Oxfam Accused of Ties to Terror Group

Israel Law Center Demands Oxfam Drop Ties to Affiliates of Palestinian Terror Org

Palestinians dance at a rally marking the 46th anniversary of the founding of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Palestinians dance at a rally marking the 46th anniversary of the founding of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine / AP
February 20, 2014

The aid group Oxfam International is said to be partnering with two Palestinian organizations tied to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), according to an Israeli advocacy group that defends victims of terrorism.

Several of Oxfam’s global affiliates are said to be providing financial aid and "additional forms of material support" to two Palestinian workers groups that are deeply tied to the PFLP, a U.S. designated terror organization, according to the Israel Law Center.

The Israel Law Center demanded in a letter sent Thursday that Oxfam end its relationships with these two groups—the Union of Health Workers Committees (UHWC) and the Union of Agricultural Workers Committees (UAWC)—or face possible legal action.

Oxfam, a group known for its harsh criticism of Israel, has been in the news in recent weeks for encouraging boycotts of Jewish state and criticizing actress Scarlett Johansson for her support of Israeli company SodaStream.

"Please be advised that providing services to the terrorist instrumentalities UHWC and/or the UAWC is illegal and may have already exposed Oxfam, its global affiliates and its officers to criminal prosecution and civil liability to Israeli, European, American, Australian citizens, and others victimized by terrorism sponsored by the PFLP, the parent organization of the UHWC and the UAWC," the letter states, according to a copy obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

The Israel Law Center requests that Oxfam "immediately provide us written confirmation that Oxfam has discontinued the provision of aid and material support to the UHWC and the UAWC," according to the letter. "Absent such confirmation, we will seek all available relief and remedies against Oxfam and its officers in all relevant jurisdictions."

Oxfam, which says it has refuted the Center's claims, has not been shy about publicizing its work with the UHWC and the UAWC. It provides the groups with financial backing and has described them as "partners" in various press statements, according the Israel Law Center.

However, both groups "were created by the PFLP, and they operate under the direct patronage and in close cooperation with the PFLP," according to the Israel Law Center, which outlined extensive ties between the organizations.

"The UHWC and the UAWC are the PFLP’s health and agricultural organizations, respectively," according to the Israel Law Center. "These organizations were created by the PFLP and they operate under the direct patronage and in close cooperation with the PFLP."

The UHWC has been listed online as a subsidiary to the PFLP and has provided various medical services under the direction of the PFLP, which has also held events at official UHWC facilities, according to the Israel Law Center.

Top UHWC leaders have also held "senior positions" in the PFLP, which has claimed responsibility for the assassination of an Israeli minister and the murder of three Jewish children, according to the letter to Oxfam.

The UAWC also has been listed online as a PFLP affiliate, and the two outfits have been known to jointly hold events together, the Israel Law Center found.

Both groups have also dabbled in "anti-Israel political activities such as land day protests, publicly opposing Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, supporting boycotts and divestments of Israeli academia and companies, and the like," according to the letter to Oxfam.

Israel Law Center director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner said that Oxfam is providing support to the PFLP through its work with these two groups.

"While Oxfam accuses Israel of war crimes, they themselves have partnered with and financially supported a designated Palestinian terrorist organization," Darshan-Leitner told the Washington Free Beacon. "The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine is responsible for some of the most heinous terrorist attacks against civilians over the past decades. Its criminal operations and murders continue against Jewish civilians today."

"Oxfam claims to care about human rights in Gaza but then partners with the terrorist group which was responsible for massacring the Fogel children in the Itamar community," she said. "There is no difference between providing aid and support to an instrumentality of the PFLP and giving funds to an instrumentality of al Qaeda. Any money given to a terrorist organization advances its ability to carry out murderous attacks."

Financial support for the PFLP and its satellite groups could violate several European and U.S. laws, according to Darshan-Leitner.

Oxfam's head of media Matt Grainger said his organization's officials have not formally seen the Israel Law Center's letter yet, but pointed to 2012 rebuttals of similar claims.

The Israel Law Center noted the UAWC's connection to the PFLP in a 2012 suit and named Oxfam, among other organizations, in the claim, Grainger said. Oxfam and these other groups refuted the accusations at the time.

"Without seeing the new [Israel Law Center] letter, I don't know if they're the exact same allegations, against UAWC, or different," Grainger said.

Published under: Terrorism