Israel Allies Foundation

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Israel Allies Foundation
Founded2007; 13 years ago (2007)
FoundersBinyamin Elon, Uri Bank, and Willem Griffioen[1]
HeadquartersEast Jerusalem, West Bank
President
Josh Reinstein[2]
Uri Bank[3]
Key people
Joseph Sabag[4]
Revenue (2018)
$1,441,818[5]
Expenses (2018)$709,921[5]
Staff
4[5]
Websiteisraelallies.org

The Israel Allies Foundation (IAF, also known as the International Israel Allies Caucus Foundation[5]) is an Israeli umbrella organization coordinating an international network of pro-Israel lobbies.[6][7] IAF works with politicians around the world to mobilize support for Israel based Judeo-Christian values. One of its main goals is keeping Jerusalem fully under Israeli sovereignty.[2][8] Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of their future state.

Parliamentary groups affiliated with the IAF include the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus in the United States House of Representatives, the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus in the Israeli parliament, and similar groups in Uruguay, the Philippines, South Korea, Brazil, South Africa, Japan, Australia, Finland, Italy, Canada, Costa Rica, and Malawi.[9][10] As of 2019, IAF supported 43 pro-Israel parliamentary groups worldwide.[11]

IAF takes politicians and heads of pro-Israel organizations on paid-for tours of Israel.[8][12]

History[edit]

In January 2004, the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus (KCAC) was founded by Israeli politician Yuri Stern of the Yisrael Beiteinu party and seven other Israeli politicians. The goal of the organization was to harness support for Israel from Christian leaders around the world. Its first sister organization, the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus, was established in the United States Congress in 2006.[13]

This led to the creation of IAF in 2007 by orthodox rabbi Benny Elon his longtime aide and parliamentary assisstant Uri Bank,[14] both leaders of the Israeli far-right party Moledet.[15][16] Elon, a well-known figure in the radical settler movement, favored annexing the occupied territories and "voluntary" transfer of the Palestinians to Jordan. He served as Tourism Minister in two stints from 2001 to 2004 and used his position to foment ties with the American evangelical Christian community. [17]

IAF opened its headquarters across the street from the American Consulate on Nablus Road in East Jerusalem in 2010.[6] East Jerusalem is part of the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel in the Six-day war in 1967. The location was chosen in symbolic support of the Foundation's "theme of a united Jerusalem." According to Foundation President Josh Reinstein, "We believe there should always be a united Jerusalem, and this (headquarters building) is going to be on the frontline of that battle."[6]

Elon, 62, died of cancer[8] in 2017 and Josh Reinstein took over as president of IAF.[2]

Organization[edit]

As of 2019, the organization's Christian advisory board of directors includes Tim Dunn (chairman), Dave Weldon, Mike Sodrel, Dick Saulsbury, Earl Cox, and Trent Franks.[18]

IAF has established parliamentary groups consisting of strongly pro-Israel politicians in many countries. In the U.S. and some other countries such groups ate known as caucuses.

Knesset Christian Allies Caucus[edit]

The Knesset Christian Allies Caucus is the IAF's caucus in the Israeli parliament - the Knesset. The Caucus was founded by Yuri Stern of the National Union in 2004. The Caucus has been co-chaired by David Rotem (till March 31, 2015) and Gila Gamliel.[citation needed] As of 2020, it has 17 members.[19]

Congressional Israel Allies Caucus[edit]

The Congressional Israel Allies Caucus is the IAF's caucus in the United States House of Representatives. It was formed on July 27, 2006, to affirm United States support for Israel amidst growing international pressure for Israel to implement an immediate ceasefire during the Israel-Lebanon conflict. It is, according to the IAF, the only bipartisan caucus in support of Israel in the U.S. House. The Caucus was modeled after its counterpart in the Knesset, the Christian Allies Caucus.[20][9]

Founding members of the Caucus were Dave Weldon (R-FL), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Trent Franks (R-AZ),[21] and Gene Green (D-TX). Founding co-Chairs were Mike Pence (R-IN); former House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VI); and Eliot Engel (D-NY).[22] The co-chairs of the Caucus in the 116th United States Congress were Eliot Engel (D-NY), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Brad Sherman (D-CA), and Steve Chabot (R-OH).[23]

The fundraising arm of the Caucus is the Israel Allies Caucus Foundation Inc.[24]

Finances[edit]

The Forward wrote that IAF reported $1.4 million in revenue in 2018. It also reported that IAF received a grant of $100,000 from the Israeli government in 2019.[25]

Prominent donors to IAF include the Moskowitz family foundations, the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Newton and Rochelle Becker charities, and the MZ Foundation who donated $760,000, $300,000, $115,000, and $100,000 respectively to the Israel Allies Caucus Foundation Inc. between 2009 and 2013.[24] IAF is also supported by the Milstein Family Foundation.[26]

Judeo-Christian values[edit]

IAF describes itself as working on a foundation of Judeo-Christian values, promoting cooperation among politicians worldwide, who support the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and to have secure borders.[27] Bank in 2014 described the strategy: "Evangelical Christians are powerful in their countries and they love Israel, but they haven’t been taught how to leverage that in our favor ... That is what we’re doing."[3]

According to the late Elon, Christians and Israel stands together against radical Islam: "The Christian world is Israel’s most strategic ally both existentially and spiritually. Existentially, they stand up against radical Islam and their desire to destroy the state of Israel. Spiritually, Christians are our partners in the clash of cultures between our values and those of radical Islam."[13]

Reinstein believes in a strategy which he calls faith-based diplomacy: "Faith-based diplomacy is the most important weapon we have in our arsenal today, ... In areas with almost no Jews, without Christian support Israel wouldn’t have such a robust international standing. In America, we have Jewish and Christian support—a stacked deck—but in places like the Philippines, without Christians, Israel wouldn’t have support."[28] He believes that Christians should realize that supersessionism is wrong and that the Old Covenant still holds: "How do you explain Israel if you believe you’ve replaced Israel? We have the ingathering of exiles; the desert blooming; Israel as a light unto the nations through its technology, and a lot of mainstream Christians were like, 'Wait a minute, we were wrong. The covenant is an everlasting one. Look at what God is doing for the Jewish people in Israel. We want to be a part of that.'"[29]

IAF distances itself from Christian groups that proselytizes against Jews.[30]

Issues[edit]

IAF's policy positions were enumerated in its 2008 "Declaration of Purpose and Solidarity with the People and State of Israel" document. The document was ratified by the International Israel Allies Caucus Chairmen and presented the following eight points:[31]

  1. The People of Israel have an inalienable right to live in peace and security in their historic homeland.
  2. As a sovereign state recognized by the United Nations, Israel has the right to govern its immigration and naturalization policies and to encourage and receive Jewish people from around the globe who choose to return.
  3. Jerusalem is, and should be, the undivided capital of Israel and the Jewish People, and in recognition of this all of the nations of the world should locate their embassies in Jerusalem.
  4. While we all yearn for peace, we recognize that pressure on Israel from the international community to negotiate and make concessions with those sworn to its destruction has not led to peace; we regard such attempts as futile.
  5. The Iranian regime with its developing arsenal of weapons of mass destruction and its stated goal of destroying Israel constitutes a clear and present danger to the existence of the State of Israel that must be opposed.
  6. Israel’s protective military actions are lawful under international law and are consistent with Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, which reserves unto each nation the right to engage in acts of self-defense.
  7. We support the Government of Israel as acting within its rights and obligations to its citizens when it stands resolutely in defense of its sovereign territory and acts preemptively if necessary, to ensure the protection of its citizens and the survival of its national existence.
  8. Social justice demands that the compensation claims of the Jewish refugees from Arab lands be recognized on equal terms with those of Arab refugees from 1948.

Jerusalem fully under Israeli sovereignty[edit]

According to Hannu Takkula, Chair of the European Parliament's Israel Allies Caucus, the group "celebrate(s) Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the Jewish State of Israel."[32] IAF supports moving the American Embassy to East Jerusalem.[33]

BDS movement[edit]

IAF opposes the BDS movement, an organization that calls for comprehensive boycotts of Israel until it stops its alleged human rights violations against the Palestinians. IAF lobbies for anti-BDS laws, so called because their intent is to discourage participation in boycotts of Israel. Those laws requires state contractors to pledge that they are not boycotting Israel. IAF sees boycotting Israel as a form of discrimination. [4]

IAF has also fought EU labeling regulations that would forbid goods produced in the Israeli settlements built in the West Bank and Golan Heights from being labelled "Made in Israel."[34]

Activities[edit]

Jerusalem Day[edit]

IAF holds annual events for politicians on Jerusalem Day to commemorate Israel's conquest of East Jerusalem in the Six-day war in 1967.[35] In the US, the event is held on Capitol Hill and attended to by members of congress.[36]

Chairmen's Conference[edit]

IAF holds annual conferences for its parliamentary groups' chairmen in Jerusalem.[37]

Tours of Israel and the West Bank[edit]

IAF is known for organizing and sponsoring tours for politicians to visit Israel and the West Bank which it refers to as "fact-finding missions".[38] There they meet with Israeli politicians and families to victims of Palestinian violence.[39] The Israeli left has criticized the tours as a form of propaganda.[40]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Willem Griffioen". Algemeiner.com. Retrieved September 10, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Fendel, Hillel (May 28, 2017). "What Rabbi Benny Elon Did For Jerusalem". Jewish Press. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Harkov, Lahav (December 26, 2014). "Bennett endorses US-born primary candidate Uri Bank". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. Retrieved September 10, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Cortellessa, Eric (March 26, 2016). "Georgia legislature passes anti-BDS bill". The Times of Israel. Retrieved September 10, 2020. Tactically, such measures are designed to have a “prophylactic effect,” according to Joseph Sabag, deputy director of the Israel Allies Foundation, who also lobbied for the bill. “Laws like these are essentially designed to regulate the state procurement process in such a way that entities wanting to contract with the state have to certify that they are not participating in BDS, which we explain as being a form of national origin discrimination,” he said.
  5. ^ a b c d "Israel Allies Foundation (IAF) - Washington, DC". Cause IQ. January 23, 2020. Retrieved September 10, 2020.
  6. ^ a b c Lidman, Melanie (October 1, 2010). "Christian pro-Israel group opens headquarters in east Jerusalem. Director: 'There should always be a united Jerusalem'". Jerusalem Post. ProQuest 843390776.
  7. ^ "Lawmakers from 18 countries worldwide in Jerusalem to express their opposition to boycotts of Israel - Latest News on BDS". SPME. October 30, 2015. Retrieved September 10, 2020.
  8. ^ a b c Berger, Yotam (May 6, 2017). "Former Israeli Minister and Rightist MK Benny Elon Dies at 62". Haaretz. ProQuest 1895653210.
  9. ^ a b Hoffman, Gil (January 16, 2014). "Israel Allies Foundation names Washington DC director". Jerusalem Post. ProQuest 1492863214.
  10. ^ Hoffman, Gil (July 6, 2015). "Costa Rica 33rd country to launch pro-Israel caucus". Jerusalem Post. ProQuest 1696850443.
  11. ^ "Member Nations". Israel Allies Foundation. November 4, 2019. Retrieved September 10, 2020.
  12. ^ Silverman, Anav (October 17, 2014). "International lawmakers join forces to support Israel". Jewish Advocate. ProQuest 1618841816.
  13. ^ a b "Knesset Christian Allies Caucus celebrates anniversary". Y-Net. January 10, 2008. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  14. ^ Fendel, Hillel (May 28, 2017). "What Rabbi Benny Elon Did For Jerusalem". JewishPress.com. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  15. ^ Reinstein, Josh (January 28, 2013). "Embracing Israel's allies". Jerusalem Post. ProQuest 1283633501.
  16. ^ Hoffman, Gil (October 2, 2012). "Lawmakers from around the world gather in Jerusalem". Jerusalem Post. ProQuest 1095627063.
  17. ^ "Benny Elon's long, strange trip". Salon. May 14, 2003. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  18. ^ "Christian Advisory Board". Israel Allies Foundation. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  19. ^ "Current Caucus Members - Knesset Christian Allies Caucus Members". Knesset Christian Allies Caucus. Retrieved September 10, 2020.
  20. ^ Lefkowitz, Etgar (July 28, 2006). "Israel Allies Caucus formed in US Congress". Jerusalem Post.
  21. ^ "Arena Profile: Trent Franks". Politico. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  22. ^ Lefkovitz, Etgar (May 4, 2009). "Christian supporters of Israel gather in Washington". Jerusalem Post. ProQuest 319683740.
  23. ^ "Congressional Israel Allies Caucus". Israel Allies Foundation. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  24. ^ a b Cronin, David; Marusek, Sarah; Miller, David (May 9, 2016). "The Israel Lobby and the European Union". the University of Bath's research portal. Retrieved September 10, 2020.
  25. ^ Pink, Aiden; Nathan-Kazis, Josh; Nathan-Kazis, Josh (August 31, 2020). "U.S. pro-Israel groups failed to disclose grants from Israeli government". The Forward. Retrieved September 10, 2020.
  26. ^ "Who We Support".
  27. ^ Gruber-Miller, Stephen (October 14, 2015). "GOP candidates defend Israel at forum in Iowa City". Des Moines Register. ProQuest 1721913311.
  28. ^ "Jewish state's Christian allies emphasize support ahead of sovereignty plan". JNS.org. May 27, 2020. Retrieved September 10, 2020.
  29. ^ "The Father of Faith-Based Diplomacy - News". Knesset Christian Allies Caucus. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  30. ^ "About the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus - Knesset Christian Allies Caucus". cac.org.il. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  31. ^ "Declaration of Purpose and Solidarity With the People and State of Israel" (PDF). Israel Allies Foundation. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  32. ^ Hoffman, Gil (June 4, 2013). "Congressmen, MKs, EU MPs to jointly call for united Jerusalem". Jerusalem Post. ProQuest 1366304207.
  33. ^ Stoil, Rebecca Shimon (May 21, 2017). "Trump risks ire of millions of pro-Israel voters by keeping embassy in Tel Aviv". Times of Israel. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  34. ^ "Lawfare Project, Israel Allies team up to fight BDS product labeling". The Jerusalem Post. February 11, 2020. Retrieved September 10, 2020.
  35. ^ "US, Israeli, EU lawmakers to call for united J'lem". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. June 3, 2013. Retrieved September 10, 2020.
  36. ^ "Advocacy groups woo US lawmakers amid fervor over prayer at Temple Mount". Al Jazeera America. August 25, 2015. Retrieved September 10, 2020.
  37. ^ "Inside Israel". Israel National News. December 5, 2019. Retrieved September 10, 2020.
  38. ^ "Spin doctors to the autocrats: how European PR firms whitewash repressive regimes" (PDF).
  39. ^ Horovitz, David (December 10, 2019). "Netanyahu meets visiting pro-Israel lawmakers from 25 countries". The Times of Israel. Retrieved September 10, 2020.
  40. ^ Levy, Gideon (December 5, 2019). "Winning over foreign dignitaries by getting them drunk on the Holocaust". Haaretz.com. Retrieved September 10, 2020.

External links[edit]