Defund Racism Research
The Campaign to Defund Racism is a Palestinian-led movement to end the use of ‘charitable’ funds raised in the United States to carry out the mission of Israeli settler and fascist organizations. It aims to uncover wrongful acts being funded by these organizations through the use of their charitable status, stop the exploitation of US charitable systems and change the laws that fund settler extremism and violence, and as a result, the subjugation and displacement of Palestinian communities and other oppressed groups.
In response to this national call from Palestine, several organizations and individuals, across several states, have formed a working coalition to develop and execute strategies to achieve the goals of the campaign.
The objectives of the research are to provide evidence and content for the legal and political strategies laid out by the coalition. The legal goal of the campaign is to revoke the charitable status of US-based charities that fund the settler organizations. The political goals of the campaign include exposing the violence of these organizations to ultimately stop the financing of the settler movement.
Compiling an organized database of evidence of the Israeli organizations’ activities that are illegal under US and Israeli law will be an essential component of the campaign. Ultimately, we aim to present a comprehensive summary of the research to state Attorneys General and any other US officials in the form of public complaints against each target settler organization.
Scope of research
The research should target the following Israeli-based organizations: Regavim, Israel Land Fund, Ir David, Ateret Cohanim, the Hebron Fund (*NGO Monitor, Kohelet Policy Forum). The primary focus of the research should be on infractions related to US and Israeli laws, specifically that of charitable regulations, with a secondary focus on actions that may not be illegal, but clearly are morally wrong. This should include documenting the relationships between these organizations and Israeli political parties and/or state projects, particularly any campaign contributions or statements in support of political parties and/or candidates. The project should document violations of international law, including the direct financing of paramilitary behavior and settlements. This should include the following: evidence of racial discrimination, activities that are a deviation from their stated charitable purposes (as stated on their articles of incorporation), criminal activities, improper personal benefit of board members, and programs that have impacted private property – such as taking land for the establishment of Israeli settlements. Finally, the research should support a narrative of the moral implications of the use of US charitable monies by the aforementioned organizations. The scope of the research may be revisited and developed throughout the process.
While there will be inevitable intersections and overlaps between the various targets, the research should be organized by organization. The data shall be housed within the Defund Racism Google Drive for continual access. Research should be organized in accordance with the relevant categories: US charitable law, Israeli charitable law, US and Israeli law other than charitable, International Law, and political content. While each of these research fields play a critical role, the investigation should focus more on US and Israeli law infractions, especially those that are only available via the Israeli government or in Hebrew.
Restrictions and confidentialities
The contents of the report will only be disseminated as decided by the Campaign to Defund Racism coalition. For that reason we expect that this research is the sole and exclusive property of the Good Shepherd Collective and members of the campaign. Any release of information should be done in coordination with the campaign.
Ultimately the research will produce a series of reports on each of the target organizations. Each report should be compiled within the aforementioned legal and political framework. The reports shall be delivered by the organization. We will identify one target organization to start with, so that feedback and lessons-learned can be incorporated in the research of subsequent organizations. All the material should be referenced with copies of original sources, including those in Hebrew, included.
Researcher: Shir Hever
An independent economic researcher and a journalist at the Real News Network. His research topics include:
- Privatization of security
- Global arms trade
- Israeli arms trade and security sector
- The economic aspect of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory
- International aid to the Palestinians and to Israel
Shir Hever holds a Ph.D from the Free University of Berlin. His most recent book, based on his Ph.D dissertation, is titled The Privatization of Israeli Security (Pluto Press, 2017).
- Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in Nahost (board member) – a Jewish German organization promoting just peace in Israel/Palestine. The organization is a member of the EJJP: European Jews for Just Peace.
- Alternative Information Center, a joint Palestinian-Israeli organization active in Jerusalem and Beit Sahour.