Christian Aid’s campaigning and obsession with attacking Israel is further evidence that the goals of its leadership are primarily political, and not charitable. In the 6 months beginning September 2004, CA has issued several reports, campaigns, press releases and expensive advertisements all presenting strong pro-Palestinian political positions. (List and links at the end of this report.) These activities consistently minimize the impact of Palestinian terrorism, and make false or unverifiable claims regarding Palestinian victimization within Israeli self-defense policies.
Following the notorious "Child of Bethlehem" campaign during the Christmas period, and the anti-separation barrier ad in the Guardian, the latest attack was issued in the immediate aftermath of a Palestinian suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, as Christian Aid released a 2 March press statement inappropriately entitled "Palestinians need economic as well as military security". Equating victims with perpetrators, the statement says: "The fragile ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians has already been shattered – Tel Aviv has suffered another suicide bomb and Israel continues military activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories." This organization repeats the amoral equivalence between a terrorist atrocity and Israeli self-defense aimed at preventing further bloodshed.
As documented by NGO Monitor, Christian Aid routinely uses the facade of a charitable organization to pursue a highly political and ideological pro-Palestinian agenda. Its assertions are based on slogans that distort the history and the details of this conflict. Commenting on the 1 March 2005 London Palestinian reform conference, Christian Aid claims that "the root cause of Palestinian poverty – Israel’s continued occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem – was not on the agenda". The statement quotes Bernard Sabella of the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees, Middle East Council of Churches, who claims "The biggest stumbling block [to peace] is the reality of continued occupation", ignoring Palestinian responsibilities as laid out at the London conference itself.
Failing again to examine the evidence, Christian Aid’s PR statement relies on its highly politicized partners (e.g. Adalah, Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees and Palestine Monitor) in the Gaza Strip who claim that "residential areas have been shelled by the Israeli Defense Forces." As always, the context is eliminated and the press statement includes a photograph of a greenhouse in Gaza "destroyed by Israeli forces". Seemingly in response to rising criticism, Christian Aid’s Director, Daleep Mukharji was compelled to defend his organization in an op-ed for the Jewish Chronicle on 11 March. While attempting to explain his position, Mukarji failed to address the fundamental issues raised by Christian Aid’s activities, completely ignoring the "Child of Bethlehem" and other prominent campaigns. Despite Mukharji’s words of condemnation of suicide bombings and Palestinian human rights violations, the statements from official Christian Aid material promotes a different agenda altogether.
In summary this "charitable" organization has continued to mount entirely politicized attacks on Israel while excusing Palestinians from their responsibilities to promote democratic reform and end terror. This failure to recognize changing realities in the Middle East can only harm the hopes for peace that are now slowly emerging.
Christian Aid’s anti-Israel activities since September 2004:
- 6 October 2004 – Press release: "Israeli assault on Gaza leaves scores dead and many homeless"
- 21 October 2004 – Report: "Facts on the ground: The end of the two-state solution?"
- October 2004 – Partner update: "Letter from Gaza"
- December 2004 – "Child of Bethlehem" Christmas campaign and launch of "Pressureworks" website
- 22 December 2004 – Press release: "Israel’s land grab continues in shadow of Blair’s visit"
- 15 February 2005 – Christian Aid advert against Israeli security barrier published on front page of The Guardian
- 2 March 2005 – Press release: "Palestinians need economic as well as military security"
- 17 March 2005 – Partner update: "If people are shooting at you every day, you don’t worry about rotten teeth"
- 22 March 2005 – Press release: "Jerusalem and Bethlehem divided by separation barrier"