Legal rights NGO sends strongly worded letter to Rockefeller Brothers Fund warning its support of groups that advocate boycotting Israel could cause the fund to be “considered complicit and as a participant in these groups’ illegal activities.”
By Yair Altman and Israel Hayom Staff
The Rockefeller Brothers Fund has given anti-Israel BDS organizations hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to the Shurat Hadin Israel Law Center.
Attorney and Shurat Hadin Director Nissan Darshan-Leitner – Photo: Yossi Veliger
In a scathing letter to the RBF earlier this month, the Israeli legal watchdog group warned the RBF that its support of groups that advocate boycotting Israel could cause the fund to be “considered complicit and as a participant in these groups’ illegal activities.”
The fund, which belongs to the Rockefeller family, donates especially large sums of money to various institutions in Israel and abroad, which according to the allegations include Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups that publicly support the BDS movement.
Shurat Hadin claimed that in 2015 the RBF granted $140,000 to Jewish Voice for Peace; $20,000 to Zochrot; $50,000 to the American Friends Service Committee’s Israel program; and $100,000 to the Al-Shabaka organization.
In its letter to the RBF, Shurat Hadin wrote: “The BDS movement’s efforts constitute unlawful discrimination on the basis of national origin, race, and religion under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (‘Anti-Racism Convention’) and numerous U.S. federal and state statutes, including New York law. Funding organizations that promote BDS raises serious legal issues for RBF. Accordingly, we strongly advise you to consider whether RBF should continue to provide financial backing to these hate groups who promote BDS against Israel and Israeli companies, individuals, and products.”
Shurat Hadin Director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner said: “It is even more difficult for me to understand how the children of such an esteemed father can allow the fund honoring their father’s legacy to be involved in racist and discriminatory activity. … Shurat Hadin will not hesitate to take legal steps against these organizations and those who fund them if they try to or perpetrate any boycott of Israel.”
The Rockefeller Brothers Fund said in response: “While the foundation does not support the call for BDS, we stand behind all the organizations supported by the fund and which work for a just and peaceful future for Israelis and Palestinians.”
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