Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD)


Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Founded in 1960, as the “official Catholic aid agency for England and Wales and part of Caritas International.”
  • Work in the region includes “working with Christian, Jewish, Muslim and secular partners” to: “mitigate disruption to Palestinian families’ daily lives in the West Bank, especially through legal challenges to house demolition, land confiscation and violent attacks.”


Political Advocacy

  • The Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) has provided grants to a number of highly biased and politicized NGOs active in the Arab-Israeli conflict, including: Breaking the Silence,  Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI), Culture and Free Thought Association, Wi’am, Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC), Yesh Din, and Islamic Relief Worldwide. (See table below for further funding information.)
  • CAFOD partners with and assists in recruiting participants for the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI).
    • EAPPI brings volunteers to the West Bank for three months to “witness life under occupation.” Upon completion of the program, the volunteers return to their home countries and churches where many engage in anti-Israel advocacy, including advocating for BDS campaigns in churches, comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa and Nazi Germany, and other delegitimization strategies.
  • In January 2019, CAFOD’s program “Step into the Gap,” which offers “opportunities for 18-30 year olds to gain experience, develop leadership skills and spend a year in the service of others,” visited Israel and the West Bank to “experience[] the daily reality of life in the Holy Land.” The trip met with Israeli and Palestinian organizations, including the Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC), Sadaka Reut, and Caritas.
    • When the volunteers returned to their home counties, they engaged in anti-Israel advocacy. One participant wrote in a blog about her experiences that “The reality experienced by Palestinians has inspired me to speak out on the platforms not just at Newman University but those available to me through volunteering. I hope to inspire those I meet to recognise the need to continue to support CAFOD’s work in the Middle East so that the voices of those displaced, humiliated and experiencing a ‘poverty of rights’ are amplified and acted upon by the international community.”
  • In September 2018, Maria Gonzalez, CAFOD Head of International Development, wrote an article referring to Gaza as a “prison.”
  • In May 2018, during the violence on the Gaza border, CAFOD condemned Israel’s “lethal force” and called for UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to “urge Israel to show respect for life and restraint towards those demonstrating in Gaza, to call for an independent investigation into recent events in Gaza and put the UK government’s weight behind a renewed effort to end the closure of Gaza.” CAFOD ignored the violent nature of the protests, which have consisted of an organized armed attack on the Israeli border and IDF positions, attempts to destroy and breach the border fence, and sustained arson, rocket, and mortar attacks on Israeli civilian communities.
  • In January 2017, as a member of the church umbrella organization CIDSE’s Palestine-Israel Working Group, released a document titled “No Place Like Home: A Reader On The Forced Internal Displacement Of Palestinians In The Occupied Palestinian Territory And Israel,” that was designed as a tool to lobby the European Union. The report calls for European “concrete action” and “promoting accountability” against Israel in order to “address[] the Israeli policies which are the root causes of displacement.”
  • Published a July 30, 2014 “Gaza Crisis Appeal,” which condemned the “ferocious and relentless bombardment by the Israeli military on Gaza,” omitting that the military operation was launched in response to over 4,000 Hamas rocket attacks against Israeli civilians and in an effort to root out the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza, including terror tunnels running beneath the border into Israel.
  • Together with a number of other highly biased and politicized NGOs, CAFOD “actively supported” a November 2012 conference “initiated by North East Ecumenical Accompaniers” on “Peace and Justice in the Holy Land” that took place in Gateshead, England. Speakers included Nora Carmi, a founding member of Sabeel, who also works for Kairos Palestine, an NGO that promotes the 2009 Kairos Palestine document that calls for BDS (boycotts, divestment and sanctions), denies the Jewish historical connections to Israel in theological terms, and rationalizes and trivializes terrorism, calling it “legal resistance”; Stephen Leah, who helped prepare the 2010 Methodist Conference statement “Justice for Palestine and Israel”; Bishop Martin Wharton, “who was a member of the international delegation who visited Yasser Arafat in his compound to gain acceptance of international observers for the first elections for the Palestinian Authority after the Oslo accords.” The conference absolved Palestinians from all responsibility in the conflict.
  • Published a 2009 report “Failing Gaza: No rebuilding, no recovery, no more excuses” – together with Amnesty International UK, Trocaire (Ireland), Diakonia (Sweden), Oxfam International, Christian Aid (UK), Broederlijk Delen (Belgium), Medical Aid for Palestinians, and others – falsely accusing Israel of an “illegal and inhumane blockade,” “collective punishment,” and “occupying” Gaza.
  • In 2008, CAFOD co-authored a report “The Gaza Strip: A Humanitarian Implosion,” which inaccurately accused Israel’s Gaza blockade of being illegal under international law and constituting “collective punishment.” Contrary to these claims, the naval blockade is a permissible tactic used to prevent the smuggling of weapons that will later be used to target civilians in Israel.


2016-2019 Grants Received (amounts in £)

United Kingdom2,174,0003,198,0004,178,000
European Union2,368,0002,491,0001,269,0001,877,000
Government of Guernsey20,00020,00020,000
United Nations560,0001,694,0001,405,0001,369,000
Government of Isle of Man50,000102,00074,000117,000
Government of Jersey37,000140,000149,00099,000
Catholic Relief Services142,000249,000420,000152,000
Christian Aid22,00029,000332,00040,000
Islamic Relief Worldwide10,000
Norwegian Church Aid64,000153,000193,000266,000
World Vision219,000
Various branches of Caritas International1,314,0002,823,0003,097,0002,634,000

2016-2020 Grants Donated

Amounts according to quarterly reports submitted to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits, unless otherwise noted.

NGO GranteeYearAmount
Breaking the Silence2019NIS 94,400
2018NIS 92,587
2017NIS 105,711
2016NIS 57,407
Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center2016-2019£33,753
Culture and Free Thought Association2017-2019£153,262
Yesh Din2017-2019£105,000
Broederlijk Delen2017-2019£25,043

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