War on Want (UK)


War on Want is a leader and mobilizer of anti-Israel BDS campaigns in the UK. It has accused the British government of “Arming Apartheid” and urged it “to implement an immediate two-way arms embargo to end all arms sales to and purchases from Israel.”


Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
FoundedEarly 1950s in London, UK.
In their own wordsFight poverty in developing countries in partnership with people affected by globalisation. We campaign for human rights and against the root causes of global poverty, inequality and injustice.



Political Advocacy

  • Regularly erases the context of Palestinian terror and utilizes demonizing rhetoric, accusing Israel of “apartheid,” “ethnic cleansing,” “war crimes,” “collective punishment,” and “colonialism,” as well as supporting a Palestinian “right of return.”
  • Claims that the “illegal occupation of Palestine and oppression of the Palestinian people is one of the outstanding moral outrages of our day.”
  • Promotes the allegation that “In Palestine, the Apartheid Wall is cutting Palestinian communities off from their water resources and fertile land, and imprisoning the population of the Occupied Palestinian West Bank,” ignoring evidence that not only does Israel provide Palestinians in the West Bank  with more water than required under the Oslo framework, but that thieves are responsible for stealing up to 50% of supplies in some areas.
  • In August 2022, War on Want was a signatory on a statement condemning the decision by the Israeli Ministry to designate six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist organizations. According to the statement, “These Palestinian civil society organisations provide vital services to Palestinians living under occupation…We call on the UK government to uphold its legal and moral duties to the Palestinian people and support Palestinian civil society as its institutions are targeted by Israel’s repressive measures.”
    • In October 2021, War on Want published a statement that “Now more than ever, the international community must stand in solidarity with Palestinian civil society to protect human rights defenders and demand accountability for Israel’s human rights abuses.”
  • In February 2022, War on Want published an article titled “End Israeli Apartheid.” According to the article, “War on Want has long recognised Israel’s system of domination, based on institutionalised, racial discrimination, as the crime of apartheid…it will be the courage of those living under apartheid, alongside the efforts of countless activists around the world compelled to act by the force of injustice, that will end apartheid.”
  • In August 2021, War on Want published a “Israeli apartheid factsheet” stating that “A long-term solution to the crisis facing the Palestinian people is only possible through a proper understanding of the situation that has developed over the past century, and through the proper use of words to describe that situation correctly. Apartheid is one of those words.”
  • In March 2021, War on Want, together with the Palestinian NGO Addameer, published a report on “Israel’s military court system in the occupied West Bank.” The report calls to “increase support for Palestinian human rights defenders,” as well as “implement a two-way arms embargo on Israel.”
  • In March 2021, War on Want welcomed the decision of the ICC to launch a formal investigation into “the Situation in Palestine.” According to War on Want, “This investigation is crucial to ensure that Palestinians have access to justice, which they are currently denied.”
  • In January 2021, War on Want published an “Israeli apartheid factsheet.”
  • War on Want co-sponsored two events during Israeli Apartheid Week 2017, marking “100 years of Palestinian resistance against settler-colonialism, since the inception of the Balfour Declaration.”
  • In July 2017, during the violence on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount that included the murder of two Israeli police officers, War on Want published a press release accusing Israel of “wide ranging repression” of Palestinians and that Israeli police used “disproportionate and armed force against Palestinians exercising their fundamental human right to protest,” ignoring that Palestinian rioters “began hurling rocks at security forces” and “some stones fell at the Western Wall plaza below” forcing the evacuation of groups of Jews praying there.
  • During a wave of terrorism that began in October 2015, War on Want erased the context of terrorism and condemned Israel for the alleged “systematic violence Palestinians are subjected to under Israel’s apartheid regime.”
  • In 2013, War on Want sponsored a festival in London called “Bethlehem Unwrapped,” featuring a comedy show called “Stand Up Against the Wall,” a “Bethlehem Christmas dinner,” and a debate titled “Both sides of the Barrier – Separation or Security?” that featured Jeff Halper, founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.

BDS Activities

  • leader and mobilizer of anti-Israel BDS (boycotts, divestments, and sanctions).
  • Published a “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions” resource, “expos[ing] the companies that are profiting from the Occupation and call[ing] on ordinary people around the world to take action.”
  • Claims that “Through supporting the movement for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) we are building a global force to combat Israeli Apartheid.”
  • War on Want has lobbied the UK government to “stop arming Israel.” In a January 2018 article, War on Want Executive Director Asad Rehman stated that “the UK government continues its bloody arms trade with Israel” and needs to “stop arming Israel – and to hold its government to account for the apartheid policies that made BDS a necessity in the first place” (emphasis added).
  • In July 2022, War on Want launched a campaign against Barclays bank titled “Don’t Bank on Apartheid.” According to the campaign, “militarised repression is made possible by international complicity: countries, including the UK, trade in arms with Israel, whilst corporations, including Barclays, invest in these weapons and other repressive technologies.”
  • In March 2022, War on Want published a statement calling on the UK government to “Suspend the existing UK-Israel trade and cooperation agreement,” “implement a total ban on the trade and sale of settlement goods in the UK,” and “Put in place binding regulations to stop UK businesses from trading and profiting from Israel’s military occupation, illegal settlements and violations of Palestinian rights.”
  • In August 2021, War on Want signed a letter to the States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty calling to “put an end to Israel’s notorious use of arms and military equipment…by immediately imposing a comprehensive two-way arms embargo on Israel.” According to the letter, “This systematic brutality, perpetrated throughout the past seven decades of Israel’s colonialism, apartheid, pro-longed illegal belligerent occupation, persecution, and closure, is only possible because of the complicity of some governments and corporations around the world.”
  • In May 2021, War on Want launched a petition calling to “End the UK-Israel arms trade.” According to the petition, “Armed violence against Palestinians is at the heart of Israel’s occupation and apartheid regime, and the UK is complicit through its arms trade with Israel.”
  • In September 2020, War on Want called for the UN General Assembly to “Launch international investigations into Israel’s apartheid regime over the Palestinian people as a whole, as well as associated State and individual criminal responsibility,” to “Ban arms trade and military-security cooperation with Israel,” and “Prohibit all trade with illegal Israeli settlements and ensure that companies refrain from and terminate business activities with Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise.”
  • In April 2020, following the decision by the UK Supreme Court to “overturn a government ban on local councils divesting pesion [sic] schemes from companies complicit in human rights abuses,” War on Want Senior Campaigns Officer for Militarism and Security Ryvka Brand stated that “Boycott, divestment and sanction campaigns are invaluable in that struggle, and we must all continue to hold the UK government and institutions to account with these tools.” Brand further stated that “UK companies and institutions must not ​seek to profit from the annexation​, or they risk facing divestment campaigns to hold them to account.”
  • War on Want has lobbied in support of the discriminatory UN database of businesses operating across the 1949 Armistice line, aimed at bolstering BDS campaigns against Israel.
    • In February 2020, War on Want “welcome[d] the release” of the database and called for it to be “updated annually through regular reporting, both to allow new companies to be added when they begin listed activities in settlements, and to remove such companies if they cease their activities.”
  • War on Want has a campaign against HSBC Bank to “stop investing in and lending to companies arming Israel’s brutal oppression of Palestinians!” as “We can’t allow banks on our high streets to continue lending support to Israel’s militarised repression of Palestinians. Together, we can break the chain of complicity.”
    • In December 2018, following HSBC announcing that it had divested from Israeli drone manufacturer Elbit Systems, Ryvka Barnard, War on Want Senior Campaigner on Militarism and Security, stated that while “HSBC has taken a positive first step in divesting from Elbit Systems, the notorious manufacturer of drones, chemical weapons, cluster bomb artillery systems, and other technology used in attacks against Palestinian civilians… HSBC continues to do business with over a dozen companies selling military equipment and technology used in human rights violation, including Caterpillar.”
  • In March 2019, to commemorate one year of the violence on the Gaza border, War on Want called for people to write to their MPs and ask to “press the government for a military embargo on Israel.” According to War on Want, “The UK government is complicit in this violence so long as it continues approving arms exports to Israel.” War on Want 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 July 2018, War on Want supported the Irish “Control of Economic Activity (Occupied territories)” bill which would make it illegal for Irish citizens and residents to import or sell “settlement goods” or to provide or attempt to provide “settlement services.” According to Ryvka Barnard, “We welcome the news that the Irish Senate has voted to take concrete steps towards justice and accountability by voting to ban trade in goods pillaged from or produced in illegal settlements…War on Want calls on the UK government to stop rewarding human rights abuse and land grabs and to suspend all trade with Israel until it abides by international law.”
  • In July 2017, War on Want published the report “Deadly Investments” detailing how “UK banks and other financial actors facilitate and profit from Israel’s militarism, making them complicit in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people.” In the report, War on Want called “for banks to divest from and stop facilitating loans to companies that sell weapons and security services to Israel…call for the UK government to implement a two-way arms embargo on Israel.”
  • In April 2017, War on Want campaigned to have Israeli soccer clubs based in West Bank settlements expelled from FIFA.
  • In February 2016, following Oscar nominees being given a free trip to Israel, War on Want stated, “These celebrity tourists are…shielded from seeing the Palestinian popular resistance against oppression, manifesting in protests against the Apartheid Wall, against land confiscation and home demolitions in the unrecognised villages of the Naqab… The BDS movement exposes the real brutality of Israeli colonialism, the same scenes that Brand Israel is designed to conceal.”
  • In September 2015, War on Want organized a protest in London calling to “Stop the Arms Fair 2015: Stop Arming Israel Day of Action” and urging demonstrators to “challenge the Israeli and international arms companies’ pursuit of colonialism and death for profit.”
  • Together with the Campaign Against Arms Trade and Palestine Solidarity Campaign, published a July 2015 report, “Arming Apartheid: UK complicity in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people,” funded by the Lipman-Miliband Trust, claiming that “trading arms with Israel makes the UK complicit in Israel’s continuing violations of human rights and international law” and urging the UK “to implement an immediate two-way arms embargo to end all arms sales to and purchases from Israel.”
  • Initiated a 2014 campaign, which distorts the reality of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the concept of ethical investment, urging British security company G4S to end its contract with Israel’s prison authorities and alleging complicity in Israel’s “illegal occupation and the imprisonment and torture of Palestinians, including children.”
  • Published a 2013 report, “Killer drones: UK complicity in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people,” inflammatorily alleging that “Israel takes advantage of its armed conflicts to ‘field test’ its weapons on Palestinians.” Repeating calls for BDS, the report similarly demands “a two-way arms embargo between the UK and Israel,” which would include “all dealings with Israeli weapons companies, including Elbit, and an end to all licenses for UK arms exports to Israel.”


All Articles about War on Want (UK)

Further Reading