More than 3,500 people attended the People’s Conference for Palestine in Detroit this weekend — a time for anti-Israel activists to “assess, strategize and prepare for what is required of us in the next phase of [Palestinian National Liberation].

The conference hopes to capitalize on the anti-Israel protests and encampments plaguing college campuses—the same ones causing millions of dollars of property damage, cancelling graduations, even threatening and running Jewish students off school property.

Though activists claim the growing anti-Israel movement is simply a “grassroots” mobilization of individuals, it’s clear that protests are being mobilized and sustained by outside donors.

NYPD Commissioner of Operations Kaz Daughtry speculated student protests had received external funding as early as April 2023, noting the presence of paid protesters and identical equipment at the encampments.

“Look at the tents.” Daughtry told Fox 5 reporters. “They’re all the same type of tents — the ones we saw at NYU are the same as the ones at Columbia. I think someone is funding this.”

Subsequent reporting from The New York Post found protesters at Columbia university received free Dunkin Donuts coffee, expensive sandwiches and even entire rotisseries chickens — hardly the fare of struggling college students.

The Daily Citizen set out to find where this outside funding could be coming from. We uncovered more than fifteen organizations contributing money to five groups directly involved in anti-Israel protests on campuses and in cities across the country.

The following report documents money passed between tracked organizations in the last ten years, revealing a tangled web of money transfers among entities with surprising connections to each other and the anti-Israel movement.

Fiscal Sponsorship

A fiscal sponsor generally provides financial and administrative infrastructure to smaller charities for a fee.

When an organization sponsors multiple groups, it’s nearly impossible to track which donations go to which entities.

On the Ground

This waterfall of money ends with the activist organizations organizing and maintaining anti-Israel protests. These are the groups printing posters, pitching tents, scheduling speakers and posting about protests on social media.

The Daily Citizen tracked five of these “grassroots” groups — but their financial activities were less transparent than their movements online. None of the organizations disclose their donors and several process donations through a fiscal sponsor, making it difficult to trace donations to their source.

Westchester People’s Action Coalition Foundation (WESPAC)

WESPAC is the fiscal sponsor of Students for Justice in Palestine and Within Our Lifetime, two of the most active groups in the anti-Israel protests on college campuses. WESPAC discloses neither its donors nor its donations — donations to the group can only be tracked through donor organizations

Biggest Contributors to WESPAC
  • $504,000 from Elias Foundation between 2016 and 2022
  • $170,000 from Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors between 2021 and 2022
  • $117,700 from Sparkplug Foundation between 2015 and 2022
Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)

SJP is a nationwide network of college chapters responsible for engineering the encampments, which they call “campus Palestine solidarity organizations”, plaguing college campuses.

Columbia banned SJP from campus in November for “threatening rhetoric and intimidation.”

As NGO Monitor notes, SJP’s activities far exceed the money colleges usually give to campus clubs. Some of this extra money likely comes from college donors who request a portion of their contribution go to the SJP. The remainder comes through direct donations processed by WESPAC.

In both cases, the contributions aren’t public.

Within Our Lifetime

This protest group has organized some of most disruptive anti-Israel protests in New York. It’s led by Nerdeen Kiswani, who was banned from Columbia last November after calling for “intifada revolution.” She defied this ban to attend Columbia’s anti-Israel encampment in April.

Education for Just Peace in the Middle East

This is the funding vehicle for U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, according to The Wall Street Journal. Like WESPAC, it neither discloses its donors nor donations.

Biggest Contributors
  • $700,000 from Open Society Foundations between 2018 and 2022.
  • $590,000 from Rockefeller Brothers Fund between 2019 and 2023
  • $60,000 from Grassroots International
U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR)

This protest group purports to “provide resources and strategic support to the U.S.-based Palestinian solidarity movement” — including paying students to protest.

USCPR’s Youth Palestine Organizing Fellowship pays students stipends to aid in the abolition of “white supremacy, settler colonialism and capitalism.” They give priority to candidates who are “ready to build a campaign targeting a government, institutional, or corporate target.”

At least rhree of these fellows — Nidaa Lafi, Craig Birckhead-Morton and Malak Afaneh — spoke at or were arrested after participating in anti-Israel protests on college campuses.

A Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP)

Self-described as the “largest progressive Jewish anti-Zionist organization in the world,” JVP is comprised of 83 local chapters — many of which helped agitate for anti-Israel protests on college campuses.

The group was banned from Columbia for “threatening rhetoric and intimidation” after hosting a “Resistance 101” Zoom session for students, the Post reports. Columbia further expelled one of JVP’s student members for “inviting the leader of a proscribed terrorist group” to speak at the session.

Howard Horowitz, the President of WESPAC, is a member of Westchester’s JVP chapter.

Biggest Contributors
  • $875,000 from Open Society Foundations between 2017 and 2022
  • $490,000 from Rockefeller Brothers Foundation between 2019 and 2024
  • $237,000 from Tides Foundation between 2018 and 2022

Heavy Hitters

The money flowing to “on the ground” activists originate with the heavy hitters — charitable organizations with billions of dollars to spend supporting their interests.

These big players proved difficult to pin down. Most are dark money groups, which means they don’t disclose who donates to them. They rarely make donations to activist organizations directly, preferring to funnel their support through “middlemen” groups instead.

The Daily Citizen connected money from six of these white whales to anti-Israel protests.

Open Society Foundations

This group of charities is funded by billionaire George Soros and controlled by his son, Alexander. Open Society Foundations funneled more than $52 million into the tracked organizations — the largest of all the heavy hitters.

Open Society Foundations’ Biggest Contributions
  • $17.3 million to the Common Counsel Foundation between 2017 and 2021
  • $15 million to the Tides Foundation between 2016 and 2022
  • $14.2 million to the Tides Center between 2016 and 2022
On the Ground

Soros contributed more than $700,000 to Education for Just Peace in the Middle East, which funds the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR). These donations paid USCPR fellows stipends to participate in protests.

Tides Foundation

The grant-making arm of the progressive dark money group Tides Nexus, Tides Foundation has contributed at least $44.7 million to tracked organizations.

Biggest Contributions
  • $39.1 million to Tides Center between 2018 and 2022
  • $1.4 million to Common Counsel between 2018 and 2022
  • $1.4 million to Groundswell Fund between 2018 and 2022
On the Ground

Tablet identifies Tides Nexus “as a major backer of the anti-Israel protest movement across the country.” Accordingly, Tides has appeared in connection with almost every tracked organization.

Tides Center

Tides Center conducts fiscal sponsorships on behalf of Tides Nexus, which means it makes fewer direct contributions to pro-Palestinian organizations than its sister organization. The vast majority of its spending flows back into Tides Foundation.

Biggest Contributions
  • $9.2 billion to Tides Center between 2018 and 2022
  • $102,500 to Peace Development Fund in 2022
  • $42,500 to Groundswell Fund in 2021
On the Ground

Tides Center fiscally sponsors Palestine Legal, an organization dedicated to defending activists facing legal repercussions after standing for “Justice in Palestine.” Between 2018 and 2024, tracked organizations donated $545,000 to Tides Center specifically earmarked for Palestine Legal.

DONOR-ADVISED FUND

Donor-advised funds are charitable accounts people can open through financial institutions. The institution invests money deposited in the account and makes donations to the account owners’ chosen charities.

Donor-advised funds obscure the identity of account owners because all donations are made in the financial institution’s name.

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors is a donor-advised fund “continuing the Rockefeller family’s legacy of thoughtful, effective philanthropy.” Unsurprisingly, the group stewards millions of dollars belonging to scions of the Rockefeller family.

The fund has contributed $36.3 million to tracked organizations.

Biggest Contributions
  • $22.4 million to Tides Center between 2017 and 2022
  • $9.1 million to Groundswell Fund between 2017 and 2022
  • $3.8 million to Tides Foundation between 2018 and 2022
On the Ground

In the last ten years, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors has donated $13.1 million to the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, which directly supports several :on the ground” organizations.

Rockefeller Brothers Fund

A private family foundation flush with money from the Rockefeller dynasty, Rockefeller Brothers Fund has contributed $21.4 million to tracked organizations.

Biggest Contributions
  • $13.1 million to Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors between 2019 and 2024
  • $4.5 million to Tides Foundation between 2019 and 2021
  • $2.3 million to Tides Center between 2019 and 2024
On the Ground

Like the Open Society Foundations, Rockefeller Brothers Fund donates directly to Education for a Just Peace in the Middle East — the funding vehicle for U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights.

Of the $2.3 million it donated to the Tides Center, $515,000 was specifically earmarked for Palestine Legal.

Morgan Stanley Global Impact Funding Trust

This charitable donor-advised fund through Morgan Stanley bank donated $4.4 million to tracked organizations.

Biggest Contributions
  • $3.8 million to Tides Foundation between 2014 and 2021
  • $464,100 to Tides Center between 2016 and 2021
  • $100,000 to WESPAC between 2020 and 2021
On the Ground

The fund is one of the biggest single donors to WESPAC, which sponsors no less than three of the groups orchestrating anti-Israel protests — National Students for Justice in Palestine, U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights and Within Our Lifetime.

Middlemen

Between the “heavy hitters” and the “on the ground” organizations stand the middlemen — organizations that take money from big players and give it to activist organizations.

The six middlemen tracked by the Daily Citizen frequently donate to each other, further obscuring where their money originates.

Common Counsel Foundation

The Common Counsel Foundation endeavors to “resource movements, aligning and increasing the amount of dollars and social leverage going towards community organizing.” It provides both grants and fiscal sponsorships.

Biggest Contributors to Common Counsel Foundation
  • $17.3 million from Open Society Foundations between 2017 and 2022
  • $1.4 million from Tides Foundation between 2017 and 2022
  • $516,000 from Groundswell Fund between 2017 and 2022
Common Counsel Foundation’s Biggest Contributions to Tracked Organizations
  • $740,000 to Groundswell Fund between 2020 and 2022
  • $318,400 to Tides Foundation between 2020 and 2021
  • $172,000 to Tides Center between 2020 and 2021
On the Ground

Common Counsel donated $85,000 to WESPAC between 2020 and 2022. Donations prior to 2020 are not publicly available.

Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

This foundation ostensibly donates to organizations making the Atlanta area “more equitable and prosperous for everyone who calls it home.”

Biggest Contributors
  • $830,000 from Open Society Foundation in 2020
  • $115,000 from Tides Foundation between 2020 and 2022
Biggest Contributions
  • $2.5 million to Tides Centers between 2019 and 2020
  • $1.1 million to Tides Foundation between 2020 and 2022
  • $15,000 to WESPAC in 2020
On the Ground

There is no clear reason for an organization designed to benefit Atlanta to make any of these donations.

With a little over one billion dollars in assets, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta can support local organizations on its own — without donating to a giant like Tides. Tides has no obvious initiatives in Atlanta that would warrant a donation.

It’s even less clear why it would donate to a regional organization in New York for “civil rights/social action/advocacy.” The foundation’s website doesn’t address Palestine nor its donation to WESPAC.

Grassroots International

Grassroots International was founded in 1983 “amid the Israeli invasion of Lebanon,” according to its website — failing to mention that Israel invaded after several cross-border attacks by the Palestinian Liberation Organization.

Today, the group claims to “support liberation struggles in South Africa, Eritrea, the Philippines, and Palestine.”

Biggest Contributors
  • $1.2 million from Tides Foundation between 2018 and 2022
  • $285,000 from Bafrayung Fund between 2018 and 2022
  • $150,000 from Open Society Foundations in 2021
Biggest Contributions
  • $789,000 to Grassroots Global Justice Alliance between 2015 and 2022
  • $193,000 to Tides Center between 2018 and 2022
  • $60,000 to Education for Just Peace in the Middle East between 2021 and 2022
On the Ground

The group disseminates an online toolkit to stop the “genocide” in Gaza, which includes a recommendation for people to assist Students for Justice in Palestine in getting universities to “divest from genocide and apartheid.”

The toolkit  directs people to U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights to find a nearby protest.

Grassroots International further donated $10,000 to WESPAC in 2020.

Groundswell Fund

Groundswell Fund provides “grantmaking, capacity building and fund organization” for movements. The decades-old group claims to be “a leading funder of intersectional organizing across nearly every major social change movement.”

Biggest Contributors
  • $9.1 million from Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors between 2017 and 2022
  • $2.3 million from Open Society Foundations between 2016 and 2022
  • $1.4 million from Tides Foundation between 2018 and 2022
Biggest Contributions
  • $516,000 to Common Counsel Foundation between 2017 and 2022
  • $352,500 to Tides Center between 2017 and 2022
  • $130,000 to Tides Foundation between 2021 and 2022
On the Ground

Groundswell donated $32,500 to WESPAC between 2017 and 2021.

Grassroots Global Justice Alliance

Grassroots Global Justice Alliance describes itself as a “multi-racial, multi-sectoral alliance of more than 60 member organizations” designed to “engage strategically with movements abroad.”

Biggest Contributors
  • $789,108 from Grassroots International between 2015 and 2022
  • $150,000 from Bafrayung Fund between 2020 and 2022
  • $125,000 from Open Society Foundations between 2020 and 2021
Biggest Contributions
  • $21,200 to Grassroots International in 2021
  • $20,000 to Common Counsel in 2021
  • $10,000 to Tides Center in 2019
On the Ground

One of the group’s members is Palestinian Youth Movement — another organization sponsored by WESPAC.

Grassroots Global Justice Alliance endorsed and advertised the People’s Conference for Palestine, the anti-Israel conference held this weekend by Students for Justice in Palestine, Palestinian Youth Movement and several other organizations sponsored by WESPAC.

Peace Development Fund

The Peace Development Fund provides fiscal sponsorships and grants to organizations “funding social justice and peace.”

Biggest Contributors
  • $713,600 from Tides Foundation between 2018 and 2022
  • $594,900 from Open Society Foundations between 2019 and 2021
  • $102,500 from Tides Center in 2022
Biggest Contributions
  • $37,281 to Grassroots International between 2021 and 2022
On the Ground

The Peace Development Fund donated to the Students for Justice in Palestine at Berkley in 2001, though it’s unclear how much it gave.

A statement at the top of the fund’s website supports the anti-Israel student protests, calling them “non-violent” and arguing they have been “misconstrued and met with excessive force.”

Private Funds

Money for anti-Israel protests doesn’t always originate with heavy hitters. The Daily Citizen tracked four private funds contributing an individual or family’s personal fortune to anti-Israel protests. These funds aren’t as wealthy as some of the big players, but they often donate more money directly to “on the ground” organizations.

Bafrayung Fund

The Bafrayung Fund distributes the wealth of Rachel Gelman, one of the heirs to the Levi Strauss fortune. Featured in a New York Times article about “The Rich Kids Who Want to Tear Down Capitalism,” Gelman describes herself as “anticapitalist, anti-imperialist and abolitionist.”

Biggest Contributions
  • $325,000 to Tides Center between 2020 and 2022.
  • $285,000 to Grassroots International between 2018 and 2022
  • $260,000 to Groundswell Fund between 2018 and 2022.
On the Ground

The fund donated $60,000 to WESPAC between 2019 and 2022.

Elias Foundation

The Elias Foundation distributes the fortune of private equity investor James Mann.

Biggest Contributions
  • $504,400 to WESPAC between 2016 and 2022
  • $173,200 to Tides Foundation between 2016 and 2022
  • $17,000 to Grassroots Global Justice Alliance between 2016 and 2022
On the Ground

The Elias Foundation has reportedly been donating to WESPAC since 2006, though donations prior to 2015 are unavailable. The foundation is the largest single donor to WESPAC among the tracked organizations.

In 2018, the foundation gave WESPAC $63,000 to “hire an activist” and another $6,900 go to “training an activist.” These contributions are consistent with one of the Elias Foundation’s “core interests” — “leadership development and activist training.”

Sparkplug Foundation

This foundation distributes the wealth of former Wall Street investment banker Felice Gelman (no apparent relation to Rachel Gelman). Gelman previously served on WESPAC’s Committee for Justice and Peace in the Middle East.

Biggest Contributions
  • $107,700 to WESPAC between 2015 and 2022
  • $25,000 to Palestine Legal (sponsored by Tides Center) between 2018 and 2019
  • $11,500 to A Jewish Voice for Peace between 2014 and 2020
On the Ground

In 2022, Sparkplug donated $20,000 to WESPAC for Student for Justice in Palestine to “create a ‘Students for Justice in Palestine National Network’” and “restructure the student movement to include a representative decision-making body, regional and national communication networks, and shared resources, unifying SJP’s across North America for the first time.”

In the last ten years, Sparkplug has spent an additional $70,000 funding groups that train and pay anti-Israel activists to operate in Palestine and Israel.

Kiblawi Foundation

The Kiblawi Foundation is a private family fund managed by Nada Kiblawi, the child of Palestinian refugees displaced during Israel’s founding. The foundation claims to ”primarily support educational and cultural programs for Palestinian Youth in the refugee camps of Lebanon and Palestine.”

Biggest Contributions
  • $5,000 to Palestine Legal in 2022
  • $500 to WESPAC in 2022
  • $350 to A Jewish Voice for Peace between 2021 and 2022
On the Ground

The Kiblawi Foundation illustrates how independently wealthy, lesser-known families can impact the anti-Israel cause. Though the foundation lacks deep pockets, its donations go entirely to pro-Palestinian — and often anti-Israel — organizations.

Why it Matters

While anti-Israel protests are the most visible part of the growing antisemitism in America, they are far from the root of the problem. Educating ignorant students and sanctioning colleges might be part of the solution — but the anti-Israel movement won’t be stopped until Christians expose its vast network of financial supporters.

If this investigation reveals anything, its that the roots of this wicked movement run deep — planted and protected by some very powerful people.

But the Daily Citizen is far from cowed. We will continue to call attention to those who financially support the anti-Israel movement, because we are to oppose evil in the name of our mighty God.

We encourage you to join us in boldly opposing antisemitism in all its forms — financial or otherwise.

After all, what shall we fear?

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