Official probe urged in US of radical Jewish Israeli NGO
JACK GUEZ (AFP)
A Jewish American human rights group is urging US authorities to investigate whether taxpayer dollars are being used to fund Jewish terrorism against Arabs and Palestinians in Israel and the West Bank.
The complaint filed Monday with the New York state Attorney General’s Office was prompted by a recent television expose about the work of Honenu, an NGO which provides legal and financial support to Jews accused of violence against Palestinians. The report by Israel’s Channel 10 News was aired earlier this month in the aftermath of the July 31 firebombing of a Palestinian home in the West Bank village of Duma that killed an 18-month-old boy and his father. The attackers scrawled the Hebrew word for “revenge” at the site of the arson.
According to the complaint, as reported by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Honenu has operated a New York-based fundraising arm. In 2010, the last year for which data is listed, the tax-exempt organization raised $233,700 in the United States.
'Just like PLO, Hamas'
“Honenu is doing exactly what Hamas and the PLO have been criticized for - providing personal support, if not incentives, for those who commit terrorist acts against others,” says the complaint of T’ruah, The Rabbinic Call For Human Rights.
“In the wake of the horrific terrorist bombing that killed an 18-month-old and his father, and left his mother and brother in critical condition, we in the US Jewish community must examine our own responsibility for such crimes,” T’ruah’s executive director, Rabbi Jill Jacobs, told JTA.
“Just as we would be furious to learn of tax-exempt money going to Hamas or ISIS, we must not allow US taxpayers to subsidize money that is given strings-free to members of our own people who are accused or convicted of terror.”
“Soldiers and civilians who find themselves in legal entanglements due to defending themselves against Arab aggression, or due to their love for Israel, have an organization that will come to their aid 24 hours a day,” Honenu says on its website. “In the Arab-Jewish conflict in Israel there are dozens of foreign funded organizations helping our enemies. We are there for those loyal to the Jewish people.”
Among those to whom Honenu has provided legal help, according to a ProPublica report published in July 2014, is Yigal Amir, the assassin of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Honenu’s 2013 budget was approximately $600,000, according to documents obtained by Channel 10. About one-quarter of the money went to lawyers defending individuals on trial for actions against Arabs, and about $50,000 went directly to Jewish prisoners, according to the documents.
The money included about $14,000 for the families of two men who planned the bombing of an Arab girls school in Jerusalem, and some $1,600 to Ami Popper, who murdered seven Palestinians in 1990. Zvi Strock, who received a 2 1/2-year sentence for kidnapping and abusing a Palestinian boy, also received a payout. Strock’s mother, Orit Strock, was a member of Knesset for the Jewish Home party.
Rabbis praise right-wing radicals
Meanwhile, the Ynet web site has learned that the new Sanhedrin movement – an organization that seeks to restore rabbinical law in Israel – has provided support to 11 right-wing extremists recently slapped with restraining orders. "We are happy that you pose as an example and inspiration to religious judges and all of the loyal people of Israel," the movement wrote to the "hilltop youth" (a general term for radicals living in West Bank outposts).
After the evacuation of the illegal outpost of Havat Gilad in 2011, the new Sanhedrin issued a halachic ruling encouraging settlers to attack security forces who came to evacuate the outpost.
"It is a Biblical obligation for every person in Israel to adhere to the Land of Israel, and resist any attempt at displacement with the willingness to give up your life, just as one does when confronted by a non-Jew," they wrote at the time.
Following the administrative detentions of several right wing extremists and the restraining orders imposed on several others in recent weeks, after the arson attack in Duma, the new Sanhedrin issued a statement of support for the radical right wing.
"The Sanhedrin court, which sits on Mount Zion in holy Jerusalem, hereby strengthens your spirits and reduces your sorrow, as you were seized while acting for the respect of God and the nation of Israel, risking your lives for the holiness of the nation and the Land," Rabbis Yisrael Ariel, Daniel Cohen and Yoel Schwartz wrote.
The rabbis who signed the statement are considered very extreme in their views, but they nonetheless receive the support of religious Zionists. Rabbi Ariel, head of the Temple Institute, was formerly on the Kach Knesset list.
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