A full page New York Times ad last Thursday by the Emergency Committee for Israel lists Jewish charities that have donated to the Center for American Progress and Media Matters, institutions which Alan Dershowitz (among others) has labeled anti-Semitic. This ad may open a window into the politics of Jewish philanthropy, exposing how liberals of the Jewish faith use local charities to mask their donations to these controversial groups while also reaping other benefits.
Why are four Jewish community philanthropic foundations supporting an antisemitic website? Prof. Alan Dershowitz has brought appropriate attention to the antisemitism of Media Matters for America, and now thanks to the Daily Caller, it has been revealed that Media Matters has been receiving contributions from the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, Inc; Community Foundation of United Federation of San Diego*; Jewish Communal Fund; Jewish Community Foundation of Cleveland. Read more.
As pointed out at the Washington Free Beacon, many such charities are "donor-advised," allowing a donor to direct funding, while remaining anonymous. At the same time and in keeping with the spirit of the Tree of Life Award, donor's reputations would garner some measure of benefit from significant donations to local Jewish charity organizations in this manner. Jewish communities have long valued community-based charity, traditionally focused on fighting poverty within the Jewish community in question. In essence, some anonymous funds are likely being directed away from the community, while allowing the donor to benefit from the prestige that community-based philanthropy can bring within the community and among one's peers.
Donor-advised grants are primarily controlled by the funder. “While owned and ultimately controlled by CJP, [donor advised funds] do not involve communal funds, but rather reflect the interests of those individual donors,” the statement said.
Five Jewish charities in some of the nation’s largest cities have donated nearly $600,000 to Media Matters since 2006, according to documents obtained by the Daily Caller. The bulk of the donations came between 2008 and 2010.
Of the five Jewish charities that have donated to Media Matters, the most prolific is the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, which has given the group $362,500 since 2007.
Additionally, any donors taking advantage of this system in such a manner would also avoid the potentially significant costs and bureaucratic headaches of establishing a private foundation of their own to give donations to organizations like MMfA and CAP, while remaining anonymous.
Sources have indicated that an IRS loophole would allow liberals to donate significant sums to traditional local Jewish charities, long considered a mark of good standing within the Jewish community, after which a charity could easily pass along the donations to groups such as MMfA and CAP. Such a maneuver would be perfectly legal, complying with the IRS code, so long as there is no formal binding agreement compelling them to do on the donor's behalf. The key question is, would said dollars flow through any charity in question were they not then donated to a specific organization a donor desired to support?
As incomes within many Jewish communities have grown over the years, many may now contain more than enough wealth to support traditional Jewish good works. It would be ironic and perhaps sad if charitable groups, whether controlled by liberals, or not, are now providing liberal Jews with the opportunity to anonymously donate to what some notable Jews have labeled as anti-Semitic.