European governments, charities continue to fund War on Want, ignoring radical campaigning

In the past, British charity War on Want (WoW) – whose radical political activities have drawn intense criticism – has failed to provide financial details on its website. A copy of the NGO’s 2006 official submission to the UK Charity Commission has now become available on the Charity Commission’s site, which includes details of WoW’s government funding sources.

In 2006, it received £300,006 from the UK Department for International Development (DFID), £229,820 from the European Commission, £34,017 from the UK National Lottery Charities Board, £24,696 from the Department of Foreign Affairs Ireland and £189,000 from Comic Relief, one of the UK’s major charity campaigns (page 16). While funding amounts are listed, it is not clear how much from each source is directed towards WoW’s "Palestine campaign;" no further information is available on the European Commission or the Irish Government’s websites. (DFID lists WoW as a recipient of Civil Society Challenge Fund for humanitarian projects, unrelated to Israel.)

Such government and charitable support for WoW is highly problematic, given the NGO’s radical politicized campaigning against Israel. Even if grants are directed, money is fungible, and institutional support also increases the NGO’s credibility. The result is that WoW’s total budget of £1,432,348 includes £535,536 allocated to "campaigning and policy work" which clearly contradicts stated EU, UK and policy goals. (See NGO Monitor’s recent reports on EU Funding, DFID, and Irish Government Aid for more information on these guidelines.)