The Lawfare Project and UK Lawyers for Israel file complaint to Charity Commission against War on Want

Press Release – For Immediate Release
September 4, 2018

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Nathan Miller or Hannah DeWit
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The Lawfare Project and UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) have filed a complaint to the Charity Commission for England and Wales against the UK registered charity War on Want. The complaint outlines allegations that the War on Want is linked to terrorist organizations, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). It also alleges that the organization has misused charitable funds for the production and dissemination of political propaganda and published false and misleading allegations likely to result in racial hatred of Jews and Israel.

The complaint describes the War on Want as engaging in "dog-whistle fundraising" by misleading donors with falsehoods regarding "Palestinian Territories" and exploiting ignorance and prejudice against Israel. It alleges that this undermines public trust and confidence in War on Want and brings the charitable sector into disrepute. 

The Lawfare Project and UKLFI have therefore asked the Charity Commission to take steps to ensure the proper administration of this charity and to ensure that its conduct is limited to activities for the public benefit within its charitable objects.

War on Want’s stated charitable objects, as indicated by the charity’s name, include a focus on global poverty relief and advocacy towards that goal. The complaint argues that the charity’s disproportionate focus on Palestinian political campaigns is not in keeping with these objects. Among other points, the complaint notes the fact that the "Palestinian Territories" do not suffer from particularly high levels of poverty in global terms by any metric used to measure global poverty. 

The complaint further alleges that War on Want’s work involves political campaigns with little or no connection to global poverty. Of its annual income of approximately $2.4 million in the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2017, $677,008 was spent on "raising funds" and $713,800 was spent on "campaigns and policy". The complaint argues that a substantial part of that spending may have been used for the misleading and anti-Semitic propaganda described at length in the complaint. 

Brooke Goldstein, Executive Director of The Lawfare Project, a legal think tank and litigation fund that takes legal action against anti-Semitic discrimination around the world, said:

"Our complaint alleges that NGOs like War on Want are a part of an infrastructure that advances the delegitimization of Israel, and calls on the Charity Commission to hold them accountable."

Jonathan Turner, Chief Executive of UK Lawyers for Israel, a voluntary organization of lawyers fighting against the delegitimization of the State of Israel, said:

"We allege in this complaint that War on Want misuses charitable funds to serve clearly political goals that are not connected to the public good."