archives demonstrate a lack of context behind events. For example, a January 5, 2004 news article “World Vision helps 245 homeless families in Rafah” claims that “One hundred homes were demolished and another 70 were severely damaged during an Israeli army incursion on October 10th,” failing to mention the terrorist activities and weapons smuggling tunnels that prompted the Israeli military operations.
World Vision’s response to Israel’s security barrier also displays almost no acknowledgement of this impact of this obstacle in preventing terror. For example, Tim Costello, Word Vision Australia’s Chief Executive described the barrier as “part of the problem, not part of the solution”, in a July 14, 2004 op-ed in The Age (Melbourne). Costello evokes the highly politicized and inappropriate 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.) These issues are noted in Colin Rubinstein’s response to Costello, who also points to reliance on the faulty advisory decision of the ICJ, in response to the highly politicized indictment from the UN General Assembly.
Analysis of World Vision International’s website also reflects the clear political agenda, with little attention to entirely legitimate Israeli security concerns, as well as a total disregard for the effects of Palestinian terrorism on the situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Thus, World Vision’s activities in the region reflect a strong political bias, with a high level of misunderstanding and negative attitudes displayed towards Israel, while encouraging or at least condoning terrorism and incitement. This agenda is entirely inconsistent with the claimed emphasis on “economic development and promotion of justice”.