Christian Aid was established in 1945 under the name Christian Reconciliation in Europe, “to further charitable purposes which relieve or combat malnutrition, hunger, disease, sickness or distress throughout the world; [and] to further charitable purposes which advance or assist such other charitable work as may be carried on by or with the support or approval of the British Council of Churches.” Four years later it became known as the Department for the Inter-Church Aid and Refugee Service, working closely with the World Council of Churches on “world refugee settlement and justice issues.” In 1964 the organization changed its name to Christian Aid, and it currently distributes some $80 million each year to projects in 60 of the world’s poorest countries.
Seeking “to expose the scandal of poverty, to help in practical ways to root it out from the world, and to challenge and change the systems which favor the rich and powerful over the poor and marginalized,” Christian Aid asserts: “Poverty is a condition created by an unjust society, denying people access to, and control over, the resources they need to live a full life.” The organization views capitalism and globalization as the primary vehicles by which injustice is distributed around the world.
Christian Aid’s major programs include the following:
(a) The Beat Goes On: This program denounces the British government for funding the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and thereby “forcing poor countries to open up their markets.”
(b) Climate change: “Climate change poses a threat to us all. But poor people are on the frontline because the places in which they live are already prone to drought or floods, high winds or rising sea levels. They will suffer first and worst as the climate changes.” In an October 2004 report, Christian Aid claimed that “[G]lobal warming threatens to reverse human progress … [T]he U.S. is particularly profligate. … It … produces, with a population of 300 million, as much carbon dioxide as one hundred and thirty five developing countries with a combined population of 3 billion. … [Only] 4.5 per cent of the world’s population lives in the USA and they emit 22 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases. … The world’s poorest countries account for just 0.4 percent of carbon dioxide emissions. [Fully] 45 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide is emitted by the G8 countries alone.”
(c) Third World Debt: Christian Aid is a member of the Jubilee Debt Campaign, “campaigning to cancel the backlog of unpayable debts owed by the world’s poorest countries.” Thus far it has secured promises to cancel $100 billion of debt.
(d) HIV/AIDS: “HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa and is becoming a problem of epic proportions in Asia and Eastern Europe. But [it] is a preventable disease. Christian Aid is committed to working towards a world which will survive the AIDS pandemic and is a member of the Stop Aids Campaign.”
(e) Supermarkets: “In 1996 Christian Aid launched a campaign to make the major UK supermarkets ethical. The result was a government initiative to establish codes of conduct for supermarket suppliers in developing countries.”
Though professing to be a politically neutral humanitarian organization, Christian Aid raises funds for such highly politicized groups as LAW and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, both of which promote extremist anti-Israel political agendas. Christian Aid’s literature identifies Israel as the chief cause of Palestinian suffering, but does not criticize Palestinian leadership for promoting terror, violence, and the rejection of Israel’s right to exist.
The UK chapter of Christian Aid was a signatory to a petition of so-called “civil society” organizations that opposed globalization, big business in general, and “any effort to expand the powers of the World Trade Organization (WTO) through a new comprehensive round of trade liberalization.” Members affiliated with some of the signatories actively participated in the November 1999 riots in which more than 50,000 protesters did millions of dollars worth of property damage in their effort to shut down the WTO Conference in Seattle. In 2003, Christian Aid also endorsed an “Our World is Not for Sale” campaign similarly condemning the WTO.
In May 2006, Christian Aid criticized the the United States, Canada, Israel, and the European Union for their decisions to suspend aid payments to the Palestinian Authority after the Hamas government took office on March 29 of that year. In a May 9 press statement, Christian Aid denounced Israel in particular for its “grossly immoral … policy of collective punishment.”
In the 2004-2005 fiscal year, Christian Aid’s income was approximately $140 million, of which some $112 million came from private donations, gifts, and legacies. Most of the remainder came from government sources, including about $12.2 million from the UK government’s Department for International Development. Additional major sponsors of Christian Aid include the Church of England, UK Baptists, Methodist Churches, and Russian Orthodox Churches.
In 2009, Christian Aid participated in producing a multi-NGO publication titled Failing Gaza: No Rebuilding, No Recovery, No More Excuses. This booklet falsely accused Israel of “occupying” Gaza and subjecting the Palestinian people to an “illegal and inhumane blockade” that amounted to “collective punishment.” It also stated that Operation Cast Lead—a defensive military operation in which Israel had targeted Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorists who were firing rockets and mortars at civilian communities in southern Israel—had “left a legacy of destruction and loss” in the now “shattered society” of Gaza. Other contributors to Failing Gaza included such groups as Amnesty International UK, Medical Aid for Palestinians, Mercy Corps, and Oxfam International.