Tax-exempt US group sends western Jews to Israeli settlements

Nefesh b’Nefesh is an organization that is tax-exempt in the US that woks to help implant US-origined and European-origined Jews as settlers in Israel’s illegal settlements in the West Bank.
Big kudos to Mairav Zonszein for writing about NBN in The Nation today.
Zonszein co-publishes the relatively new Ibn Ezra blog with Joseph Dana. The two of them are American-Israeli activists in the great Ta’ayush (‘Coexistence’) organization.
Dana has also posted a good 5-minute video of some interviews the two of them conducted during a recent NBN arrival ceremony at Ben Gurion airport, here. To really understand it, you need to know which of the place-names the NBN people they interview are inside Israel, and which are settlements. Many of the destinations mentioned for NBN-sponsored immigrants are indeed in the occupied West Bank.
Somebody here in the US needs to seriously challenge NBN’s tax-exempt status! On this page on their website they brag about the close relationship they have with the Government of Israel.
Including this:

    Nefesh B’Nefesh is the sole NGO that has authority to certify Proof of Residency for the Bituach Leumi (National Insurance Institute) and is deputized to utilize a portable passport control scanner for the Israel Border Police.

How on earth can an organization like this claim to be “non-political”? And why should I and other US taxpayers be giving a tax break to an organization that is openly defying both international law and our government’s firmly articulated policy regarding expansion of the settler population?

6 thoughts on “Tax-exempt US group sends western Jews to Israeli settlements”

  1. Yet private organizations in the United States continue to raise tax-exempt contributions for the very activities that the government opposes.

    There’s nothing illegal about the charitable contributions to pro-settlement organizations, which are documented in filings with the Internal Revenue Service. They’re similar to tax-exempt donations made to thousands of foreign organizations around the world through groups that are often described as “American friends of” the recipient.

    But critics of Israeli settlements question why American taxpayers are supporting indirectly, through the exempt contributions, a process that the government condemns. A search of IRS records identified 28 U.S. charitable groups that made a total of $33.4 million in tax-exempt contributions to settlements and related organizations between 2004 and 2007.

    “This is an issue that has not gotten the attention it deserves,” said Ori Nir, a spokesman for Americans for Peace Now, a lobbying group that opposes settlements. “I don’t know how many people, including in the U.S. government, realize the extent of private American funding to settlements. . . . Every dollar that goes to settlements makes Middle East peace that much harder to reach.”

    A Tax Break Fuels Middle East Friction
    Gush Shalom said that in the second stage of the campaign, it will focus on the financing mechanisms of mainstream organizations such as… the Jewish National Fund and the World Zionist Organization, which are also active in the West Bank.
    How to donate properly to an Israeli ministry via a tax-exempt U.S. charity

  2. The Biden and Clinton Mutinies
    The great danger to Obama posed by Biden’s and Clinton’s “time bombs” (a precisely correct description if we call them political, not diplomatic time bombs) is not international confusion and ridicule over what precisely are the US government’s policies, but a direct onslaught on his presidency by a domestic Israeli lobby that is so out of control that it renders ridiculous Obama’s puny attempt to stop settlements–or to curb Israeli aggression in any other way.
    Biden headed for Ukraine and Georgia, harshly ridiculing Russia as an economic basket case with no future. In Tbilisi he told the Georgian parliament that the U.S. would continue helping Georgia “to modernize” its military and that Washington “fully supports” Georgia’s aspiration to join NATO and would help Tbilisi meet the alliance’s standards. This elicited a furious reaction from Moscow, pledging sanctions against any power rearming Georgia.
    Georgia could play a vital, enabling role, in the event that Israel decides to attack Iran’s nuclear complex. The flight path from Israel to Iran is diplomatically and geographically challenging. On the other hand, Georgia is perfectly situated as the take-off point for any such raid. Israel has been heavily involved in supplying and training Georgia’s armed forces. President Saakashvili has boasted that his Defense Minister, Davit Kezerashvili and also Temur Yakobashvili , the minister responsible for negotiations over South Ossetia, lived in Israel before moving to Georgia, adding “Both war and peace are in the hands of Israeli Jews.”
    On the heels of Biden’s shameless pandering in Tbilisi, Secretary of State Clinton took herself off to Thailand for an international confab with Asian leaders and let drop to a tv chat show that “a nuclear Iran could be contained by a U.S. ‘defense umbrella,’” actually a nuclear defense umbrella for Israel and for Egypt and Saudi Arabia too.
    The Israel lobby has been promoting the idea of a US “nuclear umbrella” for some years, with one of its leading exponents being Dennis Ross, now in charge of Middle Eastern policy at Obama’s National Security Council. In her campaign last year Clinton flourished the notion as an example of the sort of policy initiative that set her apart from that novice in foreign affairs, Barack Obama.
    I don’t believe that Barack Obama is the poor lamb that he is absent-mindedly betrayed as here. He knows exactly what’s going on.
    Bush III is playing the Good Cop, to Biden’s and Clinton’s Bad Cops.

  3. if they are tax excempt and yet part of the plan to genocide the palestinians, maybe this should be made known to those who grant such status!
    Or are they somehow excempt?
    another reason to shake ones head at what the US has become!

  4. Our Swiss foreign minister, Micheline Calmy-Rey has met with Hillary Clinton on the 31th of July. Lately, due to the UBS story, relations between our two countries have been tense. Of course inspite of what the report says, UBS was probably on the agenda. But the two foreign ministers also discussed other things (Switzerland for instance represents US interests in Iran, since the US has no ambassy in Iran). But our foreign minister also intended to talk about international relationships and regional conflicts resolution. The website of HC has a video and several pictures of this meeting.
    Here is an extract of what Clinton said at the press conference :
    Our first meeting was in Geneva. At that time, we discussed a broad range of issues, and today, we will, of course, be doing the same, both bilateral as well as regional and global.
    We’re very grateful to the Swiss Government for the role that they play representing us in countries like Iran, serving to mediate longstanding issues between countries like Armenia and Turkey. And so we really welcome the involvement and support that the Swiss Government gives to so many important causes around the world.
    Personnally, I find it weird that Clinton alludes to the Turkey/Armenian mediation (about which almost nobody here in Switzerland has heard), but not to the Israelo-Palestinian conflict, knowing that Micheline Calmi-Rey has it at heart and supports the Geneva Accord Peace Plan. Before the trip, our newspapers clearly stated that Micheline Calmy-Rey intended to treat the subject with Hillary Clinton. The fact that HC avoided any public allusion to the Israelo-Palestinian conflict is not a very good sign, IMO.
    Anyway, to day is national feast here and no newspapers are issued, so it’s difficult to know whether there has been talks concerning the Israelo-Palestinian conflict as well. For the moment attention is more focalized on the UBS story.
    This is the website dedicated to the Geneva Accords Peace Plan.
    Their last news btw is that a part of the Security annexe of the plan, recently discussed, has been revealed by Yediot Ahronot. What strikes me is that second this report, the main Palestinian partners were “the moderates”, aka people around Abbas. It is interesting to put that in perspective with the recent declaration of Micheline Calmy-Rey concerning Hamas being an unavoidable interlocutor for any peace plan and the subsequent strong reaction of Israel diplomacy through Yigal Palmor (a foreign ministry spokesman). Yet, Ygal Palmor, the same Ygal Palmor, who bashed the Swiss government for Al’Zahar’s recent visit in Geneva, seems to welcome the content of the Security Annexe :
    Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor welcomed the move, but emphasized it was not binding.
    “These people don’t hold any official positions so they represent only themselves and they commit only themselves and their organization to this document,” he told dpa.

    “If anyone wants to make a contribution to peace they are welcome, they are more than welcome,” he said. “Not only there is no harm in this, it is certainly a positive initiative to try and think seriously about possible ideas and how to make peace.”
    Seems that as usual, the Israeli are ready to discuss only if they can choose their interlocutors.

  5. Best wishes to you and all your compatriots on your national day, Christiane!
    Switzerland has been playing a great role in opening up channels of constructive communication between people who regard many of each other’s actions with horror– e.g., the US and Hamas, the US and the Egyptian MB, etc. Thank you, Swiss friends!
    Ah, about the Geneva Initiative I’m not so sure, though. It was a useful exercise at a certain time and maybe produced some good ideas (though honestly, not many that were actually new.) But it was between individuals VERY close to the PA on the one side, and people very FAR from having any influence on the government of Israel, on the other. Plus, it incorporated a lot of big concessions from the Palestinian side that I don’t think anywhere like a majority of Palestinians could support.
    The recently released content of some of the security annex to it indicated the depth of these concessions. An Israelis-only ‘fast road’ between Modiin and Jerusalem? Why? How is that different from the present practices of the occupation? Why reward the settlers of Modi’in in this way? Etc., etc…

  6. I know it’s fun to think that the Government should be reviewing the tax-exempt status of groups. During the Bush administration I did read some articles that some churches known for liberal leaning were investigated. I never read a follow to know if it was true but my opinion is that if we are going to have a tax-except status it is not for the government to question. (Unless the suspicion is a cover for criminal activity, like gangs have frequently used).
    If we want to live in a free country, and I do. Then the tax-exempt status is going to be abused and except for extreme cases it’s something we need to live with.

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