Representatives from the radical Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP) and Israel Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), NIF- and EU-funded NGOs, respectively, participated in a May 12 anti-Israel divestment rally in Brussels. The event featured an antisemitic episode, when one rally leader drank fake blood out of a wine glass – an apparent reference to the libel of Jews drinking Christian blood as wine – to highlight Israel’s alleged brutality.(Photos of the blood drinking at the rally are here.)
The target of the rally was Dexia, a bank with an Israeli subsidiary.
The use of the ugly blood libel motif – codified as antisemitic by Europe’s rights monitoring agency – raises important questions about the relationship between the BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions) Movement and antisemitism.
It also raises questions about accountability in NGO funding: Are the EU and NIF aware that their grantees are associated with such offensive displays?
Aside from the blood libel, for New Israel Fund (NIF), CWP’s appearance at the divestment rally is also problematic. NIF has claimed it “never funded groups that call for divestment” and that “no amount of our money is permitted for use of projects that promote BDS [Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions].”
Yet, Esti Micenmacher of CWP and “Who Profits?” – a divestment project created and run by CWP – was a prominent participant in the rally. In this video, Micenmacher tells the crowd: “We are one of the few groups who support divestment” (translated from the original French).
Indeed, BDS and demonization of Israel are a major part of the work of CWP – which received $285,509 from NIF from 2006-2008. CWP recently encouraged support for the UC Berkeley and UC San Diego divestment campaigns. In its annual report, CWP highlighted its successful appeal to the Norwegian National Pension Fund to divest from Israeli corporations “involved in the occupation,” used “apartheid” rhetoric, and even called for prosecution (lawfare) of Israeli officials. “Who Profits?” also has launched similar divestment efforts in the UK.
In contrast to NIF’s claims about not funding BDS, donors for “Who Profits?” are instructed to “Make out a check to ‘New Israel Fund,’ write in the memo line ‘for the Coalition of Women for Peace – Who Profits Project’” to contribute a tax deductible donation in the United States, the UK, or Switzerland. (See NGO Monitor’s detailed research on NIF Funding of groups engaging in BDS, demonization, and lawfare against Israel.)