Naftali BalansonClick for full article.


In an April 11 opinion piece, Maya Haber of Partners for Progressive Israel asks, “Why did Goldman Sachs Charitable Gift Fund grant $18,000 to the Hebron Fund?”. There is a simple answer to this question: because in 2012, a current or retired employee of Goldman Sachs wanted to, and the Fund acceded to his or her request

Beyond this answer, though, lies a fundamental distinction between how private individuals and donor-advised charities disburse grants as opposed to the role of governments in funding non-governmental organization (NGOs) such as the Hebron Fund among many others.

…Jewish Voice for Peace, an American organization leading efforts to delegitimize Israel, promote BDS (boycotts, divestment, sanctions) campaigns, and inject anti-Zionist views into the public sphere, relies heavily on these private contributions. Although JVP is non-transparent about its donors, NGO Monitor has identified a variety of financial gifts coming directly from private individuals and funds.

One of the biggest such private charitable funds to fund JVP is the Schwab Charitable Fund, founded by the financial giant, Charles Schwab Corporation. From 2012-2014, SCF gave JVP $448,700, more than 15% of the grant money received by JVP during that period.

At the same time, private funding per se is hardly extraordinary and is channeled widely to diverse groups politically active in the Arab-Israeli conflict  More broadly speaking, in democracies around the world, individuals are allowed to donate to causes they care for, be they political, environmental, or otherwise. So long as donors and recipients act in line with the laws and regulations of their respected countries, these contributions strengthen the democratic principle of civil involvement.

In sharp contract, the magnitude and scale of the financial and political support provided by European governments to NGOs advancing only one, narrow agenda in the conflict, is unique.

This type of funding is fundamentally different than the charitable giving of private citizens around the world. Whereas individuals exercise their own personal freedom by contributing to an NGO, governments are expected to respect diplomatic processes and the sovereign decisions of fellow democracies. Government funding for political advocacy in foreign countries represents a gross manipulation of this basic principle of international relations.