TEL AVIV — Financing tied to billionaire activist George Soros is a common yet largely under-reported theme among organizations that lead or support the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign attempting to delegitimize the Jewish state.
In January, Israel released a list of 20 BDS-supporting organizations whose members will be banned from entering Israel due to their BDS activism, prominently featuring six American groups. At least four of the six BDS-promoting U.S. groups receive funding tied to Soros. Scores of other U.S. organizations that support the BDS movement are financed by Soros.
The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) is a central proponent of anti-Israel BDS activism on college campuses and in churches, boasting a mission that exclaims active support for “boycott and divestment campaigns that target companies complicit in the occupation.”
Tides is a central funding hub that distributes donor funds to far-left organizations. Indeed, Tides is one of the nation’s biggest funders of progressive organizations.
AFSC helped lead the campaign demanding divestment from Hewlett Packard and Sodastream due to the companies’ Israel branches.
AFSC works hand in hand with Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which is notorious for its anti-Israel crusade on college campuses, where the group peddles the BDS movement. AFSC and SJP are both featured on Israel’s list of six banned U.S.-based BDS-promoting organizations.
Students for Justice in Palestine, in turn, receives legal help for its work from an organization called Palestine Legal. Palestine Legal was created for the express purpose of “stand[ing] for justice in Palestine” and defending BDS.
Students for Justice in Palestine, meanwhile, regularly partners with the BDS-supporting, radical Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), another group banned in Israel over its BDS activities. JVP does not disclose most of its donors, but it has reportedly been funded by the Soros-financed Tides Foundation.
Also banned from entering Israel over BDS activism is the radical CODEPINK organization, which has been financed by the Soros-funded Tides Foundation and is well known for its disruptive protest antics.
Soros, BDS and ‘Challenging Israel’
Aside from organizations whose principal mission centers on BDS, scores of other major Soros-financed organizations form the nexus of so-called progressive groups that support BDS in the U.S.
Hacked emails from Soros’s Open Society Foundations revealed an objective aimed at “challenging Israel’s racist and anti-democratic policies in the international arena” and “influencing EU-Israel bilateral negotiations.”
The heavily Soros-financed American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been leading the legal opposition to proposed state and federal anti-BDS legislation. Numerous prominent Democrats, including Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Bernie Sanders and Dianne Feinstein, have cited ACLU arguments to justify their public opposition to pro-Israel, anti-BDS bills.
Soros’s Open Society donated $50 million to the ACLU.
The Soros-funded MoveOn.org, a far-left political action committee, has called on its large following to oppose anti-BDS legislation. Besides direct funding from Soros’s Open Society Foundations, MoveOn.org is also financed by the Soros-funded Tides Foundation. Another significant MoveOn.org donor is the Soros-funded Ploughshares Fund.
On Friday, the Women’s March released a document for the first time outlining the anti-Trump group’s policy platform and broad goals. The document explicitly cites an agenda that includes opposing anti-BDS legislation.
Soros reportedly gave some $246 million to partners of the Women’s March. Indeed, as Breitbart News reported, many of the March “partners” are financed by Soros, including: Sierra Club, Amnesty International, MoveOn.org, NAACP, Green For All, Center for Constitutional Rights, Human Rights Watch, MoveOn.org, NARAL Pro-Choice, People for the American Way and Planned Parenthood.
Meanwhile, the Soros-funded Black Lives Matter has also participated in pro-BDS activism. When it released its wide-ranging, socialist-style platform in 2016, Black Lives Matter officially endorsed BDS and pledged to “fight the expanding number of anti-BDS bills being passed in states around the country.”
During the latest gubernatorial race in Florida, Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum came under fire for his deep ties to Dream Defenders, a radical group that is active in promoting BDS. Breitbart News reported that Dream Defenders organized a flash mob in Israel to officially endorse the BDS movement against the Jewish state. Dream Defenders founder Phillip Agnew is a graduate of the youth training program at the George Soros-financed People for the American Way, a program led at the time of Agnew’s attendance by Gillum himself.
Dream Defenders’ January 2015 delegation and flash mob in Israel to officially endorse BDS was also led by Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of the Soros-funded Black Lives Matter, and Charlene Carruthers, national director of the Black Youth Project 100. The Black Youth Project is financed by Soros’s Open Society Foundations.
In Israel, one group that has faced controversy over its BDS stance is the New Israel Fund (NIF), which finances scores of organizations critical of Israeli policy. Hacked emails document Soros’ Open Society Foundations provided the NIF with at least $837,500 from 2002 to 2015. Breitbart News further found that NIF’s 2015 annual report lists the Soros-funded Tides Foundation as a donor.
On its website, NIF explains that it “does oppose the global (or general) BDS movement,” but supports groups “that lawfully discourage the purchase of goods or use of services from settlements.” In other words, NIF supports BDS activities that target Israeli settlements.
Soros: ‘The main stumbling block is Israel’
In his few public comments on the matter, Soros himself has made clear he is not a supporter of the Jewish state.
The billionaire set the tone for his personal Israel views when he told the New Yorker’s Connie Bruck as part of a 1995 profile: “I don’t deny the Jews their right to a national existence — but I don’t want to be part of it.”
In February 2011, Soros penned a rare oped in the Washington Post in which the billionaire activist advocated support for the so-called Arab Spring in which scores of Muslim Brotherhood-allied groups stood to gain, including in Egypt with the downfall of the pro-U.S. regime of Hosni Mubarak. Soros singled out Israel as “the main stumbling block” against the insurgencies across the Middle East.
The main stumbling block is Israel. In reality, Israel has as much to gain from the spread of democracy in the Middle East as the United States has. But Israel is unlikely to recognize its own best interests because the change is too sudden and carries too many risks.
Soros celebrated that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the bipartisan pro-Israel group, “is no longer monolithic or the sole representative of the Jewish community.”
Indeed, AIPAC’s role in the political arena has been challenged by the Soros-funded J Street, which has taken controversial lines critical of Israeli policy and supports the Obama-led international nuclear accord with Iran that is strongly opposed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.