Trump administration ‘plans to brand leading NGOs including Oxfam and Amnesty as antisemitic’

Matt Mathers
·3-min read
White House.jpg (Getty Images)
White House.jpg (Getty Images)

The Trump administration is reportedly making plans to declare that several high-profile non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are antisemitic, in a move aimed at influencing other governments not to support them.

Under the supposed plans, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Oxfam - NGO's operating in several countries across the globe - would be labelled antisemitic because of their stance on Israel's settlement policies.

Human Rights Watch, Oxfam and Amnesty International each deny their policies are antisemitic, with the latter describing the allegations as "baseless".

Two sources familiar with the matter told Politico the declaration is being spearheaded by US secretary of state Mike Pompeo and officials could make the announcement by the end of this week - just 11 days out from election day.

The Independent has contacted the state department for comment.

It is not immediately clear how the declaration could impact the NGO's, as none of them receives US government funding.

But in recent years, both secretary Pompeo and president Donald Trump have increasingly sought to woo evangelical Christian voters, who tend to be pro-Israel.

Evangelicals makeup around 25 per cent of the US electorate and form a large part of the president's political base. They were key in Mr Trump's 2016 victory and could be pivotal in deciding who enters the White House next year.

Secretary Pompeo has also been touted as a future GOP presidential candidate and is said to be moving to solidify his support among the Christian community.

According to Politico, the declaration is expected to take the form of a report from the office of Elan Carr, the US special envoy whose role it is to monitor antisemitism.

The report singles out each of three NGOs, Politico says and declares that it is US foreign policy not to support their aims or provide them with financial support, encouraging other governments to do the same.

It cites the three NGO's alleged or perceived support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement, which has targetted Israel's building of settlements on land Palestinian's say should form part of their future state.

EU member states including Germany, France, Italy and Spain - as well as the UK - last week condemned the expansion of those settlements, which they said in a joint statement "violate international law and further imperil the viability of a two-state solution to bring about a just and lasting peace to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict".

Amnesty International denies its policies are antisemitic.

“AIUSA is deeply committed to fighting antisemitism and all forms of hate worldwide, and will continue to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth, and dignity are denied,” Bob Goodfellow, AIUSA interim executive director, said in a statement.

Oxfam says allegations of antisemitism are "false" and that it does not support the BDS movement.

“Oxfam does not support BDS or call for the boycott of Israel or any other country,” Noah Gottschalk, Oxfam America’s global policy lead, said.

“Oxfam and our Israeli and Palestinian partners have worked on the ground for decades to promote human rights and provide lifesaving support for Israeli and Palestinian communities. We stand by our long history of work protecting the lives, human rights, and futures of all Israelis and Palestinians.”

Eric Goldstein, of Human Rights Watch, said: "We fight discrimination in all forms, including antisemitism. Criticising government policy is not the same as attacking a specific group of people. For example, our critiques of US government policy do not make us anti-American."

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