by Geoffrey Clarfield (January 2018)
(Image created by Kendra Mallock; not a true depiction of Oxfam truck crash)
xfam is one of the world’s most respected charity NGOs whose field workers in the developing world have contributed to famine relief and poverty alleviation since the early nineteen sixties. Yet lately it is has taken to officially “partnering” with British based organizations that preach radical Islam and probably funnel money to UK government designated terrorist organizations. No one has taken them to court and the UK parliament has taken no action against Oxfam. What is going on and why?
In its own words Oxfam is, “An international confederation of 17 organizations networked together in 92 countries as part of a global movement for change to build a future free from injustice and poverty.” Its average annual income is 1.1 billion Euros. Sixty per cent of its funding comes from private donations. The rest comes from the UN, the EU and other bilateral donors in the OECD.
The institutional history of Oxfam can be summed up in three stages. The first was an exclusively British effort in support of famine relief during and after WWII. The second focused on disaster relief and rural development in the former colonies and territories of the British Empire, as their political independence gained through the 1960s did not usher in the hoped for rise in living standards. The third stage, now the dominant stage, is to harness Oxfam’s international coalition of partners around the world to persuade both citizens and institutional donors (in the West and at the UN) to provide the financial and institutional assistance for Oxfam’s selective aid to disempowered groups based on the latest “rights based development” theory of international development.
This explains why an enormous amount of Oxfam’s third stage efforts have become overtly political, since they argue it is the misguided economic and social policies of the OECD that are the “root cause” of poverty in developing nations. The recent economic experiences of China, India and Bangladesh strongly suggest that this is not the case. Oxfam’s ideology prevents it from acknowledging the evidence. The reason for this is simple. Oxfam has now moved to the far left and its ideology reflects and supports that of Jeremy Corbyn’s British Labour Party—an ideology that incorporates much post-1945 Marxist thinking and which, in being disproportionately obsessed with Israel, continuously expresses disdain for Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel.
This third stage of Oxfam’s history makes it a severe critic of modern free markets. Oxfam believes the wealthy got their wealth unjustly, despite evidence based arguments that the growth of the private sector has been the single most effective means for raising the standard of living of millions of people, especially in China and India. Oxfam policy wonks also pointedly make no reference to disinterested scholars such as William Easterly, who have persuasively argued that there is no correlation between economic development and the amount of development assistance that has been given to any one developing country by NGOs or other donors. Why do they ignore this data?
The French scholar Pascal Bruckner has argued that this economic worldview is embedded in a deeper ideological worldview, which argues that Western democracies and civilization themselves are culturally corrupt and that the values of “third world” peoples are superior. This explains so much of Oxfam’s inability to comprehend the nature of radical Islam and oppose it. It also explains Oxfam’s blinkered criticism of the state of Israel, which is non-apologetically nationalistic, free-market oriented and sees itself as part of the democratic, entrepreneurial “West.” And so, we should not be surprised that Oxfam and its partners idealize the Arabs of the land of Israel, take a pass on radical Islam and demonize the Israeli government.
Is it possible that Oxfam may be correct?
No. In its many documents and public statements, Oxfam declares that it is not anti-Israel. It simply believes that the Arabs on both sides of the Jordan are a dispossessed, “indigenous” Middle Eastern people who lost their ancestral homeland to conquering, colonizing “European” Israelis and whose ethnic-historical-legal rights to the land do not interest them. Oxfam reflexively supports the establishment of a third Palestinian Arab and Islamic state in the heartland of Judea and Samaria with a capital in East Jerusalem.
Oxfam also believes in exerting “people power” towards this end through a subtle form of BDS. Oxfam argues that they are not against goods produced within the Israeli ‘green line,’ simply those produced in the ‘occupied territories.’ They demand that they be labelled as such and that the “consumer will decide.”
Does Oxfam have a hidden agenda?
Yes. Oxfam has been using its moral authority and institutional weight to officially “partner” with organizations, sharing their logo in public with those who call for the destruction of Israel. These partnerships include mutual public endorsements, joint statements and, they carry the endorsement of Oxfam’s top management. Who are some of these partners and how do they use their partnerships with Oxfam to call for violence against Jews worldwide, BDS and, the destruction of the State of Israel?
Many of them are most likely front organizations for the Muslim Brotherhood or organizations who support the Muslim Brotherhood’s agenda against the Jewish people and Israel. They include but are not limited to, the following British based organizations: the East London Mosque, Islamic Relief, MADE in Europe, Human Appeal International, Zaytoun, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Muslim Aid and the Federation of Student Islamic Societies.
Here is an example taken from the website of the interfaith working group, Stand for Peace which has been tracking Muslim Aid’s “partnership” with Oxfam.
Oxfam has run a number of events and campaigns with Muslim Aid . . . three separate Bangladeshi intelligence agencies have listed Muslim Aid as one of ten NGOs that finance and promote Islamic terrorism in Bangladesh . . . According to its own accounts, Muslim Aid paid 325,000 pounds to the Islamic University of Gaza where leading figures of Hamas teach; and 13,998 pounds to the al-Ihsan Charitable Society, which is designated by the US Government as a “sponsor of terrorism” and a front for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist groups. Security sources also claim that Muslim Aid has helped channel a further 210,600 pounds to six other organizations in the Gaza Strip since July 2009, all of which they say are also linked to Hamas . . . Hamas is banned throughout the EU as a designated terrorist organization.
This is no doubt just the tip of the iceberg.
On March 26, 2014 Shurat Ha Din, the Jerusalem based human rights center released a report describing Oxfam’s alleged direct support for the banned terror group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP). Speaking on behalf of Shurat Ha Din, lawyer Nitsana Darshan-Leitner was quoted as saying,
Both the UHWC (Union of Health Workers Committees) and the UAWC (Union of Agricultural Workers Committees) are well known for their close connections to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine . . . guilty of numerous suicide bombings, airplane hijackings, and assassinations . . . (they) are . . . founded, staffed and operated by this designated terrorist group.
She went on to explain that if Oxfam directly or even indirectly funds these two committees, her organization would sue them. She has yet to carry out this threat. I would argue that this is not the job for an Israeli |NGO, as these terror groups are breaking the laws of Britain. British citizens must insure their own rule of law in their own country.
What we are seeing is something very subtle and two-faced. Officially, when Oxfam uses its own voice, it says that it recognizes the right of Israel to exist. Yet also officially, when it partners with other organizations who call for the extinction of the “Zionist entity,” they allow their partners to call for the end of Israel, just that like that ever so nice kid (Oxfam) that just happens to hang around with the school bully (Oxfam’s “partners”) and does nothing when he beats up on other children.
Why are today’s British authorities silent about Oxfam? Why do they not investigate them? Are they afraid that if they prosecute Oxfam for its nefarious endorsement and support of middle eastern terrorist groups, Jeremy Corbyn will then turn it into a public relations fiasco for British Prime Minister Theresa May? Most likely.
Geoffrey Clarfield is an anthropologist at large. For twenty years he lived in, worked among and explored the cultures and societies of Africa, the Middle East and Asia. As a development anthropologist he has worked for the following clients: the UN, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Norwegian, Canadian, Italian, Swiss and Kenyan governments as well international NGOs. His essays largely focus on the translation of culture, making sense of the non-Western world for Western readers.
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Geoffrey Clarfield is a regular contributor to The Iconoclast.