Sector staff ‘dissatisfied’ with their charity’s Gaza response, campaigners report

10 Jul 2024 News

By Satjawat/ Adobe

Charity staff have reported dissatisfaction with their organisation’s response to the conflict in Gaza, according to a new survey from Charity So White.

The anti-racist campaign group surveyed 150 people from large and small charities, including one who said they were a CEO.

Charity So White reported that there are signs of hesitation from charity leaders when it comes to publicly showing solidarity with the Palestinian people.

According to the survey, 51% of charities had responded to the situation in Gaza in some way with 21% issuing internal responses.

It says that 21% of charities chose to say nothing in order to “stay neutral”.

Staff ‘extremely disappointed’

Charity So White organiser Jon Cornejo said in a blog on the survey findings that the “disconnect between staff and leaders is stark”.

Some 81% of staff that responded said they were dissatisfied with their organisation’s response to Gaza, with 50% “extremely disappointed”.

Moreover, 63% of respondents said they felt their charity’s response did not align with its values.

Some 40% reported witnessing or experiencing negative responses when showing solidarity with Palestinians at work, and 8% had witnessed or experienced negativity when showing solidarity with Israelis.

When asked about how comfortable or safe respondents feel about talking about Palestine at work, there was an even split with 38% of staff saying they feel comfortable or safe, while 38% said they felt uncomfortable or unsafe.

Cornejo said: “Digging into the written comments, it is clear that feelings of safety and comfort on this seem to be clearly split along racial lines – with staff that self-identified as white largely commenting that they felt safe talking about Palestine, whereas staff from racialised backgrounds are far more likely to talk about the lack of safety and the push back they receive from others when talking about Palestine at work.”

When asked what is stopping their charities from showing solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, staff gave the following responses:

  • Fear of losing supporters or negative feedback from supporters (49%).
  • Fear of funders taking away their funding (44%).
  • Fear of unwelcome criticism or negative attention from government (41%).
  • Feeling that the situation in Gaza is “irrelevant” to them (38%).
  • Fear of public criticism from affected communities (35%).
  • Fear of receiving unwelcome attention from the Charity Commission (28%).

Cornejo said: “Most troublingly, the results reveal that there are a worrying number of cases where staff have been challenged or disciplined for showing solidarity with Palestine and the Palestinian people.

“In some cases, this has resulted in staff being dismissed.

“Our message to the charity sector is clear – you cannot claim to be doing anti-racism work while upholding anti-Palestinian and Islamophobic biases.”

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