On 15 February 2005, the front page of The Guardian featured a prominent advertisement from Christian Aid. At an estimated cost of approximately £4000 ($7500), Christian Aid has again used its considerable “charitable” resources to promote a political message focused on Israel’s security barrier against Palestinian terror attacks.
Drawing upon simplistic and emotional language and imagery, this advertisement erases the context of this violent conflict, as was the case in CA’s “Child of Bethlehem” and “Peace Under Siege” campaigns. Failing to acknowledge any Palestinian responsibility for the humanitarian situation in the Palestinian Authority, Christian Aid places the blame solely on “Israel’s occupation and the poverty it has created.” While Christian Aid claims to have condemned Palestinian suicide bombings, this immoral ‘balance’ does not justify the political attacks against Israel, as documented and analyzed by NGO Monitor and repeated in this advertisement.
The one-sided text, while referring to the difficult situation in both Israel and the Palestinian territories, treats the Palestinians as “the voiceless ones” ignoring the “voiceless” Israeli victims of terror and the many lives that have been saved by the security barrier. Christian Aid claims, in dramatic and entirely unsubstantiated fashion, that Palestinian families will be “carved down the middle by the separation barrier.”
In sharp contrast to its legal status as a charity, Christian Aid’s advertisement in The Guardian illustrates an unchanging political agenda, even at a time of renewed hope and efforts at peacemaking in the Middle East. In contrast to the new atmosphere in the region, it appears that Christian Aid has not reevaluated its own highly partisan contribution to the hatred and violence.