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Tree of Life

Profile

Country/TerritoryUnited States
Websitehttp://www.tolef.org/
In their own words“a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation… established by The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme [Connecticut] to provide cross-cultural and transnational travel experiences, interfaith conferences and educational opportunities to help participants to become more enlightened and more engaged in making this a more just and peaceful world in which to live.”

Funding

  • Tree of Life Educational fund has 2014 revenue of 149,921 (accessed October 13, 2015).
  • While Tree of Life does not list foreign donors, it does acknowledge that is has received foreign grants.

Activities

  • The Tree of Life Educational Fund (ToLEF), which is a 501(c)(3), claims to “provide intercultural and interfaith justice education.” There is also a Tree of Life Honoraria Trust, which is not a 501(c)(3), provides “direct support for those organizations that have exemplified themselves as ‘parables of hope.’ These are organizations, both in Israel and the occupied territories, that are working to provide a better future for those who live in the Holy Land.”
  • Board of Directors includes Mark Braverman, Executive Director of Kairos USA, Advisory Board member of Friends of Sabeel North America, and board member of Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions USA (ICAHD- USA); Hassan Fouda, member of Board of Directors of ICAHD-USA; Susanne Hoder, BDS activist and founding member of United Methodist Kairos Response; Alli McCracken, coordinator of CODEPINK; Jiries Atrash, “who was appointed General Director and Chief Protocol Officer of the Palestinian National Authority in the office of Yasser Arafat,” and others.
    • Braverman has compared the Nazi Holocaust to the State of Israel, called Zionism a threat to Jewish identity and has “criticized the exploitation of Christian feelings of complicity in and guilt for the Holocaust to promote Zionism.”

Political Advocacy

  • Highly active in promoting anti-Israel BDS campaigns.
  • Promoting its September- November 2015 conference (which will be presented in partnership with Jewish Voice for Peace, Sabeel North America and Kairos USA, in cities throughout the United States), states: “we must ask ourselves how BDS can be an even more effective instrument of change.” Further states that “[w]e must prepare to compete with the rhetoric of the upcoming presidential campaign to raise awareness of the real ‘facts on the ground.’”
  • Encourages followers to sign its “Petition for a Just Peace in Israel/ Palestine,” which states that the organizations is “particularly concerned with our nation’s history of support for the State of Israel” and urges the United States to “withdraw[] financial/military support.” The petition accuses Israel of maintaining a “matrix of control” over the Palestinian population and urges Israel to remove all “military checkpoints, by-pass roads, and its separation wall built on Palestinian lands,” thereby omitting all Palestinian terror against Israeli civilians, as well as Israel’s legitimate right to self-defense. The petition further advocates for a Palestinian “right of return,” which would effectually mean the elimination of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.
  • Posted a message of “thanks” to “all our friends in the United Church of Christ (UCC) who with the support of Jewish Voice for Peace helped to pass a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) resolution at the UCC’s General Synod in Cleveland. We were proud to have a number of those in our Tree of Life community involved in this effort.”
  • Published a message by Alice Rothchild, who regularly exploits her Jewish identity to demonize Israel. According to the Tree of Life website, Rothchild was haunted by questions including: “Do we align ourselves — even after the centuries of anti-Semitism and the Nazi Holocaust — with what has basically been one of the last settler colonial states established in the twentieth century?” and, “Can we support Zionism as a national movement when it is grounded not only in finding a safe haven for Jews, but also in racism and the ongoing subjugation and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians?” Rothchild is co-chair of American Jews for a Just Peace, on the coordinating committee of Jewish Voice for Peace Boston, and on the board of the Gaza Mental Health Program.
  • Connections: Links to associated organizations and individuals” include: Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), Sabeel, and Tent of Nations.

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