Little-known charity funded by major liberal groups sponsors anti-Israel organizations aligned with BDS

Student protest march in London for Palestinian people
Students and pro-Palestinian supporters take part in a protest march through central London, calling for UK universities to stop investing and co-operating with companies and institutions involved in breaches of international law carried out by the Israeli government in the Palestinian territories in London on July 09, 2021. (Photo by Wiktor Szymanowicz/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Little-known charity funded by major liberal groups sponsors anti-Israel organizations aligned with BDS

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A little-known charity in the United States that is backed by influential liberal nonprofit groups is the fiscal sponsor for several anti-Israel organizations that support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, including a Palestinian terrorist-linked group.

Alliance for Global Justice launched in 1998 and is an offshoot of the Nicaragua Network, a group that supported the socialist Sandinista political regime in Nicaragua. The Arizona-based 501(c)(3) charity, which has dubbed itself “anti-capitalist” and “progressive,” fiscally sponsors four groups aligned with BDS, a movement that says Israel is an “apartheid state,” according to its website.

In 2020, AFGJ received millions combined from major left-leaning groups, including $210,000 from the Arabella Advisors-managed New Venture Fund, $250,000 from George Soros’s Open Society Foundations network, and almost $2 million from the Tides Foundation, tax records show. AFGJ reported a revenue of over $56.4 million on its tax documents filed in November 2021, compared to only around $7 million on its Form 990 filed in August 2020.

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AFGJ lists 93 organizations on its website that it fiscally sponsors, meaning it provides them services such as donation processing, health insurance handling, and payroll. Such sponsorship allows groups often operating in political fringes across the world to rake in tax-exempt donations from U.S. citizens.

A staff blog post on AFGJ’s website says the group actually sponsors 130 projects, making it unclear where that number stands right now. AFGJ did not respond to a request for comment.

There are four groups that have aligned with BDS and expressed severe anti-Israel sentiments that AFGJ fiscally sponsors, according to its website. This includes Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, the Arizona Palestine Solidarity Alliance, the Lajee Center, and Ta’ayush.

“The groups are crazy,” Itai Reuveni, a spokesman for NGO Monitor, an Israeli watchdog group, told the Washington Examiner. “They’re not even in the regular debate spectrum. It’s like the craziest groups, which is a red flag for me.”

In particular, Samidoun is an Israeli-designated terrorist group thought to act as an arm for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a U.S.-designated terrorist group. Samidoun regularly calls for the release of Palestinian prisoners, who often have ties to the PFLP, according to NGO Monitor.

In October, the Netherlands banned Samidoun’s leaders from entering the European Union, and the credit card company Discover said in 2021 it would no longer process donations to AFGJ due to its ties to Samidoun.

Back in 2019, Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy said in a report that one Samidoun activist had been “trained by” the radical Islamist group Hezbollah in Lebanon. The Samidoun activist handed money he received in Syria and Lebanon to PFLP activists in Belgium, according to the report, which resulted in Mastercard, Visa, and American Express no longer allowing their services to be used by Samidoun.

“If you have a mechanism that enables regular Americans to give money to a terrorist organization, that is a problem,” said Reuveni, noting he thinks the IRS should consider revoking Alliance for Global Justice’s tax-exempt status.

Arizona Palestine Solidarity Alliance, another group AFGJ sponsors, is a network that “connects movements in southern Arizona with the Palestinian-led, international BDS movement,” according to its website. The group launched in 2014 and touts on its website that it even “sponsored a workshop on BDS and the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel” at the University of Arizona.

A Salsa Labs link on APSA’s website directs to a donation portal hosted by AFGJ.

APSA has retweeted posts on Twitter from a group called the Palestinian Youth Movement, an anti-Israel nonprofit group that is fiscally sponsored by the BDS-supporting WESPAC Foundation, according to the Capital Research Center.

In 2017, PYM announced it would host a scholarship named after Ghassan Kanafani, who was a PFLP leader in 1972 when the group was involved in an airport terrorist attack in Israel that killed 26 people.

“One of the most important reasons for supporting BDS is that it is non-violent resistance to the occupation,” Mohyeddin Abdulaziz, a co-founder of APSA, told the Washington Examiner. “It is very clear that military and violent solutions only brought disaster to all people in that part of the world.”

“It is absurd that we here in the U.S. can boycott our own products, but we are criminalized when we try to boycott a foreign country,” said Abdulaziz. “No matter how sacred one thinks Israel is, it is still a foreign country, and it is our constitutional free speech right to try to hold Israel accountable. To pledge allegiance to a foreign state is contrary to what our country claims to be.”

The Lajee Center, which is located in the Palestinian refugee camp Aida in Bethlehem, Beit Jala, and Jerusalem, notes on its website that it “is an active signatory to the 2005 Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against the Israeli regime.” The group spreads the ideas of BDS through workshops and networking events, according to its website.

Mohammed Alazza, the Lajee Center’s director, has posted videos on Facebook appearing to show Palestinian civilians and children clashing violently with Israeli military forces. In August 2020, the Lajee Center retweeted a post by the official BDS account that labeled 112 companies “complicit” in “Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise.”

Ta’ayush aims “to end the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and to achieve full civil equality for all,” according to its website. The Israel-based organization has posted articles on Facebook promoting BDS, according to NGO Monitor.

In 2014, Ta’ayush referred to Israeli soldiers as “[c]riminals in uniform” in a YouTube post. One of Ta’ayush’s co-founders, Gadi Elgazi, a history professor at Tel-Aviv University in Israel, signed an open letter in June 2019 calling on the German government to reject a resolution labeling BDS as antisemitic.

Ta’ayush has said on its website that Neve Gordon, an Israeli professor at Queen Mary University of London, is one of its active members. In 2009, Gordon wrote an article titled “Boycott Israel” in the Los Angeles Times that described how he supported BDS to “counter the apartheid trend in Israel.”

Marc Greendorfer, a lawyer and the founder of the Zachor Legal Institute, a legal group fighting antisemitism and discrimination, said AFGJ is “basically a proxy for every terror group that has sufficient funds to promote BDS.”

“The truth is that they definitely form an intermediary for these terror-backed groups and they’re evading federal laws that prohibit providing financial assistance to these terror groups,” Greendorfer told the Washington Examiner.

Greendorfer’s organization wrote a letter to the Justice Department on Oct. 25 that demanded it investigate seven groups, including Samidoun, that act as front groups for the PFLP.

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AFGJ takes an 8% administrative fee on all contributions given to groups involved in its sponsorship agreement, according to its website. One group AFGJ sponsored in the past was the Louisville Community Bail Fund, according to 2020 tax documents filed by the Tides Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit “sister” group of the Tides Foundation.

The fund posted $100,000 bail in February for Quintez Brown, who was arrested after he allegedly tried to assassinate Jewish Democratic mayoral hopeful Craig Greenberg in Louisville, Kentucky.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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