On October 25, 2010, B’Tselem announced a donation from a group known as “Bubbes and Zaydes for Peace” (BZP); Executive Director Jessica Montell wrote on Twitter, “I don’t know the group but it brought a big smile to my face.”
Due diligence would have revealed that BZP endorses the antisemitic BDS (boycotts, divestment, sanctions) movement and employs the demonizing rhetoric of the Durban strategy – in violation of B’Tselem’s stated principles and growing adoption of ethical guidelines, such as by the New Israel Fund.
NGO Monitor wrote to B’Tselem informing the NGO of BZP’s BDS advocacy and asking whether the donation would be refused. B’Tselem responded that it was “honored to receive [the] contribution.”
1. Letter to Sarit Michaeli, B’Tselem’s spokesperson, asking whether the donation would be refused (October 27, 2010)
2. B’Tselem’s response (October 28, 2010)
3. Follow up from NGO Monitor, noting contradictions in B’Tselem’s reply (November 1, 2010)
Letter to Sarit Michaeli, B’Tselem’s spokesperson, asking whether the donation would be refused (October 27, 2010)
On October 25, Jessica Montell made the following remark on her twitter account: "Just received a donation from Bubbes and Zaydes for Peace in the Middle East. I don’t know the group but it brought a big smile to my face."
Bubbes and Zaydes for Peace is an active member of the Boycott National Committee, the highly inflammatory, anti-Israel BDS movement (http://bdsmovement.net/?q=node/139).
NGO Monitor is preparing a report on this topic and has the following questions:
- Does B’Tselem intend to return this donation?
- What is B’Tselem’s official position on the BDS Movement?
Please respond by November 3.
B’Tselem is honored to receive contributions from Jewish Bubbies and Zaydes (Grandparents) – among others around the world – who support our goal of ensuring that our country lives up to the highest ethical standards.
B’Tselem’s board has explicitly rejected BDS tactics against the State of Israel. We have in the past and will continue to refuse donations from organizations whose aims and activities contradict universal human rights principles.
In February 2010, Elie Klutstein of the NGO Monitor declared in a TV interview that NGO Monitor intends to report on settler NGOs that receive foreign funding from evangelical Christians who yearn for the ultimate destruction of Israel. No such report was issued since. Your correspondence seems to indicate that NGO Monitor deems Jewish Bubbies and Zaides to be a greater threat to Israel than evangelical Christians who foresee an end to the Jewish people.
If you intend to publicize this correspondence, I would expect you to reprint my response in full.
Sarit Michaeli, B’Tselem
Thank you for responding to me, but I’m afraid that your answer provided contradictory information. On the one hand, you claim that you welcome donations from "Bubbes and Zaydes". You also indicate that it is ok to accept donations from anti-BDS groups because in your opinion, they are less of a threat to Israel than "evangelical Christians". On the other hand, you claim that B’Tselem rejects BDS.
Given this contradictory position, could you please clarify whether B’Tselem intends to return its donation from Bubbes and Zaydes for Peace in the Middle East?
Additionally, you claim that "Elie Klutstein of the NGO Monitor declared in a TV interview that NGO Monitor intends to report on settler NGOs that receive foreign funding from evangelical Christians who yearn for the ultimate destruction of Israel." Assuming you are referring to Mr. Klutstein’s appearance on London and Kirschenbaum on February 3, 2010, the transcript clearly shows that your characterization grossly distorts his remarks.