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Thursday, July 21, 2005

An open letter to Daleep Mukarji

(Dr Daleep Mukarji is Director of Christian Aid)

Dear Dr Mukarji,

On 2 February 2003 I wrote to you expressing concern about Christian Aid’s approach to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and specifically the one-sided criticism of Israel made in a postcard your supporters were invited to send to Tony Blair. I told you that I felt it necessary to discontinue my previous support for Christian Aid in the light of this. You wrote me a substantial and courteous reply, but this did not adequately address my concerns, especially as I found a consistent pattern of anti-Israel bias displayed in Christian Aid News and other Christian Aid media. On 20 August 2004 I wrote a second letter to you, to which I did not receive a reply. It now seems clear to me that Christian Aid’s position on this issue is one which it has adopted consciously and deliberately and which it has no intention of reviewing. Consequently I now feel it is appropriate to make my concerns public, and so I have set up a website where I document my charge of bias in extensive detail.

Please note that I do not charge Christian Aid with conscious anti-Semitism. However, I agree with the International Council of Christians and Jews when they apply this standard to criticism of Israel: ‘Voicing opposition to Israeli Government policy is not of itself anti-Semitic. But criticism which demonises and de-legitimises the Jewish state alone, often by applying double standards, acts as a contributory factor to antisemitism’. On this basis I find Christian Aid’s current position wholly unacceptable.

I am aware that similar concerns have been raised by members of the Jewish community, and I have read with interest your reply to them in the Jewish Chronicle of 11 March 2005. I am naturally pleased to note your unreserved condemnation of suicide bombings. It would, it seems to me, only be necessary for you to go a little further in order to supply the Jewish community with the really substantial reassurance it is looking for. I am now inviting you to take this further step.

Will you name, and condemn by name, the organizations which mastermind suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians?

Will you condemn them for denying Israel the right to exist? Will you acknowledge that your assertion that ‘Israel’s right to recognition and safety for all its citizens, as well as the right to independent economic development, is not in question’ is simply false as far as they are concerned – and that it can only be genuinely true of Christian Aid if you are prepared to speak out against those who disagree?

Will you condemn their explicitly anti-Semitic ideologies?

Will you condemn them for the massive contribution they make to the impoverishment of their fellow-Palestinians? Will you make it clear that the drastic deterioration in Palestinians’ living standards which you rightly seek to address has occurred since these organizations launched a systematic campaign of murder and terror against Israeli civilians?

Will you acknowledge the Palestinian contribution to the failure of the Oslo peace process, rather than pointing solely to Israel’s responsibility?

‘Christian Aid unreservedly condemns the suicide bombings and attacks on Israeli civilians by Palestinians, as do our partners in both the occupied territories and Israel’, you say. Will you ensure that your partners do not just bury their condemning somewhere in a policy document, but do it loud and clear – e.g. in prominent positions on their websites? Will you tell the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, for instance, that amid its detailed documentation of alleged Israeli human rights violations it must at least mention the existence of Israeli civilians killed by terrorists?


A clear and positive response from you on these points would also serve to reassure me that your condemnation of terrorist attacks is more than just the bare minimum you judge to be necessary in order to safeguard Christian Aid’s status as a registered charity, an official agency of the Churches and a recipient of substantial government and European Union funding. At a time when we are confronting the reality of British suicide bombers selecting British citizens as targets I believe it would also be welcomed by very many of your Christian supporters.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Cyrus

3 comments:

Anita Steiner said...

Hi Cyrus,
I've read your post all the time and would like to thankyou for being an active voice out there.
I think that Christian Aid and others that adopt a one sided resonse to the Palestinian/Israel conflict also hold the view that this conflict is central to the anger felt by the Muslim world and the problems that the world is now facing.
If that is correct, then their one sided approach can also be seen as incitement.
If you listen to most Muslims that are seething about Israel, their knowedge of historical fact is often wrong and sometimes even based on fabricated lies that stuck.
I think that if Christian Aid were serious about imroving the situation in this conflict, they would therefore try their utmost to have both sides understand each other and promote dialogue. So when they themselves do not even listen to the Israeli side, they can't accuse Israel as being the agressor with honesty without accepting that they are a player in stirring up these tension.

Cyrus said...

I'd absolutely go along with this comment. We're repeatedly being told that the London suicide bombers are the tip of an iceberg of anger about the invasion of Iraq among young British Muslims. But those who make this point dodge the crucial question: is their anger a response to the real situation or a propagandized version of it? If the latter, the primary responsibility of the media must be not to relay their anger to the rest of society, but to make sure they form their judgments on the basis of reasonably objective and honest reporting.

Huldah said...

Unfortunately in the present state of the Main Stream Media, we're unlikely to get honest reporting on Israel.

The unpleasant union of the Left and Islamofascists means that the left-dominated media use Islam as yet another way to get at Jews - especially religious Jews. Noticed how increasingly uncomfortable several well known left-leaning Jewish journalists are becoming on their chosen journals?

Also, it was only the activities of those nasty 'right wing bloggers' that forced the Guardian to sack a member of the anti-semitic and extremist organisation Hizb ul-Tahrir. So much for their human rights/anti fascist credentials.

Some hope of fair representation for Israel in MSM. And sadly many Christian NGOs are infected with the same disease ...