IHRC has written to the Charity Commission asking it to explain why a British charity is being allowed to help funnel donations to the Israeli military in apparent breach of UK charity laws and guidelines.
The watchdog has been asked whether it knew about the activities of UK Toremet Ltd, a UK-registered charity which serves as a portal for people to donate cash to recipient agencies in the UK, USA and Israel.
An IHRC investigation has found that some of these agencies are directly supporting the Israeli Defence Force in contravention of the Commission’s rules which require donees to be fulfilling a charitable purpose.
These fall within 13 broad categories such as advancing education, preventing poverty and promoting human rights. They include promoting the efficiency of UK armed forces but do not permit providing material support to foreign armies.
IHRC has identified many instances where UK Toremet has passed on charitable donations to organisations that are directly helping Israeli soldiers. One of them, Yashar LaChayal, claims to be dedicated to serving Israeli soldiers on the front lines and is reported by a British synagogue as being in the business of supplying them with equipment.
Karemy Chesed is another organisation supported by UK Toremet. UK Toremet’s site lists various activities for this charity but does not mention as the organisation’s own site does that it provides aid for the IDF . This includes the provision of care packages to combat soldiers. Its site describes at length the support it provided combat troops during Operation Protective Edge (invasion of Gaza) in 2014.
UK Toremet’s site also promotes Standing Together, an organisation claiming to provide food and care packages for soldiers in the IDF. However its website calls for funds for military equipment such as thermal gloves and clothing that will enable soldiers to be ‘trigger-ready’.
Since UK Toremet qualifies for Gift Aid, UK taxpayers donating to the charity qualify for tax relief, meaning the government will ‘top up’ their donations by 25%. So the value of a donation of £1000 will be worth £1250. This means that UK taxpayer funds could be being used to support a military force which has been accused of countless atrocities and war crimes.
“The foregoing highlights the need for the Charity Commission to issue clear guidelines that any support of military personnel or any type of support that may directly or indirectly support military actions, cannot be charitable,” says the report containing the findings of the investigation.
IHRC has asked the Charity Commission to clarify whether it is aware of the non-charitable purposes activities of Uk Toremet and if not what action it proposes to take in the light of IHRC’s findings.
IHRC chair Massoud Shadjareh said: “These are extremely disturbing findings with equally worrying implications for British taxpayers. We expect the Charity Commission will carry out the necessary enquiries and look forward to hearing its response in due course.”
Notes to editors: The 22-page report is available at https://ihrc.org.uk/publications/reports/11579-questions-to-the-charity-commission-regarding-charities-granting-aid-to-organisations-and-charities-in-israel-including-but-not-exclusively-the-israeli-defense-forces
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IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
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