JVP–Chicago to Jewish United Fund: “Defund Islamophobia”

MEDIA ADVISORY
CONTACT: Michael Deheeger, Jewish Voice for Peace | michael@jewishvoiceforpeace. org

JVP–Chicago to Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago: “Defund Islamophobia”

Jewish Voice for Peace–Chicago calls on Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago (JUF) to cut ties with anti-Muslim groups. New report reveals over $700K in donations from JUF to Islamophobia network groups from 2011-2014

Chicago, IL (March 23, 2017) – At a press conference at 10 AM today at 30 S. Wells Street, Jewish Voice for Peace – Chicago will call on the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago (JUF) to cut ties with anti-Muslim hate groups and announce the release of a report detailing these ties. Speakers will include Lesley Williams and Stephanie Skora of Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago and Hatem Abudayyeh of the US Palestinian Community Network.

As detailed in a report released today, a review of the JUF’s 2011-2014 Form 990 filings reveals that the Jewish United Fund:

  • Contributed $683,750 through its donor-advised funds to organizations identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “anti-Muslim fearmongers:” Daniel Pipes’ Middle East Forum, and Steven Emerson’s Investigative Project on Terrorism.
    Contributed $100,000 to Donors Trust, a funder of both these organizations.
  • Received $5.1 million from Donors Trust affiliate Donors Capital Fund. Donors Trust/Donors Capital Fund is identified as a key funder of the Islamophobia network by the Center for American Progress.
  • These organizations are members of what the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as a “group of propagandists…at the center of what is a large and evolving network of Islam-bashing activists” which spreads the Islamophobic ideologies that enable promotion of anti-Muslim policies such as the current administration’s desired Muslim Ban.

In the report, Jewish Voice for Peace–Chicago calls on the Jewish United Fund to:

  • Immediately cut off all funding to anti-Muslim hate groups, through donor-advised funds or other funding streams
  • Commit to rejecting future contributions from funders that are contributors to anti-Muslim hate groups
  • Make a written and public statement addressing JUF funding of anti-Muslim hate groups and affirming JUF’s commitment to the above actions.

“In a time when working together to challenge hate and discriminatory policies is more important than ever, these financial ties show that the JUF’s priorities lie elsewhere,” said JVP-Chicago member Lesley Williams. “As a Black Jewish woman I am outraged, although not surprised, by the JUF’s funding of such racist organizations, and I hope that all members of the Chicago-area Jewish community who believe in solidarity with marginalized communities will join us in calling on the JUF to end its financial ties with groups that target Arab, Muslim and Palestinian communities.”

Daniel Pipes, whose Middle East Forum received over half a million dollars from JUF funds, has also described acceptance of transgender people as a sign of “a civilization in decline.”

Stephanie Skora, JVP-Chicago: “The JUF’s contributions to anti-Muslim, anti-queer, and anti-trans hatemongers speaks volumes about who they think belongs in the Jewish community. Clearly it is not people like me, or other queer and trans Jews. Their cowardly exporting of virulent homophobia and transphobia, so that their bigotry can be spouted through the likes of Daniel Pipes is yet another nail in the coffin to the JUF’s claim that they represent all Jews. They can’t even pretend to care if Jews like me live or die.”

JVP’s report closes by showing how the JUF, the Middle East Forum, and the Investigative Project on Terrorism share a common agenda of defending the State of Israel’s repressive policies towards Palestinians. JUF’s relationships with groups that dehumanize Arabs and Muslims must be understood in the context of its own agenda to justify Israel’s brutality toward Palestinians. As outlined in the report, JUF President Steven Nasatir has asserted that Palestinians “revel in destruction” because of their “vile, extremist Islamic ideology.”

“The JUF has never legitimately supported the rights of oppressed people, despite their claims,” said Hatem Abudayyeh of the U.S. Palestinian Community Network. “Instead, they have historically spewed zionist propaganda; been apologists for Israeli crimes; and supported military attacks on Palestinians and Arabs in our homeland, as well as racist, political attacks on Palestine support organizing in the U.S.”

JVP-Chicago will follow up on this report by reaching out to other organizations and individuals in Chicago’s Jewish community, in particular funders, grantees and others officially affiliated with JUF in any way to urge them to pressure the JUF to stop supporting anti-Muslim and anti-Arab organizations.

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The report Defund Islamophobia: How the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago Supports Anti-Muslim Hate Groups, was authored by members of Jewish Voice for Peace–Chicago in partnership with the Network Against Islamophobia, a project of the national Jewish Voice for Peace.

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