Why are Christian charities bashing Israel?
Unfortunately, mixed in with some Christian charities' good work is an alarming amount of hostility toward the Jewish state. It smacks of opportunism
The board of trustees of Embrace the Middle East, a Christian development charity headquartered in Amersham, has a decision to make. The board can ensure the organization it oversees operates as a bona fide Christian development organization, or it can allow Embrace’s chief executive, Jeremy Moodey, to transform the organization into an anti-Zionist propaganda mill.
If the trustees decide they want Embrace to operate as a charity, they had better act quickly because Moodey’s recent actions risk damaging the organization’s newly minted brand in a big way. It may take a while, but if things continue as they are, Embrace’s supporters, and the Israeli government, which helps fund a school for the blind operated by the charity in Jerusalem, may get wind of the organization’s anti-Israel tenor and find other charities and institutions to support.
This would be a tragedy for the folks who rely on Embrace the Middle East’s works. Judging from the organization’s annual reviews and reports Embrace clearly does good work in the three countries where it focuses its attention – Israel, Egypt and Lebanon.
Unfortunately, mixed in with Embrace’s good work is an alarming amount of hostility toward the Jewish state. Israel is regularly cast as the villain in the story Moodey tells about the Middle East. The undeniable misdeeds of Arab and Muslim leaders in the Middle East are selectively ignored.
This is particularly evident in an op-ed recently by Moodey that appeared on the organization’s blog on Nov. 30 and which was recently published in Dec. 7 issue of the Church of England’s newspaper.
In the piece, which lamented the recent fighting in the Gaza Strip and the suffering it caused, Moodey directed all his ire at Israel and offered hardly a word of criticism toward Hamas, which has turned the Gaza Strip into an open-air gulag for its inhabitants – its Christians especially – who recently went public with complaints of forced conversions.
Moodey ignored Hamas’s failure to protect the rights of Embrace’s primary clients in Gaza – Christians – and offered not one word of criticism for the hundreds of rockets that landed in Israel in the months and weeks prior to Operation Pillar of Defense.
No reasonable commentator can ignore the role Hamas has played in making the lives of the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip miserable and its cynical use of the suffering it has caused as a tool to lambaste Israel. No reasonable commentator would fail to hold Hamas to account for the rockets it launched, or allowed to be launched into Israel.
He does, however, call Israeli leaders to account, writing, “The Jewish state needs leaders with a true vision for peace and the courage to end the occupation, and withdraw some 650,000 illegal settlers.”
How about stating that Palestinians need leaders with a true vision for peace? Israel withdrew its citizens and soldiers from the Gaza Strip in 2005, only to be attacked by Hamas in 2006. Moodey insists that Israel withdraw its citizens from the West Bank, but what assurances can he give that such withdrawals will lead to peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors?
Israel has been repeatedly attacked in recent years from every bit of territory from which it has withdrawn. It has recently been attacked from the Sinai, from which it withdrew in the 1970s. It was attacked from Lebanon in 2006, from which it withdrew from in 2000. And Hamas’s primary recruiting grounds for suicide bombers during the Second Intifada were those cities and towns in the West Bank from which Israel withdrew its soldiers in the 1990s.
Moodey’s piece is pure anti-Israel partisanship.
Another demonstration of Moodey’s anti-Israel proclivities is an entry posted on Embrace’s blog on Nov. 16, 2012 in which he invokes the undeniably tragic death of 11-month-old Omar Mishrawi. Moodey blames Israel for the death of the infant, but there’s just one problem.
There is credible evidence indicating that Misharawi’s death was not caused by an Israeli strike, but by a Hamas rocket that fell short. The New York Times reported the following on Nov. 16, the same day Moodey’s piece was published: “It is unclear who was responsible for the strike on Annazla: the damage was nowhere near severe enough to have come from an Israeli F-16, raising the possibility that an errant missile fired by Palestinian militants was responsible for the deaths.”
Eventually, Reuters reported “The Palestinian Center for Human Rights, the leading human rights group in Gaza Strip that documents every single Israeli attack that takes place, does not include this child’s name on its list of victims.”
To be fair, Moodey may not have seen the early reports casting doubt on the cause of Misharawi’s death. A month has passed since the incident, but Moodey has yet to acknowledge that Hamas is likely responsible for the boy’s death. Will Moodey ever acknowledge that Hamas is largely at fault for the suffering and terror endured by the people it used as human shields during the recent fighting?
Another demonstration of how, under Moodey’s leadership, Embrace’s resources have been used to broadcast a partisan anti-Israel narrative is a report about the human rights of Arabs living in Israel. The report issued by Embrace on Monday, December 10, 2012, at the request of Lambeth Palace, looks at the status of Arabs living in Israel.
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