The head of a British charity that supports Israeli Apartheid Week has denied suggestions that he is leaving because of accusations of anti-Semitism, dismissing the reports as “pure fantasy”.
John Hilary, the outgoing executive director of War on Want, announced that he was stepping down in June, but made a statement this week in response to an article in The Sunday Times.
The newspaper alleged that he was forced out due to complaints which triggered an investigation by the Charity Commission into the group’s “campaigning and political activities”.
In response, he said: “My decision to leave the organisation was taken many months ago, in view of the fact that I have been at War on Want for 12 successful years. Any implication there is another reason is pure fantasy.”
War on Want has funded Israeli Apartheid Week, which informs university students about Israel’s policies towards Palestinians. Jewish groups have said it “targets and harasses Jewish students” and “invites anti-Semitic speakers” to campuses.
The Charity Commission was asked to investigate by Jewish Human Rights Watch because British law forbids organisations to be deemed charities if their purposes are “political”.
Citing emails seen by the newspaper, The Sunday Times alleged that Commission official Neil Robertson said the regular was not acting on complaints from JHRW but had identified into “regulatory issues of our own that require attention”.