By David Miller
The genocide in Gaza is being perpetrated by the so-called ‘Israel Defense Forces’. The whole world is appalled. Yet, in the UK, there are organizations raising money to support the genocidal occupation forces.
The Association for Israel’s Soldiers is based in occupied Palestine and claims to be the sole avenue through which donations can be made directly to IDF soldiers and IDF units. These donations come from Zionists in Palestine as well as from the US, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, France and the UK.
The UK Friends of the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel Soldiers (AWIS) is a registered charity that is obliged by law to show public benefit. Its charitable objects include relief of need and suffering, advancement of education and provision of facilities for recreation of the occupation forces.
It does this by providing Mobile Synagogues, recreational facilities for injured genocidaires, free holidays, free student scholarships, mobile Gym and rest and recreation facilities. Among the benefits are swimming pools including the one promoted in a video on Facebook in May last year. In the video, AWIS says they “created a swimming pool in the heart of the desert for the training base of the artillery corps.” Meanwhile, drinking water for Gaza has been cut off for more than three months.
Each year, AWIS also puts on an “enlistment festival” for 30,000 recruits to the genocidal occupation forces.
Guidance published by the Charity Commission states that it is a legal requirement that “any detriment or harm that results from [charitable purposes] must not outweigh the benefit.” Perhaps supporting genocide outweighs those purposes?
Among the Trustees of the charity is Colonel Richard Kemp, a former British soldier said to have hateful views on Islam and Muslims. In December, the BBC was criticized for interviewing Kemp without reference to his role as a UK-AWIS trustee. In one recent interview with a pro-Israel blog, Kemp was quoted as describing the killing of civilians in Gaza as “necessary”.
Another trustee is Josh Swidler, who is in the financial industry at a firm called Teamshares. Emphasizing the link between Zionists and Islamophobia, it turns out that Swidler was formerly one of the two directors of Henry Jackson Society Inc., the US fundraising arm of the Islamophobic British think tank.
Research for Palestine Declassified, where I am the producer, has traced around twenty British charities that have donated to UK AWIS over the last twenty years. When we examined them we found that they tend to donate to a variety of Zionist causes. In particular, we looked to see which of the recipients directly supported the occupation forces, the so-called “Israel Defense Forces”, illegal settlements, Jewish supremacist sects, or Islamophobic think tanks. These four categories are a sort of Zionist funding bingo. Our research is presented in a table on our investigative Wiki database Powerbase under the title: “UK AWIS - supporters”. The data points there also link to profiles of each of the charities on the Powerbase website as well as the principal individuals involved and how they made their money. The list of charities is as follows:
Of the twenty charities we have named which donate to AWIS, five in total have a “full house” sending money to at least one of each of the four categories of funding. We discuss these here at greater length.
Ronson also set up the Community Security Trust that runs point of the Zionist regime in the UK, spies on anti-Zionist Jews and deliberately confuses anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in line with the policies of the Zionist regime. Ronson has collaborated with Mossad for decades, through the CST (created in 1994) and before that its predecessor, the Group Relations Educational Trust. One of the charitable objects of the CST is that it will ‘promote research’ and ‘promote public education about’ extremism. In practice, however, Ronson promotes extremism via his family foundation. Among recipients of funding, in addition to AWIS, are:
These donations are further evidence that Ronson in practice supports extremism and genocide, rather than opposing them.
UK AWIS is already under investigation by the UK charity regulator the Charity Commission. The investigation should widen to include the nexus of genocide-supporting charities revealed here. They should be shut down by the Charity Commission.
In addition to AWIS, Zionist occupation forces are provided with millions in funding every year by other charities. These charities are almost wholly unknown.
Palestine Declassified has unearthed new details on one of these charities called Beit Halochem. It is dedicated to raising money for what it calls ‘our’ heroes who have ‘fought’ to ‘protect the state of Israel’ – meaning members of the genocidal occupation forces currently engaged in mass killings in Gaza and throughout Palestine.
Charitable objectives of the charity include the relief of ‘Adverse physical and mental effects suffered by individuals in Israel’. It doesn’t say so, explicitly, but it’s clear that the individuals noted do not include Palestinian civilians. As Beit Halochem says, its name ‘literally means “House of Warriors”.’
This racism in the application of its ‘public benefit’ is one reason why this charity should be shut down by the UK Charity Commission.
Another is that it violates the harm principle – the harm of supporting genocide clearly outweighs the benefit of rehabilitation of injured genocidaires.
The Chairman of the charity is Andrew Wolfson, of the hugely wealthy Wolfson family. The family is best known for its ownership of the Next retail empire. Here is a picture of him with the genocidal president of ‘Israel’, Isaac Herzog, and the extremist advocate of the settler movement, the ambassador to London Tzipi Hotevely.
The Charles Wolfson Charitable Trust is named after his grandfather who died in 1970. Other trustees include his brother (Lord) Simon Wolfson, the Chief Executive of Next plc, and (Lord) Jon Mendelsohn, a key Israel lobby actor. The charity has donated over £600,000 to Beit Halochem since 2018.
The charity also helps to encourage racism against Muslims by funding Islamophobic think tanks such as Civitas and Policy Exchange. It also funds the Jerusalem Foundation which is directly engaged in settlement activity and ethnic cleansing in East Al-Quds.
Research for Palestine Declassified reveals that Beit Halochem receives funds and support from a range of other Zionist family foundations including the aforementioned Denise Cohen Charitable Trust, Family Foundations Trust, Gerald and Gail Ronson Family Foundation, Loftus Charitable Trust, and The Locker Foundation, all of which also fund UK AWIS. Other charities involved include The Pears Family Charitable Foundation, Exilarch’s Foundation and Bluston Charitable Settlement. Here are some details on each of these three charities:
Among the testimonials on the Beit Halochem UK website is one from Ian Austin, the extreme Zionist and former Labour MP who has displayed a profile picture on X referring to Gaza with the words “Let Israel finish the job”.
There are also tributes from the Board of Deputies, the Chief Rabbi and even Israel’s settler-supporting genocidal ambassador to the UK Tzipi Hotevely.
Overall, Beit Halochem is devoted to supporting the genocidal Israel occupation forces in Gaza in what appears to be breaches of UK charity law.
We will pass the evidence we have unearthed to the UK Charity Commission.
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