[News] Are climate change deniers funding attack on Palestine activism?

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Mar 26 17:15:16 EDT 2015


  Are climate change deniers funding attack on Palestine activism?

Charlotte Silver <http://electronicintifada.net/people/charlotte-silver>
*http://electronicintifada.net/content/are-climate-change-deniers-funding-attack-palestine-activism/14374*

26 March 2015

Last weekend, Zionist activists paid up to $1,000 each to attend a 
conference <https://www.standwithus.com/ppsc/bdsconf2015.asp> in Los 
Angeles <http://electronicintifada.net/tags/los-angeles> on the 
Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/bds> (BDS) against Israel.

StandWithUs <http://electronicintifada.net/tags/standwithus>, the 
conference’s organizer, is one of the most powerful outfits in the US 
leading the current backlash against activism in support of Palestinian 
rights. Though it tries to present itself as grassroots-led, it is 
funded 
<http://972mag.com/standwithus-to-take-cash-messaging-from-israeli-govt/101314/> 
by the Israeli government, as well as richly endowed foundations.

A new report 
<http://www.ijan.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/IJAN-Business-of-Backlash-web.pdf> 
by the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/international-jewish-anti-zionist-network-ijan> 
identifies eleven of the most significant of the foundations that 
provide financial backing to what IJAN calls the “Zionist backlash.”

Zionist organizations have received nearly a billion dollars from these 
sources over the last seven years, according to the report.


    Hubs and catalysts

“It is almost unknown that eleven major donors, routing their capital 
through an array of foundations, fund nearly the entire network of ‘hubs 
and catalysts’ of anti-Palestinian backlash in the United States,” 
according to the report.

IJAN analyzed thousands of pages of tax returns of some of the most 
prominent “backlash” organizations, including the Amcha Initiative 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/amcha-initiative>, StandWithUS and 
Hillel International <http://electronicintifada.net/tags/hillel>.

It traced their funding to the Newton D. and Rochelle F. Becker 
Foundation, the Sarah Scaife Foundation, the Koret Foundation, the 
Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, the Klarman Family 
Foundation, the Russell Berrie Foundation, the Lynde and Harry Bradley 
Foundation, the Adelson Family Foundation, the Koch Family Foundations, 
the Moskowitz Foundation and the Fairbrook Foundation.

Some of these names will be familiar to readers acquainted with the 
well-funded “Islamophobia 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/islamophobia> industry” in the 
United States. Previous investigative reporting and research have shown 
<http://www.alternet.org/world/follow-money-islamophobia-israel-right-or-wrong> 
that overlapping interests provoke anti-Muslim sentiment as well as 
strengthen the US-Israel relationship.

However, lesser-known players with similar objectives have undergone 
less scrutiny.

For example, the Koch Family Foundations, operated by Charles and David 
Koch — notorious for their zealous devotion to the free market as well 
as their significant sway over electoral outcomes — poured $56 million 
in 2012 alone to Donors Capital Fund 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/donors-capital-fund> and Donors 
Trust, intermediary groups that are used to obscure funding for 
sensitive or controversial causes. The Koch brothers’ firm, Koch 
Industries, is heavily involved 
<http://www.kochindustriesinc.com/files/kochfacts.pdf> in energy projects.

Donors Capital Fund and Donors Trust gained notoriety for their heavy 
investment 
<http://www.prwatch.org/news/2012/10/11819/meet-network-hiding-koch-money-donors-trust-and-donors-capital-fund> 
in institutions that produced dubious reports challenging the veracity 
of climate change <http://electronicintifada.net/tags/climate-change>.

But it has also contributed significantly to Zionist backlash 
organizations — including StandWithUs, the Friends of the Israel Center 
for Social and Economic Progress and the Committee for Accuracy in 
Middle East Reporting in America 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/camera> (CAMERA). Of note, in 2011 
the Center for American Progress 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/center-american-progress> found that 
Donors Capital Fund was the largest contributor 
<https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/religion/report/2011/08/26/10165/fear-inc/> 
to the “Islamophobia network.”


    Sustaining power and profit

Donors Capital Fund has also donated to Shurat HaDin 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/shurat-hadin> — or Israel’s Law 
Center. Focused on taking lawsuits against Palestinians and Palestine 
solidarity activists, that group has ties 
<http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/asa-winstanley/israeli-lawyers-group-shurat-hadin-unmasked-mossad-proxy> 
to the Mossad <http://electronicintifada.net/tags/mossad>, Israel’s 
foreign inteligence outfit. Shurat HaDin assisted 
<http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/charlotte-silver/jailing-rasmea-odeh-may-trigger-trauma-israeli-torture-expert-tells-judge> 
the US government’s recent case against Palestinian American community 
leader Rasmea Odeh <http://electronicintifada.net/tags/rasmea-odeh>.

Many of the donors use intermediary “donor advised funds” — also called 
“anonymizers” — to obscure their support for more controversial groups. 
Anonymizers receive and disseminate direct donations and play a large 
role in distributing funds to Zionist backlash organizations, as the 
IJAN report details.

Only by reviewing a specific foundation’s public tax returns can one 
gain any insight into who is funding these intermediaries.

Like Donors Capital Fund, these intermediary groups have innocuous names 
including Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston and Jewish Communal 
Fund. Yet they bankroll some of the most aggressively anti-Palestinian 
groups all over the United States.

IJAN’s report emphasizes the crucial alignment of interests that fuels 
such bounteous investment in fighting and undermining Palestinian 
activism in the United States. Profit competes with political ideology 
as a motivating force, the report suggests. Many of the biggest funders 
of the backlash also maintain substantial investments in oil, gas and 
weapon industries that have interests in Israel’s geopolitical position.

“While there are donors whose investments in the backlash are clearly 
ideological, we want to make the case that these are rational 
investments, that are, in part, about sustaining their power and 
profit,” David Langstaff, a researcher with IJAN, told The Electronic 
Intifada.

Langstaff also stated that while many of his colleagues were shocked by 
the sheer amount of money flowing to the Zionist backlash, he was more 
struck that these funders were simultaneously funding attacks on other 
movements for social justice, including environmental, anti-racist and 
labor organizing.

Langstaff was involved in the drawn-out legal battle by Olympia Food 
Co-op <http://electronicintifada.net/tags/olympia-food-co-op> in 
Washington state after it decided to boycott Israeli merchandise. 
StandWithUs, along with the Zionist Organization of America 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/zionist-organization-america> and 
the Lawfare Project 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/lawfare-project>, propelled 
litigation 
<http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/nora-barrows-friedman/olympia-co-op-lawfare-case-backfires-court-fines-anti-boycott-plaintiffs> 
against the co-op’s right to boycott Israeli goods on such dubious legal 
grounds that two courts ultimately ruled that the case had “no merit” 
and qualified as an attack on public expression.

While the litigative effort has thus far failed, Langstaff points out, 
“There were years’ worth of energy going into that single victory.”

But in spite of the big money that fuels their opposition, the IJAN 
report stresses that Palestine solidarity activism in the United States 
continues to have successes.

“It is our hopeful conclusion that our movement has made gains in spite 
of such enormous quantities of money,” Langstaff said.

/Charlotte Silver is a journalist based in San Francisco. Twitter: 
@CharESilver <https://twitter.com/CharESilver>/

-- 
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