Poverty charity’s boycott is like Nazi Germany, says new group


A newly-launched Jewish activist group has likened a charity’s boycott of Israel to the policies of Nazi Germany.

Activists from Jewish Human Rights Watch (JHRW) led the group’s inaugural protest on Monday outside the head office of anti-poverty charity War on Want in north London.

It came as War on Want prepared to give students large cardboard cut-out guns to carry as part of Israel Apartheid Week activities on university campuses next week.

The charity supports the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel.

War on Want said the “props” were “designed to illustrate the military oppression the Palestinian people are facing”.

It rejected the suggestion the move was inflammatory at a time of antisemitic atrocities across the continent.
“Conflating our campaign against Israel’s occupation with antisemitic attacks in Europe is dangerous and deeply irresponsible,” a spokeswoman said.

Among the JHRW demonstrators was a Holocaust survivor’s daughter, Yochy Davis, who said: “Seventy years ago my father was a victim of the same sort of boycott when they were introduced by the Nazis in Germany.

“Here we are today being made again a victim of the same antisemitism.”
JHRW was started by commodities trader Manny Weiss.

In a statement the group said: “We find it both shocking and distressing that War On Want should be complicit in organising boycotts of Jews, akin to those the Jews suffered in Nazi Germany.

“At a time of rising attacks on Jews across Europe, War On Want must understand that their actions are contributing to the incitement of hatred of the British Jewish community.

“Can’t the board of War on Want join the dots here? What is a large British charity doing boycotting Jewish goods and running vicious campaigns in universities throughout the UK?”

War on Want, which works to combat poverty, inequality and injustice across the world, denied the claims the behaviour was akin to the Nazis.

Campaigns director Ruth Tanner defended its support for Palestinians.

She said: “War on Want has a longstanding policy of outright opposition to all forms of racism, including antisemitism, as part of our commitment to fighting the root causes of injustice.

“Palestinians are suffering from systematic repression and human rights abuse under Israeli occupation. We are proud to support Palestinian civil society’s call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until it complies with international law.”

The Charity Commission dismissed a complaint against War on Want’s activities in 2011 after concerns were raised by the World Jewish Congress.

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