15 March 2005:
NGO MONITOR ALERT: CARITAS REPRESENTATIVE
TO HEAD UN'S 2005 NGO/DPI CONFERENCE
The UN NGO / DPI Conference has selected Joseph Donnelly of Caritas Internationalis to head the Executive Committee for its September 2005 event. This is a highly powerful and sensitive position in the relationship between the NGO community and the United Nations. In this context, NGO Monitor notes that Caritas (a Vatican linked organization) has a history of strong pro-Palestinian political activism that is inconsistent with its claimed charitable and humanitarian mission. This organization is also an active member of the blatantly politicized UN Working Group on Israel / Palestine and contributes to the campaign against Israel's security barrier.
A Caritas poster against the security barrier was condemned by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which said that: "This poster undoubtedly exacerbates Middle East-related anti-Semitism, justifies further terror attacks on Jewish targets under the sanctification cover of the Holy See and impugns Caritas' credibility as an effective relief and unbiased relief agency."
Caritas has also participated in a 17 June 2003 conference on "An End to the Occupation. A Just Peace in Israel-Palestine. The role of the Academia" along with other NGOs that included the extremist Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions and the highly politicized Physicians for Human Rights-Israel.
In light of its anti-Israel political agenda, it is therefore regrettable that Joseph Donnelly, a co-chair of the UN Working Group on Israel / Palestine will be the NGO Chair of the September 2005 UN NGO / DPI Conference. This conference is organized annually by the UN Department of Public Information and is "the premier NGO event held at the United Nations each year." As such it is incumbent upon the UN to select individuals from neutral and apolitical NGOs to lead such an important event. Caritas is not such an organization and Joseph Donnelly should therefore be removed from this sensitive position to avoid a repeat of previous politicized gatherings of NGOs such as the 2001 Durban conference.