Oxfam has crossed ‘red line’ on Board project

Oxfam’s continued affiliation with a Palestinian charity could jeopardise its joint anti-hunger project with the Board of Deputies, it can be revealed.

A Board committee concluded on Tuesday that Oxfam’s decision to continue funding the West Bank-based Miftah group had “crossed a red line” in the relationship between the Jewish organisation and the NGO.

It is not yet clear whether the findings of the Board’s Oxfam monitoring group will lead to the termination of the controversial Grow/Tatzmiach food project.

A blog post invoking the antisemitic blood libel was temporarily published on Miftah’s website in March. The group apologised, removed the post and disciplined the staff member responsible. Oxfam said at the time that its work with Miftah to empower marginalised women would continue.

Deputies voted in favour of entering the joint project with Oxfam in January following weeks of campaigning by opponents of the plan who claimed the charity adopted an anti-Israel stance.

But the Board set up a monitoring committee, outlined a series of “red lines”, which if crossed, would lead to the termination of the partnership with Oxfam.

While these included support for a boycott of Israeli goods or backing groups which condone violence, the “red lines” did not cover incidents of antisemitism.

Nevertheless, the committee’s members voted four to three that Oxfam’s affiliation with Miftah crossed a “red line”.

On Wednesday Board president Vivian Wineman said he was awaiting a response from Oxfam.

The anti-hunger project — which involved 30 Jewish volunteers — is due to end next month, before the Board’s executive takes a decision on whether the Miftah issue requires termination of the scheme.

Last updated: 4:45pm, May 9 2013