Latest posts on Christian Aid

Why 'Christian Hate?'? An introduction to the blog

Places Christians shouldn't go A quick tour of Christian Hate?'s case against Christian Aid

Christians and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict Read all my posts on this topic

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

It's Christian Aid Week

(thanks to eChurch Christian Blog for cross-posting this post)

If you have overlooked the fact that this is Christian Aid week I'm sure you're in good company. There have been one or two distractions around. No little gnashing of teeth at CA HQ, I suspect.

Not that such a very political charity can really complain about being upstaged by politics, though. And in writing an update on Christian Aid I shall have no difficulty in making topical connections.

Actually my last big Christian Aid post, written in October, doesn't need very much updating. On their website a new policy paper on Gaza has increased the total of papers on Israel and Palestine from seven to eight. The combined total of papers on African regional conflicts, the Chinese occupation of Tibet, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Chechnya, Zimbabwe and Burma continues to stand at zero.

There is plenty to catch up on concerning someone who had a starring part in that October post, and this is where it gets topical. Take a bow Baroness Tonge, member of and former frontbencher for what is now our junior governing party.

In October her Ladyship was still a Lib Dem health spokesperson. Though fired by Charles Kennedy and reprimanded by Menzies Campbell, it seemed that Nick Clegg was more indulgent towards her extremist views. But in February she finally went too far for Clegg. To recap, Palestine Telegraph, a website of which she was then a patron, carried an allegation that IDF members supposedly delivering humanitarian aid in Haiti were in fact harvesting body parts. Quizzed about this by the Jerusalem Post, Tonge did not denounce the accusation as a disgusting anti-Semitic slur. Instead she called for an independent inquiry. Whether she felt the inquiry should also cover the killing of Christian children to provide blood to be baked in matzos was not clear - personally, I think there should be an inquiry to clear her name. Anyway, the upshot was that she was sacked - again.

I was with those who thought it was high time for Baroness Tonge to have the Lib Dem whip withdrawn from her. How many strikes does it take before you're out? But at least Nick Clegg did something. That's more than can be said of Christian Aid or the churches which sponsor it. It was business as usual at Friends of Sabeel UK, the Israel-demonizing partner "charity" of Christian Aid which still includes Tonge among its Patrons.

Let's be fair to the Baroness, though. Fast forward to 22 April:-

'Baroness Jenny Tonge has withdrawn her patronage of the Palestine Telegraph after the paper posted a video of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke claiming that Israel is a terrorist threat to America.'

Evidently even Tonge didn't feel that Duke could be covered by the "it's not anti-Semitic to criticize Israel" line. Commendable, though given that by this time we were in the thick of an election campaign, I'm not sure we can exclude the possibility that she had some help from a Higher Power in reaching her decision. Note that her fellow patron, the then Respect MP George Galloway, who is entirely is own master in such matters, has felt no need to resign.

Galloway also got a name check in my October post. Will his Klan connection move Friends of Sabeel UK to distance themselves from him? What about Interpal, whose coordinator Ibrahim Hewitt also continues to serve as a FoSUK Patron?

It may be that the members of my church who are collecting for Christian Aid this week share the fondness for Hamas of Baroness Tonge, George Galloway and Ibrahim Hewitt. But I really don't think so. I think they just want to give help to people who need it. If I believed the only way of doing that was to support Christian Aid, I might have signed up for some tin-rattling despite all my reservations. But it isn't.

I do continue to make generous donations to Christian Aid via the Inland Revenue. I'd like to think the change of government will lead to some rather more rigorous questions being asked about what it is they do. It certainly doesn't look as if the new man at International Development shares their pet obsession:-

'Andrew has a strong interest in conflict prevention, resolution and reconciliation. He served as a UN peacekeeper in Cyprus, and has twice visited Darfur, Sudan, with Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague MP and Conservative Party Leader David Cameron MP. He has also visited the Democratic Republic of Congo. His experience in these countries informed his 2007 pamphlet "The UN and the Failure to Protect", which made a number of suggestions for reform of the UN’s peacekeeping efforts.

'In March 2007 Andrew became the first senior British politician for many years to travel to Burma and meet the ruling junta. He delivered a robust message to the military regime about the need for a transition to democracy. He also met senior members of the National League for Democracy and leaders of the 1988 protests, and visited a camp for displaced people on the Thai-Burma border. He has followed recent events in Burma closely, and remains in touch with key figures in Rangoon. Andrew’s covertly-filmed video diary from the trip can be viewed on YouTube.'

1 comment:

David said...

For the latest comments on Israel from Christian Aid see:

Does Mr Grumpy have anything to say about this?