War on Want pushes for more sanctions

By Jessica Elgot, December 31, 2010
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War On Want's newest paper on boycotts and sanctions against Israel has been described as reaching "rock bottom" by community leaders.

The report, "Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions" from the anti-poverty charity calls for the Palestinian right of return to Israel. This was called "antisemitic" by the chairman of Zionist Federation Harvey Rose who said it would mean the end of a Jewish homeland.

The paper says: "The right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and be paid reparations for loss of their homes and land is enshrined in international law and affirmed by UN General Assembly Resolution.

"Yet this UN resolution, like many others pertaining to Palestine, has been ignored by Israel."

It is a users’ manual for the BDS brigade

Mr Rose said: "WoW's hostility to Israel is well-known. Based on its comments that they support the return of Palestinian refugees, which will mean the cessation of Israel as a Jewish state, WoW will not be satisfied until Israel ceases to exist as a homeland for the Jewish people. This sentiment can only be described as antisemitic.

"In its latest Goebbels-inspired paper on the Palestinian plight, WoW has reached rock bottom by its lies, omissions, distortions, and no attempt at balance. It blames Israel for everything.

"It is truly amazing that a charity dedicated to eradicating poverty chooses the Palestinians as the 'defining global justice of our time'."

But John Hilary, executive director at WoW, said the charity did not accept the idea that right of return for Palestinians to Israel was the equivalent of calling for the end of the Jewish state.

He said: "The right of Palestinian refugees was affirmed as early as 1948 by UN General Assembly resolution 194. Like many other human rights organisations across the world, WoW calls for this right to be upheld."

WoW encourages boycott of Israel including "academic, cultural, sporting or consumer goods." Targets include agricultural exporter Agrexco, and British Telecom for its partnership with an Israeli telecommunications company.

The charity's Christmas appeal focused on Palestine, saying "£80 could help us launch a sustained campaign against UK companies that are profiting from the Occupation."

Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies, said: "This latest WoW campaign draws together so many, if not all of the current aspects of the wider drive to demonise Israel, that it reads like a case study of the genre.

"It is obviously meant to be a users' manual for the BDS brigade.

"Every trick and obfuscation of language is used; emotive but misleading terms like apartheid, conflating the position of both Israeli Arabs and Palestinians elsewhere, and all too predictably making no mention at all of Israel's efforts for peace, the need to ensure security for her citizens and the murderous and corrupt leadership endured by innocent Palestinians for decades."

    Last updated: 10:15am, December 31 2010