'Politicisation' of charity
Sir, – In his criticism of Trócaire’s call for a ban on import of good from Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories (Opinion, October 11th), Israel’s ambassador to Ireland, Boaz Modai condemns what he calls a “disturbing, growing problem in recent years, namely the politicisation of charity”.
I do not wish to comment on the ambassador’s views on the situation in the region. However, as director of the umbrella group of Ireland’s development NGOs, I feel compelled to challenge his apparent assumption that “charity” and “aid” are somehow disconnected from society.
We believe that charities – or citizens’ organisations – play a vital role in a democracy, and that their role is not limited to the quiet provision of services. Instead, such organisations must engage politically, and hold states to account for the way their governments’ policies and actions impact on the people the charities are aiming to serve.
International development co-operation must both address short-term needs and tackle structural injustices and the denial of human rights. Without political engagement by civil society, including charities, real change that improves the lives of people living in poverty will not happen. – Yours, etc,