Oxfam is very positive about the prospect of working in partnership with the Board of Deputies of British Jews on the issue of global hunger and the need to address a crisis that has its roots in social injustice. In a world where there is more than enough food to feed everyone twice over it is scandalous that 1 in 7 people on the planet, nearly 1 billion people, goes to bed hungry.
Global hunger is a scandal that can be solved and it is an issue that speaks to the core of our common humanity transcending social, religious or political persuasions.
Working in partnership does not mean agreeing on everything all the time. As two proudly independent organisations we both will need to mutually respect our differences and work closely together on those that bind us in joint action.
The Board of Deputies shared with us three specific concerns - not to work with those who incite hatred or violence, not with those who those who have connections to terrorism nor with those who call for the destruction of Israel; that we do not campaign for the boycott of goods from the state of Israel - we were able to clarify to the Board that these are long held Oxfam positions. The Board's concerns were taken in the courteous spirit it was given in and contrary to some reports Oxfam was not asked to sign any statement.
We are both acutely aware that we do not share the same views on issues in the Middle East but we believe this should not stop us working together on global hunger. Oxfam's policies on the Middle East and elsewhere are independent and driven by our experience with communities on the ground and underpinned by international human rights and humanitarian laws. This will not change.
For Oxfam we have been clear about how we work, how we develop our views and what informs that work and views. We are an independent and impartial international organisation concerned about the well being of some of the most vulnerable people in the world.
Oxfam is proud that it works in partnership with thousands of organisations across the world and we are looking forward to working with the Board of Deputies in mutual endeavour on an issue that binds all our common humanity. Together we can work towards ending the scourge of global hunger. If the task of ending global hunger cannot bring people together in common purpose then not much else can.