Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Update: Comic Relief Responds to my complaint about its funding of "War on Jews"

Last week I posted this story about Comic Relief's continued funding of the anti-Israel organisation War on Want (I now know it is giving £685,131 to ongoing War on Want 'projects'). After following up with a formal complaint to the Charities Commission I finally got a response today from Comic Relief (below, along with my response). In looking carefully at all the projects Comic Relief funds it becomes very obvious that, in total contrast to the TV image it presents to the unknowing British public, almost all the money raised actually goes to political activists under the guise of 'social justice' (a euphemism for communism). And remember that, apart from War of Want, the current main recipients of Comic Relief funding are also organisations that spend enormous amounts of money on anti-Israel political campaigns (namely Oxfam, Save the Children and Christian Aid).  Comic Relief is an enormous scam that is deceiving decent hard working people (especially kids) into giving money for campaigns designed and implemented by extreme leftist political activists - campaigns that are providing no discernible benefits to the 'starving Africans'.

Dear Edgar,

Thank you for your email. I can only reiterate our correspondence with you last year confirming that Comic Relief is not involved with War on Want’s campaigning work in this area and has never made a grant to or relating to Palestine or Israel.

Comic Relief currently has two grants with War on Want as part of our People Living in Urban Slums programme; one grant in South Africa and the other in Zambia. The most recent of these was made in 2011. These grants were made to support slum dwellers and street vendors by helping them get their voices heard, secure lasting improvements in their working and living conditions, and avoid exploitation. We closely monitor all our grants to ensure the money is spent to good effect on the work outlined in the grant application. As our grant-making policies state, we do not fund campaigning work that takes a partisan political stance.

Contrary to your email, our website does provide information about our grants for these projects. You will find the information in the same place we publish information about all the grants we make: You will find the two projects mentioned above by searching for projects in Zambia or South Africa. Our International Grants Strategy from 2013 confirms the focus of our grant-making is mainly for projects in Africa,which, as explained above, includes the grants to War on Want.

We have clear terms and conditions for all grantees that any grant must be spent on the project costs as outlined in their applications. We have robust monitoring and reporting systems in place to review project progress and expenditure, and undertake audits on projects if we have any concerns. We are satisfied that our funding has not been used to support War on Want’s wider work.

We hope this provides the information you needed.

With best wishes,

Julia Rose
Grants Operations Team

*Comic Relief*
1st Floor, 89 Albert Embankment
Switchboard: 020 7820 2000
Fax: 020 7820 2222
Website: _www.comicrelief.com_

Here is my response:

Dear Julia

Thank you for your response.

With some difficulty I did indeed manage to search and find the grants you gave to War on Want:
  • £326,187 for a project in Zambia "helping to build the confidence of informal street vendors to negotiate with local authorities to improve their working condition".
  • £358,944 for a project in South Africa that "helps grassroots slum dwellers' organisations by training community activists and slum dwellers on their legal rights. "
Both of these sound like an enormous amount of money for what is essentially political activism with ill-defined outcomes. Apart from the fact that those grants do not seem consistent with your statement that you "do not fund campaigning work that takes a partisan political stance" are you able to provide explicit information about what the benefits of those projects have been and if the money was well spent? Given the very large sums involved (for projects that could be completed for a faction of the cost), how can you possibly know that War on Want did not use that money to subsidize its political campaign to deligitimize the Jewish State of Israel. Its campaign against Israel has been almost the ONLY activity War on Want has undertaken in the last 5 years (as proven by the material I have previously provided). Every one of their employees spends almost 100% of their time on the campaign against Israel and it is therefore impossible that your money does not contribute to this.

While I am happy to know that the most recent grant to War on Want was made in 2011,  can you at least confirm that this will be the last you will ever make to this organisation?


Edgar Davidson

See also: Anti-Israel Charities

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