Charity Commission warns Medical Aid for Palestinians about funding misuse

The Charity Commission concluded its assessment of the complaint in November 2018.

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March 25, 2019 08:59
3 minute read.
Charity Commission warns Medical Aid for Palestinians about funding misuse

A Palestinian man checks a truck loaded with medical aid after entering Gaza at the Kerem Shalom crossing, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip August 28, 2014. An open-ended ceasefire in the Gaza war held on Wednesday as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced strong criticism in Israel over a costl. (photo credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/REUTERS)

 
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The Charity Commission for England and Wales recently warned Medical Aid for Palestinians that it must "take care" in heeding regulatory guidelines, following a complaint that portions of the money raised by the Palestinian organization are being used "towards political propaganda rather than for its stated purpose of providing medical aid," according to a statement released by the UK Lawyers for Israel.

The complaint was filed by UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) and the Lawfare Project. The Lawfare Project is a legal think tank and litigation fund committed to protecting the civil and human rights of Jewish communities around the world. UK Lawyers for Israel employs advocacy, legal research and campaigning to support Israel, Israeli organizations, Israelis, and/or supporters of Israel against BDS and other attempts to undermine, attack or delegitimize them.

Highlighted within the complaint were the Palestinian aid organization's links to funding NGO's tied to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which has been defined as a terrorist organization by the UK, United States, European Union, Canada and Israel. Also, the organization was accused of disseminating and using antisemitic, racist and misleading propaganda throughout its website, and promoting antisemitic works such as videos by former KKK leader David Duke or the antisemitic play "Seven Jewish Children."

The Charity Commission concluded its assessment of the complaint in November 2018.

“Whilst the Charity Commission stated that no further regulatory action or engagement was/is required at this time, we were clear that should any further complaints or information be received in this matter then it may be necessary for us to re-engage with the Charity," said a Charity Commission caseworker. "In confirming the closure of the Commission’s case, we signposted the Trustees to regulatory advice and guidance, specifically in relation to issues raised as part of our assessment of the complaint.”

If more complaints are received by the Charity Commission regarding the improper use of funding by Medical Aid for Palestinians, then the commission has the right to disqualify the organization from their approved list, affecting MAP's ability to receive funding, which could be a death sentence for the organization, UKLFI said in the statement.

“We would urge people to contact the Charity Commission if they see further evidence of political propaganda by Medical Aid for Palestinians or links to terrorist organisations,” Jonathan Turner, chief executive of UK Lawyers for Israel, said.

The Medical Aid for Palestinians earns an annual income of $7.16 million a year for the specific purpose of providing medical aid to the Palestinian people. 

“The Charity Commission has told Medical Aid for Palestinians to take care to heed regulatory guidelines," said Lawfare's executive director, Brooke Goldstein. "I hope this means that Medical Aid for Palestinians will stick to its stated purpose of providing Medical Aid to Palestinians, rather than aiding and abetting the spread of lies and hate against Israel and Jews. If they slip up, they should know that action will be taken."

In response to the report, Medical Aid for Palestinians said that UKLFI "has published a grossly misleading press release" claiming that the Charity Commission issued a warning to the NGO.

"MAP has not been 'warned' by the Commission and we are concerned that UKLFI considers it appropriate to suggest otherwise. The uncomfortable truth for UKLFI and Lawfare – which they appear unwilling to acknowledge – is that the Charity Commission was satisfied that none of their allegations against MAP warranted further investigation. We do not have links to terrorist organisations. Our publications are based on evidence from authoritative and credible sources. We abhor all forms of prejudice including antisemitism, and say so publicly," the organization said in its statement. 

“Further to a complaint received regarding Medical Aid for Palestinians, the Commission assessed and considered the concerns raised including by engaging with the charity. In consideration of the information available, the Commission concluded that no further regulatory action was required at this time. In concluding our engagement we signposted the trustees to general regulatory advice and guidance. As in all cases, should any further complaints or information be received the Commission will consider whether it is necessary to re-engage with the charity.” said the Charity Commission in an email to The Jerusalem Post.

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