By Sharen Green
A British children’s charity is accepting money made from human rights violations in Palestine, campaigners affiliated with the UK branch of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD UK), claim.
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) has taken more than £5 million (approximately $6.9 million) from bulldozer manufacturer JCB.
JCB is currently being investigated for war crimes carried out in the Occupied Palestinian territories.
- JCB is still family-owned so has no shareholders or AGM
- JCB is a major donor to the Conservative Party
- JCB has contributed money to Brexit-supporters such as David Davis MP
- The NSPCC facility for abused children is named Carole House after Lady Carole Bamford, co-director of JCB
An Israeli company – Comasco – buys the dozers which are then distributed to the Israeli Defence Forces and to civilian contractors. They are then used to carry out Israel’s twin policies of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and the settlement of Jews on stolen Palestinian land. Both policies are grave violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
The UK branch of the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions (ICAHD UK) and Protecting Palestinian Families are calling on the NSPCC to stop accepting donations from JCB. https://t.co/B5K5MOK6yi
— Raimo Kangasniemi (@rk70534) October 21, 2020
A small group of activists went to the London headquarter of the NSPCC on Tuesday, April 6, to hand in an 1800-strong petition.
Long-time supporter of Palestinian human rights Ann Wright said:
“The NSPCC was founded to prevent cruelty to children but it takes money from JCB which derives profits from inflicting cruelty on Palestinian children – it doesn’t make sense.”
The dozers have demolished houses and tents, clinics and schools and have ripped up hundreds of thousands of fruit trees in Palestine, she added.
JCB is only one of three British companies so far identified by the UN as profiting from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.
Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights have succeeded in the first stage of calling the company to account for its human rights abuses under Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) regulations.
“These little ones are traumatized by watching their homes bulldozed while their parents look on helplessly. The dozers also rip up olive and other fruit trees so the whole family is plunged into poverty for good measure,” Wright said, adding, “We think the NSPCC should sever its link with JCB.”
Meanwhile activists from Sheffield and elsewhere – part of the coalition which includes the Palestine Solidarity Campaign – protested outside JCB’s world headquarters in Staffordshire.
Protestor Natalie Phillips said: “JCB is a highly profitable, global company. It could cease trade with its Israeli dealership with scarcely a dent in its profits.
“Yet it chooses not to. It chooses shamefully to ignore the trauma inflicted on hundreds of Palestinian children. The Bamford family (JCB owners) hypocritically pride themselves on their supposed support for children’s welfare, most publicly through their financial support for the NSPCC.
“The most powerful step they could take to transform the lives of thousands of children would be to end their association with Israel’s brutal home demolition policy, and to call on other companies to do the same.”
These events are only the latest in the campaign which is a powerful coalition built over two years from tiny beginnings. Three women started it, forming themselves into Protecting Palestinian Families. The UK branch of the ICAHD backed them, closely followed by the Social Work Action Network, the UK-Palestine Mental Health Network, the Shoal Collective, and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
– Sharen Green, a retired journalist, has served two terms as a human rights monitor with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel. She worked in Tulkarem and Jayyous, both in the northern West Bank. She is a founder member of Protecting Palestinian Families and a director of ICAHD UK. She contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.