Response to Charity Commission re charities fundraising for Israeli army

Response to Charity Commission re charities fundraising for Israeli army

Orlando Fraser KC

Charity Commission

102 Petty France




9 February 2024

Dear Sir,

Further to our letter of 19 January 2024 regarding UK Toremet, we write to advise you that a further fundraiser set up after October 7, 2023 called the Israel Defence Force Emergency Fund.

This fund raises for equipment for the IDF during the period since October 7, including inter alia for “military drones”. You will see here, that UK Toremet is listed as one of the agencies people can donate to facilitate this: “Through The Yeshiva Giving Fund, IDF Emergency Fund is also registered with… UK Toremet”.

In response to our previous complaint regarding UK Toremet in 2015, your office responded on 1 June 2016 to state that:

“Whilst support for the United Kingdom’s armed forces is a charitable purpose, support of foreign armed forces is not a charitable purpose for a charity based in England or Wales to further.”

Last month, along with other organisations and campaigners, we supplied you with information that shows several Israel-based organisations advertising that UK Toremet is the preferred UK conduit through which to channel donations.

In view of this publicly available information which proves a clear relationship between IDF-supporting organisations with UK Toremet, would you agree that it is now incumbent upon you to take action against UK Toremet for a clear breach of Charity Commission regulations?

In view of the many concerns being raised in relation to charities raising funds for the Israeli Defence Forces, we are sure you will agree that it is necessary in the public interest for the Commission to publicise the prohibition on sending funds to the IDF.

Since our last correspondence we have been alerted to the activities of another English charity, Technion UK, which is openly soliciting funds for members of the Israeli armed forces, even as they prosecute a possible genocide in Gaza that that has so far cost over 27,000 civilian Palestinian lives, 12,000 of them children.

Technion UK made the headlines last week when it was forced to move a fundraising event being fronted by the prominent hate preacher Douglas Murray. According to the event’s publicity material, it was intended to fundraise for “scholarships and other financial support for thousands of student reservists who are now returning to study”.

The event was chaired by Technion UK’s Paul Charney, who volunteered to serve in the IDF after October 7 for three months.

Staff at London’s Apollo Theatre refused to facilitate the event and the theatre management also received legal advice that hosting a Technion UK fundraiser may make it a party to a possible genocide in Gaza.

In view of the International Court of Justice’s recent decision that Israel may be committing genocide in Gaza, the facilitation of charities currently supporting Israeli forces by the

Charity Commission would also seem to implicate those charities and possibly even the Commission if Israel is indeed eventually adjudged to have committed genocide.

We further note that Technion UK has set up a campaign to “send a Message to an IDF hero”. The campaign, called “Message a Hero” according to reports in The Jewish Chronicle “Will offer peoples in all UK Jewish schools and the wider Jewish community the opportunity to write personal messages of hope, praise, and thanks to soldiers currently serving in the IDF.” In the same article Technion university which Technion UK fundraises for, is said to have “over 3,000 students, faculty and staff actively deployed in the IDF since the outbreak of the war against Hamas”.

We would also like to remind the Commission of the wider reputational risk to itself and the wider charity sector attached to allowing charities to raise money for the IDF. We would expect the full force of your powers to be brought down on the charities we have named that have brought the charity sector into disrepute.

Finally, with regard to our 2015 complaint about UK Toremet, you informed us that you would be publishing a case report. Unfortunately we cannot find this on the Charity Commission website. Please could you provide us with a copy and a publicly available link to the said report.

Yours faithfully,

Massoud Shadjareh

Chair, Islamic Human Rights Commission

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