Wednesday, December 07, 2016

07-Dec-16: The alleged failures at World Vision and a toxic ideological background

World Vision's Middle East involvement goes
beyond mere "humanitarianism" and includes
"advocacy" with such far-left Israel-based partners
as "Breaking the Silence" and B'tselem.
Note that the word "terror" appears nowhere in its
brochure [check here]
The terrorism-centered scandal at the multi-billion dollar global Christian charity World Vision ["06-Dec-16: World Vision and terrorism: Hazy accounting is the last thing this scandal needs"] has brought some even larger issues out of the dark.

First, what are the charges against World Vision's chief manager in Gaza, El-Halabi? NPR says they are about the charity's funds being "diverted" to these ends:
Money raised to support injured children in Gaza was diverted to the families of Hamas militants who claimed their children were wounded. Money was paid as salaries to Hamas militants who were falsely registered as World Vision employees. Costs for legitimate projects such as greenhouses were inflated, with the extra money going to Hamas. Fake charities that were actually Hamas fronts received World Vision donations. And entire lists of aid beneficiaries were fictitious, so instead of giving money to needy farmers, the money was handed out to Hamas members. Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasim told NPR that the allegations were made by "an enemy entity that has no credibility at all to us," and that "Israel is trying to make fake media wins." Pressed on whether Halaby was a member of Hamas, Qasim declined to comment... ["Israel Accuses World Vision Employee Of Embezzling Millions For Hamas", NPR, August 5, 2016]
A wide-ranging article seeking to put the current allegations, now under scrutiny in an Israeli criminal court, into a broader context has just been published today. In "World Vision’s Decades-Long Hate Campaign Against Israel" that appears online and in the December 2016 issue of The Tower Magazine, Luke Moon, deputy director at the Philos Project ("the network hub for leaders and future leaders who are committed to promoting positive Christian engagement in the Middle East") provides some background we have not seen elsewhere.

He refers to the criminal charges we mentioned yesterday and to the charity's problematic reaction:
World Vision has responded by questioning the charges, claiming that the entire budget for Gaza over the last ten years is just $22.5 million. They also claim to be impartial and neutral on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, rejecting any involvement in political activities. While this claim may be true in other conflict zones where World Vision operates, it is not true in regard to Israel. Not only does World Vision have a long history of antagonism toward the Jewish state, it has done more to undermine Christian support for Israel than any other organization... [The Tower, December 2016]
How much should that worry us? A lot, we think, because
World Vision is the largest and most respected Christian humanitarian organization in the world. In homes and churches across the U.S., it is widely known for assisting children and families in need... [The Tower, December 2016]
Moon traces the changes in this important charity's orientation to the entry of a handful of named individuals. One of them, Tom Getman, became director of World Vision's Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza (JWBG) operation in 1997.
World Vision advocates for the
Palestinian Arab argument on the
security barrier issue [Image Source]
Under his leadership, World Vision’s work in the Holy Land became increasingly anti-Israel. It was not uncommon for Getman to travel the world promoting World Vision, as well as the work of Sabeel, one of the most aggressive anti-Israel and anti-Zionist Palestinian Christian organization in the region. Sabeel promotes “Palestinian liberation theology,” which tends to justify Palestinian nationalism as a theological construct by regularly using themes from the New Testament to demonize Israel and Christians that support Israel... Under Getman’s leadership, World Vision also began to drift away from its evangelical roots, even as it began accepting more and more money from the U.S. government and expanded into a global organization... [The Tower, December 2016]
Moon goes on to make the case that World Vision's alleged failure to identify the lethal corruption (our term, not his) in their Gaza office
stems from three sources: Willingness to overlook terrorist atrocities, institutional antagonism toward Israel, and hostility towards Christian Zionism... [Senior management] never seemed to be overly bothered by Palestinian terrorist organizations’ role in the conflict with Israel. Mooneyham’s willingness to compare Israeli soldiers with Nazis, Getman’s friendship with Hezbollah leaders, and Snary’s repetition of Hamas talking points shows the depth of World Vision’s institutional distaste for Israel and the absence of critical voices within its leadership... [The Tower, December 2016]
Those, naturally, are not the factors that an Israeli criminal tribunal is going to examine. But they surely ought to be on the minds of charity-minded people - and certain NGOs and governments and their foreign aid programs (like the UN's World Food Programme, the UK's DFID, the EU, Australia's AusAID, the United States' USAID, Canada's CIDA and the German Humanitarian Assistance office) - before they entrust further donation funds to World Vision's Gaza program.

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