Network behind eruption of anti-Israel college campus protests revealed in new report

According to the report, certain ‘human rights’ NGOs work to undermine the economic, military, and other ties between the US and Israel.

By Dion J. Pierre, The Algemeiner

Anti-Zionist protests striking US colleges and universities across the country have been the result of “tightly coordinated” efforts backed by the financial power and logistical support of groups linked to terrorist organizations and some of America’s most prestigious philanthropic foundations, according to a new report.

In the wake of the Hamas terror group’s Oct. 7 invasion of southern Israel, the “exponential rise in antisemitic violence, incitement, intimidation, and harassment on and around campuses in the United States is not the product of spontaneous protests of individuals. Rather, they are tightly coordinated and well-funded by a network of radical and often antisemitic nongovernmental organizations,” stated the report by NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based research institute. “Under the guise of human rights and justice, these NGOs work to undermine the economic, military, and other ties between the US and Israel, and to besiege and divide the US Jewish community.”

NGO Monitor noted that all of the groups in question supported and justified the Hamas atrocities of Oct. 7 and that many are linked to designated Palestinian terror organizations.

“A common feature of all these NGOs is non-transparent funding and structure,” added the report, which was released amid an explosion of anti-Israel demonstrations on college campuses amid surging antisemitism since Oct. 7.

Since last week, college students have been amassing in the hundreds at a growing number of schools, taking over sections of campuses by setting up “encampments” and refusing to leave unless administrators condemn Israel and adopt the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to isolate the Jewish state from the international community as a step toward its eventual elimination. Endorsing the BDS movement would entail universities shuttering academic programs linked to Israel, banning Israeli academics from campus, and divesting endowments of any holdings connected to Israel.

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Footage of the protests has shown demonstrators chanting in support of Hamas, calling for the destruction of Israel, and even threatening to harm members of the Jewish community on campus.

“The extremely troubling attacks at some of the most esteemed academic institutions, with protesters openly intimidating Jews on campus and endorsing murder and rape, are deeply concerning,” NGO Monitor president Gerald Steinberg said in a statement accompanying the new report. “Given the gravity of the situation, US authorities must initiate a public and transparent investigation into the groups responsible for antisemitism on university campuses.”

He added, “A central focus must be the secret funding that enables these NGOs and the question as to whether foreign states and terrorist entities are involved in bringing incitement to Ivy League schools and beyond.”

Beyond focusing on Israel and Gaza, the campus demonstrations have been theaters for the airing of antisemitic demagoguery not heard with such apparent mainstream acceptance in the Western world since the rise of the Nazis in Weimar Germany, a series of events which saw students emerge to express solidarity with Adolf Hitler’s vision of a world without Jews. The current students — drawn from organizations such as Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), Within Our Lifetime (WOL), and others — have been filmed calling for not only the killing of Israelis and Jews but also the dissolution of the US government and acts of terror on American soil.

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These organizations have maintained both influential and radical friends, NGO Monitor explained in its new report released on Thursday, noting that JVP — a fringe anti-Israel group that has often joined forces to coordinate events with SJP — has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Other donors to JVP include the Open Society Policy Center and the Kaphan Foundation, among others.

As for SJP, one of its founders, Hatem Bazian, is also a co-founder of American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), an advocacy group that, according to a landmark report last year by the National Association of Scholars (NAS), “retains ties to terrorist groups operating in the Palestinian Territories.” AMP is a growing power player in the US Democratic Party and has led several legislative initiatives aimed at eroding Democratic support for Israel.

NGO Monitor also named in its report Within Our Lifetime, a New York City-based group headed by a former City University of New York (CUNY) student who once threatened to set a Jewish student’s Israel Defense Forces (IDF) sweater on fire while he wore it. Since Oct. 7, WOL has openly cheered Hamas’ atrocities as the “right to resist zionist [sic] settle violence” and “Resistance in all its forms. By any means necessary” — an apparent endorsement of Hamas’ abductions and sexual violence against Israeli women. The group’s funding is a source of mystery; the public cannot freely donate to it because a link to its donation platform, “Donorbox,” is broken, but it is widely believed that the Westchester Peace Action Committee (WESPAC), a nonprofit based in New York, is WOL’s principal funder.

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Another group named in the new report, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR), supports a network of allied groups, including AMP, JVP, and WESPAC. USCPR has received immense financial support from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, which has awarded it at least $355,000 since 2018.

Many of the same groups backing the ongoing protests have also been integral in the growth of the BDS movement. Indeed, a growing alignment of large philanthropic organizations with BDS has been fueling the movement’s growth on American college campuses, as was revealed in the NAS report from last year.

According to NAS’s findings, JVP as of last year had received $480,000 from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, whose endowment was valued at $1.27 billionsince 2017, and the Tides Research Fund, a sponsor of Black Lives Matter, has given the group at least $75,000 since 2019. Between 2014 and 2015 alone, JVP brought in over half a million dollars in grants. Additionally, Palestine Legal, a lawfare group founded in 2012 to support campus BDS groups like SJP, is the beneficiary of generous funding from Tides Foundation, a pioneer of activist investment that has given over $1.5 million to anti-Israel initiatives, according to figures included in the report.

“Saturation of anti-Israel, pro-BDS sentiment on college campuses is a long-term danger to US support for Israel by its simple normalization of demonizing the Jewish state,” NAS said at the time. “Beyond the problem of antsemitism, the importance of academia to the BDS movement’s growth and viability demonstrates the steady erosion of its political neutrality that has taken place over the past two decades.”

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