Christian Aid has apologised after its UK-based online youth magazine published an article calling Israel an “apartheid state”.
The article, published on the website Ctrl.Alt.Shift and entitled Young Blood: Peres — War Criminal and Proud, attacked Israeli president Shimon Peres as a “war criminal” and called Zionism a “racist ideology”.
Published on Holocaust Memorial Day last week, the article placed images of dead Jews in concentration camps next to images of dead Palestinians.
But on Tuesday, after being approached by the JC, Christian Aid removed it. It was written by a regular contributor to the site, Jody McIntyre, who also writes for the Electronic Intifada website and describes himself as based in Palestine. As a wheelchair user, he writes a column called Life on Wheels.
A spokesman for the Israeli Embassy said: “Calling Shimon Peres, a man who has striven his entire life for peace, a war criminal, comes from a mind too full of hate and ignorance to allow room for reason.
“Using images of either the Shoah or of dead Palestinians shows a twisted disregard for the sanctity of human life. The only relevant comparison from that era is in the vile rhetoric of the Nazis, and the gushings of hate from these websites.”
Alan Aziz, director of the Zionist Federation, said: “It is disgusting that Christian Aid, along with other NGOs which seem to have forgotten what they were set up to do, continue with their obsession with Israel and their one-sided, often inaccurate, views.
“It is no coincidence that this happened on Holocaust Memorial Day and goes to show how elements within these organisations are dragging these NGOs into a zone that they know little about.”
Naftali Balanson, managing editor of the watchdog NGO Monitor, said that Christian Aid should now review its policies. He added: “This is rhetoric that I would expect to find on an explicitly antisemitic or extremist website.
“Christian Aid should conduct a thorough review of Ctrl.Alt.Shift to ensure that other offensive material is also removed and institute safeguards to prevent further abuses in its publications.”
A spokesman for Christian Aid said: “The piece had been submitted by someone who is not a regular contributor and I’m not sure how it came to be published. It should not have been, and we have taken it down immediately.
“The organisation can understand how it can be seen to be offensive and we want to apologise for it.
“The site is monitored and something has gone wrong. We are going to look into how it came to be published and check our internal process of moderation.”