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UK charity targets Israel
War On Want: Israel's disregard for human rights is one of gravest injustices in century

A British charity has denied charges of anti-Semitism after coming under fire for producing a detailed guide to boycotting Israel.  

 

War on Want, ostensibly a charity set up to fight worldwide poverty, recently published a guide on its website, entitled, "Towards a global movement for Palestine; a framework for today's anti-apartheid activism."

 

"Boycotts, divestment, and sanctions have gained currency in recent years as a series of strategies to pressure Israel in pursuit of justice for Palestinians," the guide's introduction said.

 

"Yet, it is clear that initiatives need to strengthen and gain greater popular support if they are to be an effective force in support of Palestinians," it continued, before instructing readers to boycott Israeli goods, support a trade embargo against Israel, back the academic boycott against Israelis, and enforce a sports boycott.

 

The guide is peppered with anti-Israeli posters showing a map of the region alongside the caption: "Free Palestine, isolate Israel," and "Israel is an apartheid state."

 

The charity receives some 1.1 million pounds from the British government, though a UK government source told the Jewish Chronicle last week that the money was not intended for projects in the Middle East.

 

'Charity adopts traditional anti-Semitic libels'

Responding to the boycott guide, Professor Gerald Steinberg, executive director of the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, said: "In the past, War on Want has accused Israel of 'caging' Palestinians into 'ghettos'; engaging in an 'expulsion project'; and acting like a 'heavyweight beating a child'. It has also adopted traditional anti-Semitic libels by repeating unsupported allegations that the IDF targets Palestinian water sources as a 'punitive and discriminatory tool.'"

 

"In addition, War on Want distributed anti-Israel material at the University College Union conference prior to the academic boycott vote. They are very much at the forefront of the political war against Israel, all the while they have received funding from the EU, the UK Department for International Development, and Irish Aid," Steinberg added.

 

But John Hilary, director of campaigns at War On Want, denied the charges. "We reject entirely any suggestion that War on Want's campaign is anti-Semitic," he told Ynetnews, adding that "War on Want has made this booklet available because we believe Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine deserves an international response in the same way as apartheid South Africa did.

 

"Israel's continuing disregard for international humanitarian law and human rights stands as one of the gravest injustices of the 21st century," Hilary said. 

 

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