War on Want
War on Want is a leading British charity which receives a great deal of political support and taxpayers money. Over the last decade, it has been given just under £1.5 million of Comic Relief’s funds. It has also obtained just under half a million pounds from the European Commission and about £160,000 from the British Government. The stated aims of War on Want include the promise “to relieve global poverty however caused through working in partnership with people throughout the world.” Such a claim suggests a forward-thinking organisation that acts in the interest of progress and prosperity; regrettably, the opposite is true.
War on Want has been criticized by many individuals and organizations, including British cabinet minister Teresa Villiers MP as well as the watchdog group NGO Monitor, which issued a report that concluded:
War on Want is an extremely politicised NGO which actively promotes the Durban Strategy and uses anti-Semitic themes to attack Israel. Given WoW’s extensive political campaigning and lobbying efforts, its one-sided approach to the conflict that ignores Palestinian terrorism, and the recurring investigations by the Charity Commission, funding from the EU and UK to this NGO is highly problematic.
War on Want is closely involved with the BDS movement, which promotes the boycott of Jewish goods from the Middle East.
In 2010, War on Want produced a list of recommended books for its supporters. War on Want’s Executive Director, John Hilary, explained:
One of our volunteers asked us the other day to recommend key books for someone wanting to learn more about Palestine. For anyone seeking a first guide, Ben White’s Israeli Apartheid (Pluto Press, 2009) gives a good overview and set of sources.
Ben White is the author of Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide. He has previously written in defence of Iranian President Ahmedinejad against claims of Holocaust Denial and anti-Semitism. Further, in an article entitled, Is It “Possible” to Understand the Rise in “Anti-Semitism”?, published on extremist website CounterPunch, White linked the rise of anti-Semitism with “the widespread bias and subservience to the Israeli cause in the Western media.” He concluded, “I do not consider myself an anti-Semite, yet I can also understand why some are.”
Hilary also encouraged campaigners to read Shlomo Sand’s book, The Invention of the Jewish People, which posits that the Jews, as a single collectivity, do not exist.
Further, War on Want openly supported a tour organized by the British Committee for Universities for Palestine, which brought extremist Bongani Masuku to speak at a number of British Universities. The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) found Masuku to have wilfully incited violence between different student groups on campus, after he made remarks “intended to incite violence” against Jewish students.
Hilary has blamed Jews for criticizing War on Want, claiming that investigations into War on Want’s activities were “part of an ongoing strategy by an organised pro-Israeli lobby and the Jewish press.” In the past, Hilary has been happy to work with the Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPAC), an extremist Islamist group that was condemned by both the National Union of Students and a Parliamentary committee for publishing anti-Semitic materials. The founder of MPAC, Asghar Bukhari, notoriously provided financial support to the Holocaust denier David Irving.