Summary: The Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere, Inc fulfils its humanitarian objectives without participating in political campaigns and demonization of Israel, thus serving as an example of a professional and balanced NGO operating in the Middle East.
While NGO Monitor has highlighted those organizations that pursue a political agenda regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it has also profiled NGOs that have successfully fulfilled their humanitarian objectives without participating in political campaigns and demonization of Israel. CARE USA is one such organization.
CARE USA – Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere, Inc – is one of a confederation of 11 separate member organizations that form CARE International, which is coordinated by a secretariat based in Brussels.
CARE’s mission, according to its website, "is to serve individuals and families in the poorest communities in the world. Drawing strength from our global diversity, resources and experience, we promote innovative solutions and are advocates for global responsibility."
CARE receives funding from individuals, dozens of US corporations, foundations, governmental agencies, the EU and the UN. CARE’s program expenses in 2003 totaled more than $446 million. Key partners include Cisco, Credit Suisse First Boston, Delta, Deutsche Post World Net USA, Rockport, Starbucks Coffee, The Timberland Company, WP Carey and Co and Weyerhaeuser Company. CARE provides a full list of its corporate partners. A number of projects are funded by USAID, including one for "Increased Participation by Civil Society Organizations in Public Decision-making and Government Oversight in West Bank/Gaza (TAMKEEN)." CARE’s Emergency Medical Assistance Project "is being implemented by a consortium led by CARE that also includes Johns Hopkins University and the American Near East Refugee Aid organization."
CARE USA’s various projects in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are individually profiled and the organization’s website emphasizes the practical humanitarian work in the Palestinian territories without adding political commentary. An example of such politically and ideologically neutral language can be found in a press release of 16 October 2002 (World Food Day: CARE international assessment finds high levels of malnutrition, anemia and micronutrient deficiencies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip) where CARE’s survey results are presented in a comprehensive and factual basis without any accompanying political rhetoric. In its 2003 Annual Report CARE states that its "goal is to act as an on-the-ground informant, showing how ordinary people are suffering, and provoking discussion of how the Palestinian Authority, Israeli government, U.S. government and humanitarian organizations might respond."
On occasion, however CARE officials also comment on the conflict in the region. For example, its president, Peter Bell, issued the following statement on 5 April 2002): "CARE deplores the violence and loss of life on both sides of this complex conflict. We find particularly abhorrent the harm done by both sides to innocent civilians. We condemn the systematic violation of the rights of the Palestinian people as well as the suicide bombings that target Israeli civilians. We believe that this cycle of violence will only lead to more suffering. CARE calls upon both sides to enter into a process that can yield a just and lasting peace."
This statement shows that CARE officials are not immune to the moral equivalence syndrome with respect to terrorism and response, but it is also exceptional, in sharp contrast to the intense advocacy of many other NGOs operating in the region.
Overall, CARE and its US branch provide an example of a humanitarian NGO carrying out its work under difficult circumstances in a professional manner for the benefit of those in need of its assistance programs. CARE is to be commended for not following the lead of many other NGOs in actively promoting a political agenda that contributes to the demonization of Israel and advocacy on behalf of the Palestinian leadership. Instead, CARE fulfils its mission, concentrating on practical humanitarian activities.