Regulator considers War on Want complaint

By Marcus Dysch, August 6, 2009
WJC president Ronald Lauder

WJC president Ronald Lauder

The Charity Commission has confirmed it is considering a complaint from the World Jewish Congress about the actions of anti-poverty charity War on Want.

WJC president Ronald Lauder wrote to the Commission last month after WoW called for a worldwide boycott of Israel.

A Commission spokeswoman said it was “considering the contents” of the letter. However, the representative could not say when the matter would be resolved or what action could be taken.

Mr Lauder’s complaint came after WoW supported the launch of journalist Ben White’s book, Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide. On July 9, the charity hosted an event as part of a global day of action against Israel’s security fence.

It featured a question-and-answer session with Mr White.

In his letter to the Commission, Mr Lauder wrote that “the use of gross and false analogies such as apartheid incites hatred and contempt for the state of Israel”.

He cited the widely used definition of antisemitism by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, in which is included “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, for example by claiming that the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavour”.

At the event, WoW chief executive John Hilary was asked whether it was appropriate for a registered charity to become involved in a political boycott.

He defended the stance, saying he had received the approval of the charity’s trustees and the Charity Commission.

Last updated: 12:21pm, August 7 2009