Saturday, August 25, 2007

'War on Want' charity’s boycott guide a "handbook of hate"

from The Jewish Chronicle (U.K.): Charity’s boycott guide slammed as a ‘handbook of hate’;
by Bernard Josephs

MPs and Jewish leaders have condemned a high-profile British charity which has unveiled plans for a world-wide anti-Israel boycott.

A document, described as “a guide for boycott, divestment and sanctions”, appears on the War on Want website, and as a booklet, laying out a strategy for those planning sanctions against the Jewish state. MPs have called on the Charity Commission to investigate the publication, described as “a handbook of hate” by Jewish Leadership Council chief executive Jeremy Newmark.

It suggests that the boycott movement needs to “gain greater popular support” in order “to grow into a truly global movement”.

Comparisons are drawn between sanctions against Israel and those imposed against apartheid-era South Africa. Investment in Israel should be presented to the public as “investment in a system of occupation, injustice and apartheid,” it says in the booklet, co-published with the Palestinian Stop the Wall organisation.

Lorna Fitzsimons, former Labour MP and chief executive of BICOM, the Britain-Israel Communications and Research Centre, said that “to equate the Palestinians’ situation with the absolute powerlessness of black South Africans under the apartheid regime is at best misguided, and at worst an insult and a tragedy”.

Liverpool Riverside Labour MP Louise Ellman said the publication was “very questionable” for a charity. Ilford North Conservative MP Lee Scott found it “disgraceful. I’m going to ask the Charity Commission to look into it”.

A government spokesman said that War on Want had received backing of £1.1 million from the Department for International Development, but none of this was for projects in the Middle East.

A War on Want representative told the JC: “ We helped fund [the booklet] and we are happy to promote it.”

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