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Links Between Hamas Financiers and Anti-Israel Boycotters Draw Further Scrutiny

The links between Hamas financiers and the leadership of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign have continued to draw scrutiny since they were first exposed during a congressional testimony last week.

Jonathan Schanzer, the vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, testified at a joint hearing before two House Foreign Affairs subcommittees last Tuesday that leaders of now-defunct organizations that raised funds for Hamas have since “gravitated to a new organization called American Muslims for Palestine (AMP).”

“[At] least seven individuals who work for or on behalf of AMP have worked for or on behalf of organizations previously shut down or held civilly liable in the United States for providing financial support to Hamas: the Holy Land Foundation, the Islamic Association for Palestine, and KindHearts,” said Schanzer.

AMP is a “leading driver of the BDS campaign” and “arguably the most important sponsor and organizer for Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which is the most visible arm of the BDS campaign in campuses in the United States,” Schanzer added. “AMP provides speakers, training, printed materials, a so-called ‘Apartheid Wall,’ and grants to SJP activists. AMP even has a campus coordinator on staff whose job is to work directly with SJP and other pro-BDS campus groups across the country. According to an email it sent to subscribers, AMP spent $100,000 on campus activities in 2014 alone.”

On Tuesday, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Bret Stephens wrote in the Wall Street Journal (Google link) that SJP “has more than 100 chapters nationwide and has been canny in pairing itself with left-wing or minority student organizations to sponsor anti-Israel events, heckle pro-Israel speakers, and agitate for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) resolutions on campus.”

“SJP’s self-declared goal is to end Israel’s ‘occupation and colonization of all Arab lands’ while ‘promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes,'” Stephens noted. “That’s another way of saying destroying the Jewish state.” And while FDD’s research found “no evidence of illicit activity” by AMP, Stephens pointed out that “it’s worth thinking about who these people are and the politics they support.”

Stephens’ observations echoed those of Jonathan Tobin, the senior online editor of Commentary, who wrote last Wednesday that students who support SJP and the BDS campaign “ought to wonder about the fact that their efforts are often being funded by a group staffed by veteran Islamists who support Hamas’ platform that aims at not merely destroying the state of Israel but massacring its population.”

Jeff Robbins, a former U.S. delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Council, similarly argued on Monday that the “move from funding Hamas to BDS has hardly meant a dramatic career change for those involved. Hamas’ charter states that ‘our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious,’ and calls for Israel’s obliteration.”

Numerous leaders of the BDS campaign have publicly called for Israel’s destruction, with BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti, an opponent of the two-state solution, saying in 2014 that Palestinians have a right to “resistance by any means, including armed resistance,” and leading activist As’ad Abu Khalil acknowledging in 2012 that “the real aim of BDS is to bring down the state of Israel.”

study published in March by the AMCHA Initiative found a strong correlation between the occurrence of anti-Semitic incidents on American college campuses and the presence of activity related to the BDS campaign.

A bipartisan congressional task force for combating anti-Semitism, which was launched in March 2015, has asked the Obama administration to address the increasing number of reports of such anti-Semitic and anti-Israel intimidation on college campuses. The group sent a letter (.pdf) to U.S. Education Secretary John King earlier this month inquiring as to what his department was doing to address these issues. The signatories explained that “anti-Semitic intimidation, harassment, and discrimination are manifested not only in easily recognizable anti-Semitic slurs but also in anti-Semitism masked as anti-Israel and anti-Zionist sentiment.” The letter was signed by the 38 members of the task force, which is chaired by Reps. Nita Lowey (D – N.Y.), Chris Smith (R – N.J.), Eliot Engel (D – N.Y.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R – Fla.), Kay Granger (R – Texas), Steve Israel (D – N.Y.), Peter Roskam (R – Ill.), and Ted Deutch (D – Fla.).

[Photo: Mike Report ]