The Jewish Chronicle, January 21st 2005
Christian Aid wholly agrees with Edie Friedman et al that one of the few "good things" to have come from the Asian tsunami was the bonding of humanity across the races and religions in a common bid to bring succour to the afflicted.
On the other hand, to argue, as did the JC editorial of January 7, that the Jewish community should pause before giving money to the joint agency Committee because it comprises organizations, such as Christian Aid, which have "shown a particular hostility to Israel" is outrageous.
While anyone can and ought to give to whichever organization they wish, it does the JC no credit to use the tsunami as a means to snipe at Christian Aid.
Christian Aid is not hostile to Israel. Furthermore, Christian aid has repeatedly condemned the Palestinian leadership for its own, clear responsibility for exacerbating the hardships experienced by those it represents and for not doing enough to tackle terrorism.
Our mandate is to challenge the structures which create poverty in the 50 countries throughout the world in which we work. Campaigning against South African apartheid – because it bore significant responsibility for black poverty – did not make us anti-white. Nor does criticizing Tony Blair for policies that exacerbate Third World poverty make us anti-British. It is similarly ridiculous to argue that challenging the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza makes us hostile to the state of Israel. Once more, for the record, we support without reservation or qualification the existence of the state of Israel and the rights of its citizens to live in peace and security.
We equally claim that same right for Palestinians.
ADVOCACY OFFICER, CHRISTIAN AID, LOWER MARSH, LONDON SE1
25 January 2005
The Jewish Chronicle
25 Furnival Street
The Jewish Chronicle is to be commended for drawing its readers’ attention to the anti-Israel activities of a number of charities currently involved in tsunami relief. William Bell’s misleading and evasive response on behalf of Christian Aid (Letters, 21 Jan. 2005) calls for the separation of charity from politics – something that Christian Aid has consistently failed to do within the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Whatever the merits of a particular cause, the public should be aware of the wider activities of a charity.
Despite Bell’s denials, NGO Monitor (www.ngo-monitor.org) has carefully analyzed and documented Christian Aid’s hostility towards Israel. Muted criticism of the Palestinian Authority cannot disguise the numerous reports, press releases, campaigns and support for Palestinian political groups that have demonstrated Christian Aid’s politicized agenda, which seeks to deny Israel’s right to self-defesce, ignoring Palestinian terrorism, while blaming Israel for Palestinian suffering and the violence in the region. Recently, the "Child of Bethlehem" Christmas 2004 campaign has also introduced religious imagery for political purposes linking Palestinian children to the suffering of Jesus.
The fact that Bell needs to justify Christian Aid’s support for the very existence of the State of Israel (which should be a given) demonstrates just how far this organization has descended in its demonizing of Israel. The generosity of the public should be channeled into charities that do not undermine their claims to be humanitarian organizations. Christian Aid is not such a charity.
Yours faithfully, Simon Plosker
Managing Editor, NGO Monitor (www.ngo-monitor.org)