News and analysis
September 10, 2010

CARE Trustee Takes Leave Over Israeli Settlements

Editor's note: This article was updated on Monday, September 13, with new comments from Richard A. Marin, who resigned from the CARE USA board.

A trustee for the international aid group CARE USA, Richard A. Marin, has taken a leave of absence following questions about his employer's ties to companies that have worked to promote Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

Mr. Marin is chief executive of Africa Israel Investments USA, or AFI USA, a real-estate investment company.

Companies working for AFI USA's parent company, Africa Israel Investments, "have been connected to building settlements in the West Bank in violation of international law," CARE said in a statement.

Mr. Marin said in an interview that he was the target of "guilt by association" since he has no influence on the activities of Africa Israel Investments and gets paid by the U.S. company, which deals only with U.S. assets.

But he decided to take the board leave, he said, because he has been a CARE supporter for 25 years, and "I don't want anything to slow that mission down."

CARE said it had been informed of the connection by an advocacy group—Adalah-NY: the New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel.

"Although Mr. Marin and AFI USA do not build settlements in the West Bank, Mr. Marin did not want even the appearance of a connection to hinder CARE's work, especially in the West Bank and Gaza, so he voluntarily stepped aside from his CARE USA board obligations," CARE said in its statement.

"We thank CARE for acting swiftly to appropriately address this issue once it was brought to their attention," Riham Barghouti, a spokesman for Adalah-NY, said in a statement.

A spokesman for Africa Israel Investments told the news service Reuters in August that the company was no longer building West Bank settlements.

"Africa Israel and its subsidiaries for some time have not been involved in real-estate development or residential building in settlements in the West Bank," the spokesman said.