Op-Ed: Exposé: Catholic NGOs against Israel

They engage in welfare operations all over the world, but stop when it comes to Israel.
Published: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 9:36 PM



Trocaire is the official overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland; it receives substantial funding from the government and the country’s bishops. It has been awarded many prestigious prizes, such as the Hugh O’Flaherty International Humanitarian Award, in honour of “The Pimpernel of the Vatican”, and colleagues who saved over 6,500 prisoners of war, Jews and citizens of Rome during the Nazi occupation.


But this famous Catholic NGO is also one of the most virulent demonizers of the Jewish State. After a campaign by Richard Humphreys, Labour party Councillor for Stillorgan, near Dublin, the Catholic NGO removed the material for schools titled “Give peace a chance”, because it is full of anti-Israel stereotypes.


In a recent op-ed in the Irish Times, Trócaire’s director, Justin Kilcullen, urged his country to promote a total ban on “illegal settlement goods” and to “push European counterparts for similar action”.

As exposed by the Israeli Ngo Monitor group, Trócaire’s “Occupied Palestinian Territories/Israel Programme Officer” Garry Walsh was previously employed as the National Coordinator for Ireland Palestinian Solidarity Campaign. Trócaire is also involved in campaigns to commemorate the Palestinian “nakba”, an Arab term for the establishment of the State of Israel, meaning catastrophe.


Trócaire asks for a review of the EU-Israel association agreement. The initiative comes from the Bishop of Clonfert and chairman of Trócaire, Dr John Kirby, and Bishop Ray Field, chairman of the Irish Commission for Justice and Social Affairs, both members of an international Catholic Church delegation to the Holy Land. The Catholic NGO castigated Israel for being an apartheid state which practices "racial segregation".


Along with a ban within Ireland, Trócaire is seeking a push towards an EU-wide ban of Israel's goods.


A document which was circulated by the Irish bishops on the Middle East accuses Israel of "the expulsion of over 750,000 Palestinians from their homes", the "forceful expropriation of land", the "plan to ensure that Jerusalem becomes ethnically a Jewish city" and the "refusal to recognise the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention".


The Catholic NGO is affiliated with many Palestinian groups such as the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, which accuses Israel of "torturing" prisoners.


But Trócaire is just one of the many NGOs which are now campaigning against Israel and the Jews.


Another one is Pax Christi. The association is preparing "a week of advocacy and action in support of an end to the illegal occupation of Palestine" to be held next September. Pax Christi has mounted a campaign to boycott Israeli products, including setting up stands in German pedestrian zones to encourage people to not buy Israeli goods.


Recently, Pax Christi sponsored the campaign "Occupation tastes bitter" demanding "unambiguous labeling of products from Israeli settlements".

During the Second Intifada Palestinian terrorists entered the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem. A group of activists of the International Solidarity Movement evaded Israeli military patrols and entered the Church to support the Arab terrorists. “Pax Christi USA”, while not particapating directly in ISM action, offered them a large public relations platform and sent a special “observer” in the person of Dennis B. Warner, Pax Christi USA.


The position of the NGO has been eloquently summarized by its chairman, the Italian Bishop Luigi Bettazzi: “To the Israeli friends I say: be aware that one day it will be said that the Nazis have been exceeded, that they killed ten for one of them and you killed a hundred”.


Another powerful Catholic NGO comes from the Netherlands, Called Cordaid, it has been involved in financing the largest anti-Jewish hate campaign of the century, the UN World Conference against Racism in Durban, South Africa. According to René Grotenhuis, director of the aid group Cordaid, “boycott of Israel in Palestine is justified".


On the ground, these NGOs use the local Arab clergy to advance their agenda. So a Catholic priest has celebrated mass every Friday afternoon on the outskirts of Beit Jala to stop the building of the security fence there, called the "separation wall". Father Ibrahim is not an ordinary church man, but as the Director of the Latin Patriarchate’s school, he manages 60 teachers and 900 students.


Another aid group is the Pontifical Mission for Palestine. One of its leaders in the region, Sami El-Yousef, just promoted a document saying that "the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land is a sin against God and humanity", while the NGO former president, Robert Stern, gave an interview to an Italian monthly magazine under the headline: "Concentration Camps for Palestinians".


Then there is the Caritas NGO, the Vatican humanitarian arm, which gives relief to many people around the world, but when it comes to Israel, is very anti-Semitic. A poster graphically attacking the Israeli security fence featured Vatican headquarters address and listed the endorsement of 151 of Caritas' international branches.

According to the Simon Weisenthal Center, "the poster undoubtedly exacerbates Middle East-related anti-Semitism, justifies further attacks on Jewish targets under the sanctification cover of the Holy See and impugns Caritas' credibility as an effective relief and unbiased relief agency".


In the Italian website of Caritas there is a link to "Stop the Wall", the so called "Palestinian Popular Campaign against the Wall of Apartheid".


In XIX century France, Catholic anti-Semites bore names such as “Ligue Antisemitique”,“Comite´ Ouvrier Antijuif” or “Ligue Antijuive”. In the XXI century, Catholic humanitarians speak the language of transnational institutions and are based in charities. But they also cultivate the fantasy of somehow removing Israel and its people.