British organisation ends relationship with charity supporting Israeli settlements
In 2011 Corporate Watch reported that Christian Friends of Israeli Communities (CFOIC) Heartlands was receiving money from UK donors via World Action Ministries (WAM), a UK based charity.
CFOIC Heartland is an ideologically motivated Christian Zionist charity with offices in the Netherlands, US and Israel. It supports projects in illegal Israeli settlements including Maskiot, Argaman, Susiya and Na’ama, as previously reported by Corporate Watch.
World Action Ministries (WAM) now claims to have severed connections with CFOIC. In a statement to Corporate Watch in December 2012 an administrator for the organisation stated:
“When the issues you raise regarding CFOIC were first pointed out to the Trustees of WAM in the late summer of 2010 they were more than disappointed and immediately took steps to cease any contact or involvement with CFOIC, finally severing all contact with them in December of that year. No financial or other transactions have taken place on behalf of CFOIC since that time neither will there be in the future. This is clear from WAM’s 2011/12 records.” This account is indeed broadly reflected in WAM’s 2012 annual accounts available on the Charity Commission website.
WAM went further to say that its trustees had been assured by CFOIC that all donations from the UK would “be used in the pre-war region of Israel and not in the settlements themselves.”
However, WAM claims that it had decided to end its relationship with CFOIC when it “received a number of phone calls from people interested in the situation in Israel who advised us that CFOIC’s work was almost entirely in the settlements. This made us immediately feel very uncomfortable bearing in mind the advice being given by the United Nations and other bodies at the time.” “Our accountant pointed out to us that we had no control over how any of the donations made were actually used. Receiving no assurances from CFOIC as to how the money would be spent made us immediately very wary and we started the process of severing our relationship with them.”
WAM’s experience should provide a cautionary tale to other charities involved in relationships with CFOIC Heartland. Charities like CFOIC may make assurances that their funds will not be spent on projects in the settlements but these promises should not be taken at face value.
CFOIC Israel has confirmed to Corporate Watch that its UK donations are now received through an organisation called Stewardship Services (UKET) (view the application form here), a British Evangelical Christian charity based in Essex. Taxpaying donors have the option to tick a box to allow Stewardship Services to claim Gift Aid for CFOIC, amounting to a British government subsidy to CFOIC, which is not even a registered charity in the UK.
It is imperative that campaigners for justice in Palestine convince Stewardship Services to follow WAM’s example and end their link to CFOIC.