Never mind the suffering of Palestinian children, just give us the dosh!
Every child is important in the eyes of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children – unless they are Palestinian, it would seem.
The NSPCC has accepted millions from a company which makes money from destroying Palestinian homes, traumatising the children and plunging the families into instant poverty.
And a three-year campaign to change the charity’s practice eventually evinced a response that they had checked with their lawyers, and it was legal to do so.
JCB, which has not engaged at all with campaigners, exports to an Israeli partner, Comasco. The bulldozer manufacturer is fully aware that their equipment is used to demolish Palestinian homes, schools, clinics, olive groves and water pipes. This is completely illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention, the human suffering is immeasurable and studies by psychologists show that the children are permanently traumatised.
But it is all part of Israel’s policy of “judaizing” Palestine in – among other places – East Jerusalem, the highly fertile Jordan Valley and the Naqab (Negev).
But that cuts no ice with the charity which claims to exist for the protection of children. The acceptance of money from JCB is “legal” so the human misery wreaked by their bulldozers is ignored.
Morality versus legality crops up in Radio4 programme The Moral Maze. When slavery was ‘legal’, was it also ‘moral’ to keep slaves? Did the people who supported escaped slaves act morally, even though they violated the legal rights of slave owners?
We all know that the legal and the moral do not always make comfortable bed fellows – but the NSPCC happily jumps into bed with JCB. For this eminent charity, morality isn’t the issue – what matters is the bottom line,
Meanwhile the United Nations, Amnesty International and Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights have all denounced JCB’s complicity with Israel as war crimes. And the company is currently under scrutiny by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for its lack of a human rights policy.
A broad coalition comprising Defence of Children International, ICAHD UK, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Protecting Palestinian Families, the Shoal Collective, Social Work Action Network, the UK-Palestine Mental Health Network, eminent social work and medical professionals and thousands of individual citizens has bombarded the NSPCC with letters, postcards and Tweets, all asking the senior staff and every single trustee at NSPCC to sever links with JCB.
All these bodies and individuals condemn JCB, quoting International Humanitarian Law, International Law and Human Rights conventions. But the NSPCC ignores it all, citing narrow legality.
And here comes the hypocrisy. NSPCC uses the language of some of these documents in its banner headlines – “Every Child Matters” and “Every Child is Worth Fighting For” but these wonderful slogans don’t apply to Palestinian children apparently.
Dressing up in the words of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of the Child is shameful whilst their major donor inflicts homelessness and poverty on other children and trashes their education and health by destroying schools and clinics.
Campaigners first approached NSPCC gingerly, respecting their elevated position in the realm of charities. How views can change! The NSPCC looks more like a business than a charity where only bank balance matters.
Bodies regulating charities accept that there will be times when a charity can and should refuse donations. The Charity Commission prompts charities to consider this question, “Have any public concerns been raised about the donors or their activities?” And the Institute of Fundraising says, “While it is true that the more money a charity has, the more they can do, there can be times when it is right for a charity to not accept certain donations.”
We have posed this moral option to the NSPCC over and over. Helpfully, the NSPCC has made it clear: they are happy to accept millions from a toxic firm named and shamed by the likes of the UN and Amnesty International. You can almost hear the senior staff and trustees of NSPCC asking, “Who are those people anyway?”
These people are the moral conscience of the world, reflecting the concerns of all who care about justice, human rights, basic decency, and therefore Palestinian children.
Unlike the NSPCC.
Annie O’Gara, Sharen Green