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October 17, 2003     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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October 17, 2003

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FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, OCTOBER 17, 2003 PAGE 17 ~ Edwin Black 9N, D.C. approximately million annually 13 offices world- of all de- in dozens ofcoun- the foundation, estimated $10 bil- ~ assets, makes some spanning the education, de- justice. process, Ford prac- just as a commercial would, deftly outof pients, in a of funding. A large of that annual phil- is de- it terms "hu- and social jus- is, not to tradi- relief and aid pro- but to advocacy, ac- and agitation. monitors all and materials en- maintains the foundation's communi- rantees also con- requires de- Submissions of printed ;and Web site develop- plans, sometimes two ~re.e times per year. toundation officials aware of the their philanthropy. ~s no easy way to how much money srael and ental orga- or NGOs, actually from Ford. This is or benefits are also through other organizations overseas govern- the 2002 an- the Washing- y Institute Palestinian NGO PNGO, as a"part- 2003, the nstitute brought )f PNGO fellows to "to strengthen capacity." coalition as well as m of de- according to : thatI in stitute's cate that dation in 2000 Insti- kgthen network of Pal- The money Is tallied among a's U.S. grants, ro office. 'later, in August one of the Ups pushing for atthe Conference in Durban, ~Ure, Ford has also million dol- lerican Jewish and .groups. For ex- the past has to the Judaism S program, known as "Seeking Peace, Pursuing Justice," which seeks to mobilize North American Jewry for social justice in Israel. Ford also funds several Is- raeli-based dissident and hu- man rights groups that cam- paign for Palestinian justice. The list includes such Israeli Palestinian rights advocates as B'Tselem, Rabbis for Hu- man Rights and Hamoked. B'Tselem currently re- ceives $250,000 for what Ford databases and reports de- scribe as "monitoring human rights in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, documenting vio- lations, and advocating for policy changes." Rabbis for Human Rights has been granted more than $250,000 for what Ford databases and reports describe as "rabbinically-based educa- tional and organizing activi- ties promoting human rights policies by Israel in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip." Rabbi Arik Ascherman, the group's executive director, said the Ford money has been used to develop a Web site, place newspaper advertising and bring other rabbis to Is- rael to learn about human rights. Last year, Hamoked was granted $300,000 for what Ford's databases and reports describe, in one summary, as "advocacy and legal action to promote human rights of Pal- estinians in the Occupied Territories facing human rights violations by Israeli au- thorities." B'Tselem and Rab- bis for Human Rights, while staunchly advocating for Pal- estinian human fights, have also vocally and publicly con- demned the campaign of Pal- estinian suicide bombings and other terrorism aimed at Israeli civilians. Ascherman spoke favor- ably of Ford, commenting, "Our experience with Ford has been very positive." He also said that, while "it would be wrong for a funder orga- nization to have a heavy- handed thumb editing," in general, grant makers should "ensure the funds are spent for the goals they support, and I would like to think the goals of the Ford Foundation do not include anti- Semitism." "We at Rabbis for Human Rights obviously ab- hor anti-Zionist organiza- tions and anti-Semitism," said Rabbi Brian Walt of the group's North American branch. The Ford Foundation also funds the Washington-based New Israel Fund for its ac- tivities supporting and pro- moting social change in Is- rael. Since 1988, the Ford Foundation has provided more than $5 million to the New Israel Fund, a coalition of Israelis, North Americans and Europeans seeking to promote human rights and justice issues in Israel. Ford has just announced it would increase its funding to "peace and social justice groups" in Israel through the New Israel Fund with a $20 million five-year grant to be administered by a joint Ford- NIF enterprise. Aaron Back, Ford's former program officer for Israel, will oversee the new fund- ing. The money is designed to "increase our funding in Is- rael and help build the ca- pacity of civic organizations vital to strengthening its de- mocracy," according to Ford's president, Susan Berresford. The move will shift future grant-making from Ford of- rices in New York to the New Israel Fund. It is not yet clear which groups will receive money from the donor-ad- vised fund. The overwhelming major- ity of Ford's monies for the Middle East are granted to pro-Palestinian and Islamic rights groups. The list extends for pages. For example, last year, them Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza received $100,000 for what Ford data- bases and reports describe as "community-based advocacy work on economic, social and cultural rights in Gaza." The Al Mezan Center works closelywith the International Solidarity Movement, which stages civil disobedience ac- tions to obstruct Israeli se- curity forces operating in the territories. The center also operates a Web site, at, that seeks to document alleged Israeli atrocities and violations of international law, and that also denounces Israel's war against the Islamic funda- mentalist group Hamas. A recent typical Al Mezan Center news release began, "The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have blatantly escalated their aggression against Palestinian civilians in the OPT during the last week." A! Mezan is one of the many Palestinian NGOs that refer to the Israeli Defense Forces as Israeli Occupation Forces. OPT is its abbrevia- tion for "occupied Palestin- ian territories." Augmenting its Ford funding, Al Mezan also receives funding from the Swiss Agency for Devel- opment and Cooperation, the International Commission of Jurists in Sweden, the U.N. High Commissioner for Hu- man Rights, and several other U.N. and European Commu- nity sources. A second Palestinian agency, operating under the name Health, Development, Information and Policy In- stitute, received one $60,000 Ford grant under "Media Arts and Culture," plus a second award for $75,000 under "Sexuality and Reproductive Health." The institute oper- ates an incitement Web site,, dedicated to mobilizing world action against Israel and Zionism. Its main page offers recommended activ- ism. @For example, a page on the site, as of mid-August, sub-headlined "How can you take action for the Palestin- ian cause?" offered two Pal- estinian links, one of which is: "Boycott Israeli Goods." Clicking on that link leads to another site,, which includes a list of American companies to be boycotted for doing business in Israel, including Johnson & Johnson, Disney and Starbucks. In mid-August, Palestine Monitor's own "Activism" page offered enthusiastic coverage of a September 2002 attempt by pro-Palestinian protesters to enter Cater Washington way premises for the purpose of serving a so-called citizens- arrest warrant for "war crimes" related to selling bulldozers to Israel. A third entity, the Jerusa- lem Media and Communica- tion Centre, recently received three grants totaling $365,000 to create what Ford databases and reports de- scribe as "media services for the foreign press and a weekly electronic magazine," as well as "enhancement of media activities related to the crisis situation." The center pub- lishes "The Palestine Report," which can be found at www.palestinereport,org. This Web site employs dra- matic imagery and testimony to portray Israel as an apart- heid state guilty of war 'crimes, violations of inter- national law and repeated massacres. As of early October, one of the center's main Web site features was a clickable sec- tion entitled "From Revolu- tion to Revolution," which "focuses on internal Pales- tinian politics, l:olitical strengths and cracks in the armor of unity." A promi- nent "Resources" list links to the Web sites of six Pales- tinian factions. Several of them are listed by the State Department as terrorist groups, including the People's Front for the Lib- eration of Palestine, Islamic Jihad and Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement. When the Jerusalem Media and Communications Centre was asked whether other or- ganizations could be listed as well, an official explained, "We only link to the biggest and best organizations." A State Department spokesman for the Near East Affairs bureau who viewed "The Palestine Report" and its link pages to terrorist sites declared, "I am uncomfortable with the fund- ing of this site and especially these links--very uncomfort- able." Yehudit Barsky, direc- tor of the American Jewish Committee's division on Middle East and international terrorism, added, "I think this demonstrates that we in the United States have not paid attention--foundations can be used in a way no one can imagine. Here we see a Web site promoting terrorist or- ganizations. The Ford Foun- dation just did not care." Dur- ing this investigation, Wilde, the Ford Foundation commu- nications vice president, re- fused to answer any questions regarding PNGO, the Policy Institute, the Jerusalem Me- dia and Communications Centre or any other aspect of the foundation's involvement with Palestinian NGOs. Nor would Thea Lurie, the foundation's deputy media director, or media associate Joe Voeller. But in a six-page written response to questions that the foundation released only after this investigation was completed, Wilde said: "We are a grant making organiza- tion. We support grantees for agreed-upon activities and do not dictate what they should say." The statement also said: "Our human rights work re- flects a commitment to prin- ciples that go beyond parti- sanship and politics, to basic rights and protections that human beings possess by vir- tue y of being born." 9 Q During a visit to Ford's head- investigates corporate phil- quarters in New York, foun- anthropic involvement in dation officials brushed off American and Nazi eugen- questions about anti-Israel ics. In May 2003, he won the agitation. Quipped one se- American Society ofJournal- nior Ford official: "Anti-Zi- ists and Authors' award for onism is in the eye of the best book oftheyearforhis beholder." previous book, "IBM and the Edwin Black is the author Holocaust" (Crown Publish- of the newly released "War ing, 2001). Against the Weak: Eugenics The remainder of this JTA and America's Campaign to investigative series on Ford Create a Master Race" (Four Foundation funding can be Walls Eight Windows), which readinnextweek's"Heritage." 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