Interpal is a registered charity, which for the past 25 years has been providing humanitarian and development aid to Palestinians in need, which means a lot of them. The areas where the charity operates are the West Bank, Gaza, and refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon. Interpal majors in medical and education aid - and advocates for the Palestinian cause. In doing so, it has gained some powerful enemies.
The most powerful is the US Government, which in 2003 designated Interpal a “specially designated global terrorist organisation”. Sadly for Dubya Bush and his gang, no evidence was ponied up, and when the Charity Commission came to investigate, they found nothing wrong with Interpal’s actions. The US designation remains contested.
That did not stop the Jewish Chronicle asserting the contested claim without pointing out the clean bill of health given by the Charity Commission, or that the US authorities have been unable, or unwilling, to back up their designation with any evidence. So legal proceedings began, and now the JC has apologised, telling “We apologise unreservedly to the Trustees for any distress caused and have agreed to pay them damages for libel”.
What they did not tell is that Interpal retained the services of Messrs Carter, Ruck, which means it will be expensive. We know this as the JC is not the only publication which has recently defamed Interpal. As the Guardian reported last June, “The publisher of the Daily Mail has paid £120,000 in damages plus costs to a UK-based humanitarian charity after the paper falsely accused it of funding a ‘hate festival’ in Palestine which acted out the murder of Jews”. Mail Online also repeated the contested terrorist designation.
Stephen Pollard, editor of the JC
The Guardian article went on to tell “Associated Newspapers apologised unreservedly to the trustees of Interpal, which provides aid to Palestinians, for suggesting the registered charity was a terrorist organisation … The settlement, secured with the help of the law firm Carter-Ruck, a libel specialist, related to two articles published last August”.
What was also not told by the JC is that the publication has previous for having to apologise to UK charities after linking them to terrorist behaviour. As Middle East Monitor has told, “Back in 2014, the paper apologised and paid substantial damages to Human Appeal International for accusing it of being a designated entity in the US and for falsely claiming that the charity supported suicide bombings. Also that year, it had to apologise to the Director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign”.
Yet still JC editor Stephen Pollard continues to make remarks, and indeed publish articles, which make a variety of claims about others - most recently and notably the Labour Party and its leader - which he may have difficulty standing up if the matter were taken to law.
What do those charities and the Labour leadership have in common? They all support the cause of the Palestinians. I’ll just leave that one there.
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