How US Taxpayers Subsidize Israeli Settlements

“These settlements, and the occupation more broadly, are financially unsustainable on their own, and must be propped up by far right-wing Jewish and Christian Zionist funds from abroad,” a member of a group campaigning against the practice told MintPress News.
By @jncatron |
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    US Evangelist John Hagee, center, leads a march of Christians in support of Israel in Jerusalem, Monday April 7, 2008. Photo: Peter Dejong/AP

    NEW YORK — As U.S. taxpayers prepare to send to Israel another $3.1 billion of their earnings, plus loan guarantees, discounted weaponry and other perks, two campaigns aim to shed light on organizations funding the Israeli occupation by their own initiative — and at taxpayer expense, no less.

    The groups, opponents say, are deeply complicit in Israel’s violations of international law and the human rights of Palestinians.

    U.S. government assistance to Israel does not end with the $121 billion in direct aid it has provided since 1949. U.S. charities also send billions of dollars, funded, in part, by taxpayers as a whole through the organizations’ tax-deductible status.

    The scale of their support cannot be determined. A 2014 study of over 3,600 Jewish organizations by the Jewish Daily Forward found they sent $1.7 billion, or 11.9 percent of their budgets, to Israel each year.

    But like U.S. Zionism in general, organizations voluntarily funding Israel are not exclusively Jewish, nor did the Forward claim to have fully reviewed even the Jewish sector.

    Further, under normal circumstances, identifying the overseas recipients of these grants can prove impossible, as U.S. organizations have no obligations to release them. Only if most charities choose to publicize their foreign projects will the taxpaying public have the opportunity to know what projects they’re subsidizing.


    “Thank God he was killed”

    Some organizations hide objectionable activities behind genteel facades.

    The Jewish National Fund, a $2.2 billion global behemoth, owns 13 percent of Israeli territory. It plants forests to obstruct the ruins of ethnically-cleansed Palestinian villages, funds the construction of settlement infrastructure, evicts Palestinians from their homes in occupied East Jerusalem, and restricts the use of its land on an explicitly racial basis, while presenting itself to the public as an environmental group.

    Yet others are less circumspect.

    On March 10, dozens of New York City residents protested outside the tony Waldorf Astoria against a local organization that has never kept its agenda a secret.

    The Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit headquartered in Manhattan, boasts of its aid to Israeli soldiers. The group organizes dozens of galas and other fundraising events each year through its offices across the United States and Panama.

    According to its most recent Form 990 made available by the IRS, the FIDF had gross receipts totalling over $105.3 million in 2013.

    Its spending, the group says, “supports social, educational, cultural and recreational programs and facilities for the soldiers of the IDF and their families.”

    Last November, Amnesty International accused Israel of committing war crimes during its summer 2014 military operation against the Gaza Strip.

    “Israeli forces have brazenly flouted the laws of war by carrying out a series of attacks on civilian homes, displaying callous indifference to the carnage caused,” Philip Luther, director of AI’s Middle East and North Africa Program, said in a statement.

    The offensive killed over 2,200 Palestinians in the besieged enclave, including more than 500 children, during 51 days of bombings and incursions.

    Other human rights organizations, as well as U.N. officials, have also questioned the Israeli military’s adherence to the laws of war.

    “We find it strange that a U.S.-based charitable organization underwrites programs – recreational, educational, and cultural activities – for a foreign army,” Nancy Kricorian, a spokesperson for Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel, told MintPress News. “It is hard to imagine the IRS giving nonprofit status to a group that provides such support for the Russian military, or even the Australian armed forces.”

    Many of the FIDF’s programs — from the recruitment of Israelis exempt from conscription, to the training of Ethiopian troops, to the construction of housing, medical, recreational, religious and other facilities for military personnel — would in other countries be the responsibility of the armed forces, not a private charity, especially one based abroad.

    Kricorian added that the FIDF’s “Lone Soldiers Program” is “particularly problematic.”

    The project offers “financial, social and emotional support” to the approximately 2,800 foreigners serving in the Israeli army each year, at a cost of $6,000 each.

    “We believe this group’s tax exemption should be revoked,” Kricorian said, citing a sign at the rally: “If your favorite charity occupies, bombs and kills, you’ve got problems.”

    Gala attendees saw things differently. Irwin Graulich, president of Bloch Graulich Whelan Inc., an advertising agency, and, according to his personal website, an “exciting Jewish motivational speaker,” responded to a protester reading the name of a Palestinian killed by the Israeli military in Gaza last summer by yelling, “Thank God he was killed,” before launching into a protracted rant on video.


    “Funds for the support of an illegal occupation should not be tax-deductible”

    Thousands of miles from the Waldorf, international activists have launched an attempt to publicize the activities of another New York City group.

    The Brooklyn-based Hebron Fund, which also holds 501(c)(3) status, sends direct support to the 500 Israeli settlers in the West Bank city of Hebron. Their presence is widely considered illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention, which forbids the transfer of civilians into an occupied territory.

    After Baruch Goldstein, a settler in nearby Kiryat Arba, opened fire on Palestinian worshippers in Hebron’s ancient Ibrahimi Mosque in 1994, killing 29 and wounding over 125, Israeli forces imposed severe restrictions on the movements of hundreds of thousands of local Palestinians.

    Many of these restrictions remain in effect today, such as a ban on Palestinian use of Shuhada Street, the main local thoroughfare reserved by occupation forces for the small minority of Israeli settlers, as well as military roadblocks and checkpoints throughout Hebron.

    Christian Peacemaker Teams, a group of foreign volunteers working with local Palestinians, says the Hebron Fund’s support for the settlers, along with its own activities in the city, have contributed to making life in Hebron intolerable.

    “The Hebron Fund raises money to support these settlements, which are illegal under international law, as well as the soldiers currently occupying Hebron,” a CPT member in Hebron, who asked to remain anonymous for security reasons, told MintPress. “These settlements, and the occupation more broadly, are financially unsustainable on their own, and must be propped up by far right-wing Jewish and Christian Zionist funds from abroad.”

    The Hebron Fund’s 2013 receipts, totalling less than $2.4 million, may seem tiny compared with those of the FIDF. But spread among a few hundred settlers, several million dollars goes a long way.

    The group also finances the development of settlement infrastructure, a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and in contravention of U.S. foreign policy, which also considers the settlements illegitimate.

    According to CPT, the Hebron Fund’s own activities often wreak havoc in the city.

    “Every Saturday, the Hebron Fund organizes a tour of the Old City of Hebron for settlers and tourists,” the CPT member said. “This tour involves visitors and at least 30 soldiers and Border Police marching through Palestinian neighborhoods. Settlers often chant and sing songs, and sometimes yell threats at Palestinian children nearby. Soldiers refuse to let Palestinians pass, and often ID check or detain Palestinians near the tour.”

    Residents hoping to escape the upheaval cannot necessarily do so in their own homes, the member said. “Last week, soldiers invaded four houses to guard the parade from the families’ rooftops. That number is about average.”

    CPT, which launched its campaign with an online petition, is currently preparing informational materials on the Hebron Fund for use by supporters overseas. With them, the organization hopes, more people can learn about the situation in Hebron and the role of U.S. contributions in perpetuating it.

    “Funds for the support of an illegal occupation should not be tax-deductible,” the CPT member said.

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    • Mike Silva

      Revoke 501C status for violation of rule. Not allowed to support or endorse politicians. Nor involve in Governments.

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    • William A Finch

      I think ALL funding that goes in that direction should be cut off. It’s gone on far too long. Gravy train should have been over decades ago.

    • LiarWatch

      If a country is permitted to carry on false flag attacks, killing Americans, and never even publicly censured for it, do you think that it is likely that they will repeat the operation in the future?

    • Essam Salim

      This article is anti-Semitic. Everyone knows that Jews are God’s chosen people. And because of that they are intitled to kill children and take lands that do not belong to them. They are also entitled to spy on non jews and overthrow and control their governments.

      The American and Canadian Evangelicals know that jews are god’s chosen people. And they know that they should support the Jews. It is anti-semitic if you do not support the jews when they kill children of non jews and take their lands.

      • Forrest Carlton Lackey

        Psssh. Yeah. I feel ya. It doesn’t matter that they commited terrorism against the US, either. Lavon, USS Liberty, Dancing Israelis on 9/11, they propose the Sampson Option and have been at war longer than their existance and they want to cry fowl on Iran MIGHT have a nuke but hasn’t been to war in a century? PSsssht. Whatever. I may lean right and was raised religious, but I am disgusted with Mount Zion right now. And I’ve got history and Bible verses for MY argument, too. It’s not all a leftwing thing, although I think that a lot of protestants and republicans have been brainwashed by these east european baal worshippers, bolsheviks, and pharisees.

      • Pamela’s Page


    • avenger 3

      Yes, and there is nothing you Jew haters can do about it.

      • Arthur Feld

        ahh – but if you look – the tide appears to be turning away from people being afraid to challenge the topic – so – do not appear so arrogant – we (americans) can see and hear you – your arrogance will be your own undoing – and to question and disagree doesn’t make anyone a jew hater – that tactic to shut us up will no longer work.

        • avenger 3

          No tide is turning anywhere – did you notice that the PM of Israel received multiple standing ovations from Dems and GOP in Congress? Do you realize that the US is giving Israel $3 billion in arms even with Obama as Pres.? We are organized and motivated while you are just another Jew hater on a message board.

          • Arthur Feld

            There you go with that jew hater crap because I dare to disagree – you make me and many other americans sick with your either we let israel do whatever it wants and if we dare to disagree on anything – we are jew haters – take that trick somewhere else – we are sick of it – I am allowed to disagree and I am free to state that without many of you getting crazed and insulting us and cursing at us.

          • Arthur Feld

            I thought I would never see a black president in this country in my lifetime – it went from impossible – to possible overnight – your arrogance is showing and we are sick of being played – The fact the there is open debate and discussion actually happening is a big movement foreward – whether you like it or not!!!

    • pszymeczek

      The better question is WHY we do this. The “Religious Right” in America is looking to bring about Armageddon, which they believe will bring about the “Second Coming” and “the Rapture.”

      • Fed up with the FED !

        It’s as Crazy as it gets…

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    • Here’s a link to an article that says US aid to Israel is really $10.3 billion a year…..and it’s from 1983! If you adjust for inflation, it’s much, much higher now. US aid to Israel has to stop. The parasites must be cut off.

      • Robert Munro

        I’ve been saying that for years. That 10.3 BILLION does not include what we pay Egypt and Jordan to “cooperate” with Israel. It does not include the billions in production and research grants that go to Israel because of very special incentives offered by Congress to corporations and agencies that offshore AMERICAN production/JOBS and projects to Israel. It does not include the damaged relations with other countries and their citizens because we are the puppet state of the world’s most despised country/cult.ure.

        • Good points!

          • Robert Munro

            Thanks. It pays to do a bit of research.

      • jo6pac

        Yep, and that’s not the spare change they pickup. Thanks

    • Robert Munro

      Since the psychotic Netanyahu gained power in the “Jewish” state, the Zionist political cult has defrauded the American Taxpayer of MORE THAN TWENTY BILLION DOLLARS in military aid alone. This does NOT include all of the never-to-be-repaid loans, “grants”, jobs and production lost to very, very special incentives to corporations and universities to export production and research to the Judeo-Fascist state.
      The approximate cons of Israel, to the American Taxpayer, is FIFTEEN BILLION DOLLARS PER YEAR.

      • William A Finch

        You hit the nail on the head when you said psychotic.

        • Robert Munro

          And, among Zionists and Israelis, Netanyahu is a “moderate”. Some of them want us to build gas chambers and ovens so they can really process the Palestinians……….then us.

          • William A Finch

            Then there are armies of psycho’s ..>?

            • Robert Munro

              The Israeli IDF was formed from 20,000 Jewish terrorists in three principal gangs. Those terrorists, described by British troops as the most barbaric of the 20th Century, imparted the character the IDF has today.

              Israel’s leadership is comprised of sociopathic criminals……………

              THE JEWISH STATE. (article from 6 months ago)

              Moshe Feiglin, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling
              Likud Party and Deputy Speaker in the Israeli Knesset:

              Feiglin demands that Israel launch attacks “throughout Gaza with the IDF’s [Israeli army’s] maximum force (and not a tiny fraction of it) with all the conventional means at its disposal.”

              “After the IDF completes the ‘softening’ of the targets with its firepower, the
              IDF will conquer the entire Gaza, using all the means necessary to minimize any
              harm to our soldiers, with no other considerations,”

              Following the reconquest, Israel’s army “will thoroughly eliminate all armed
              enemies from Gaza. The enemy population that is innocent of wrongdoing and
              separated itself from the armed terrorists will be treated in accordance with
              international law and will be allowed to leave,” Feiglin writes.

              “Gaza is part of our Land and we will remain there forever,” Feiglin concludes. “Subsequent to the elimination of terror from Gaza, it will become part of sovereign Israel and will be populated by Jews. This will also serve to ease the housing
              crisis in Israel.”

              Feiglin has a long history of incitement. Last week he expelled Arab members of the Knesset who dared to criticize Israel’s ongoing slaughter in Gaza and called for Israel to cut off power to dialysis patients there.

              Deputy Speaker of the Israeli Knesset and member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud Party, Moshe Feiglin, has called for the use of concentration camps for the “conquest of the entire Gaza Strip, and annihilation of all fighting forces and their supporters.”

              Sharing a plan for the destruction of Gaza in a letter addressed to Netanyahu on his Facebook page on August 1, Feiglin wrote “What is required now is that we internalize the fact that Oslo is finished, that this is our country – our country exclusively, including Gaza.”

              Feiglin’s comments come after one of his far-right Knesset colleagues Ayelet Shaked previously called for the mothers of Hamas members to be targeted.

              In his letter, Feiglin urged Netanyahu to “turn Gaza into Jaffa, a flourishing Israeli city with a minimum number of hostile civilians,” in reference to a Palestinian coastal city that was ethnically cleansed by in 1948 and incorporated into present-day Israel.

              He called for tent encampments where the Palestinian civilian population would be “concentrated” to be established along the Sinai border until relevant emigration destinations are determined, adding that the supply of electricity and water to the formerly populated areas will be disconnected while they are “shelled with maximum fire power” in order to destroy the civilian and military infrastructure of Hamas as well as its means of communication and of logistics.

              “Those who insist on staying, if they can be proven to have no affiliation with Hamas, will be required to publicly sign a declaration of loyalty to Israel, and receive a blue ID card similar to that of the Arabs of East Jerusalem,” he said.

              Feiglin, who in January blasted Netanyahu for allowing his son to date a non-Jew, or a ‘Gentile’, also caused uproar among Palestinians when he participated in a raid on the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, in East Jerusalem in March.