Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal is investigating charges made by NGO Monitor that an aid organization supported by the Dutch government funds The Electronic Intifada, a virulently anti-Semitic website run by Ali Abunimah, a close confidant of Barack Obama.
The Dutch government has been funding the Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation, a Dutch aid organization that finances the Electronic Intifada website that, NGO Monitor told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday, is anti-Semitic and frequently compares Israeli policies with those of the Nazi regime.
NGO Monitor’s exposure of Dutch government funding for the Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation (ICCO) prompted Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal to say on Thursday, “I will look into the matter personally. If it appears that the government subsidized NGO ICCO does fund Electronic Intifada, it will have a serious problem with me.”
That government funding amounted to €124 million in 2008. The European Commission also funds ICCO.
Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor, said, “This type of poisonous activity is precisely why European government funding of NGOs requires close oversight and full transparency.”
“Based on our experience, we assume that the top Dutch government officials are completely unaware of the link between money given to ICCO for aid, and Electronic Intifada, a group whose rhetoric and activities undermine hopes for mutual understanding.”
Of course, the European Commission isn’t going to look into why they’re funding The Electronic Intifada. For the most part, it reflects the European elite’s point of view. And some people are still arguing over whether comparing Israel to Nazis is sufficient to make EI anti-Semitic.
NGO Monitor told the Post that “EI executive director Ali Abunimah is a leader in delegitimization and demonization campaigns against Israel. In his travels and speaking engagements, facilitated by Electronic Intifada’s budget, he calls for a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and routinely uses false apartheid rhetoric.”
“Abunimah also equates Israel to Nazi Germany, comparing the Israeli press to Der Stürmer, referring to Gaza as a ‘ghetto for surplus non-Jews,’ and claiming that ‘Zionism is not atonement for the Holocaust, but its continuation in spirit.’” NGO Monitor criticized ICCO’s employment of Mieke Zagt, who is “the ICCO official directing the funding to EI,” a “former employee of Amnesty International’s Middle East division, and a vocal proponent of BDS herself.” BDS is the abbreviation for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel.
Marinus Verweij, who became chairman of ICCO’s executive board earlier this month, wrote the Post on Thursday, “Electronic Intifada was launched in February 2001. It publishes news, commentary, analysis and reference materials about the Israeli-Palestinian situation… It has become an important source of information from the occupied Palestinian territories. Newspapers such as The Washington Post and the Financial Times have frequently used material from the Electronic Intifada.”
He continued, “The rights of Palestinian people to a decent way of living are central in the news brought by the EI. The EI reports frequently about the violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by the State of Israel. In no way is the EI anti-Israel or anti-Semitic.”
However, without losing a beat, an article has appeared on the ISM affiliated website Electronic Intifada (EI) by one of its co-founders, Ali Abunimah, in which Abumimah recounts his close past working relationship with Obama prior to the presidential campaign and how Abunimah believes Obama is merely giving lip service to the Jewish community to get elected, and that once in office he will work for the Palestinian cause. Abunimah lists himself and is mentioned in subsequent Obama articles in the mainstream press merely as a “Palestinian activist.” Abunimah insists that Obama will “come around” once elected.
But Ali Abunimah is more than just some “Palestinian activist” based in Chicago, the same location as Reverend Wright and the Trinity United Church of Christ. He is, in fact, one of the founders of the fiercely anti-Semitic ISM Arab group Al Awda, the Palestine Right of Return Coalition. Abunimah is a high level international leader of the ISM for the Arabs who travels extensively between Chicago, Europe and Ramallah.
Al Awda in Arabic means “The Return,” and the group not only calls for the complete destruction of Israel, even denying Israel’s current existence on its website and urging boycotts against not only Israelis, but American Jews and their businesses, but also calls for specifically supporting Arab terrorists in Iraq who kill US soldiers. Among its more than 130 chapters across the US and Canada, Al Awda’s New Jersey chapter is led by a young woman named Charlotte Kates who has called Israeli children killed by suicide bombers “fair game.” The ISM’s Al Awda openly supports terrorism as “legitimate resistance” in ISM revolutionary lingo.
Al Awda’s anti-Semitism has also linked to neo-Nazi groups in promoting the boycott and divestment from Israel on American campuses and in the US business community. It became so virulent that the group was booted by the UC Riverside campus administration from holding an international conference on that campus last year. Ali Abunimah, even today, is featured on the Al Awda website supporting terrorism against Israelis because he considers that “nonviolence is overrated.” In short, Obama saw no problem being lobbied in the past by someone who openly promotes terrorism and discrimination against Jewish-Americans.
But Obama’s association with the ISM through his church and lobbying in Chicago goes even deeper than just his past links to Al Awda and Ali Abunimah. His pastor, Jeremiah Wright, and the Trinity Union Church of Christ in Chicago, are both equally involved with the ISM.
Since 2001, the ISM has been tasked by the PLO and other Arab irredentist groups with getting new generations of American college kids to consider democratic Israel as somehow a violator of human rights, all the while as the Palestinian Arabs who practice open anti-Semitism, honor killings, and the murders of their own people as well as Jews, as commendable practices. At their 2003 national organizing conference at Ohio State, ISM activists set out to deconstruct American narratives about Israel as a democratic state with firm support from secular radical Americans of Jewish ancestry. In one workshop set up to discuss ways to put a good face on suicide bombings, ISM activists spoke of new ways of reinterpreting the Bible so Israel did not belong to the Jews, but to the Palestinians.
In working with the Saudi funded Muslim Students Association in campuses across the US, the ISM has managed to cloud the image among American youth through disinformation and propaganda campaigns against Jews and Israel in order to try and make American students believe Israel is an apartheid state like South Africa was in the 1980s. At the same time, these same Palestinian groups like Al Awda insist the West Bank and Gaza must be Jew-free. Since this campaign has been largely successful in organizing anti-Israel attitudes on campuses all over America, and since Jewish organizations in America have been slow to react, the ISM moved on to another program to do the same thing only this time alienating US churches, particularly evangelical churches that have a long-term sense of Biblical support for the Jewish state. Thus was born the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theological Society created as part of the ISM to do in US churches what various ISM groups succeeded to do in American colleges.
At the same time, a foothold already existed to a small degree in the American black religious community such as is led by Louis Farrakhan.
Read the whole thing. If only more people had read it in April 2008….