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Group plans to infiltrate Jewish summer camps to turn campers against Israel

Group plans to infiltrate Jewish summer camps to turn campers against Israel

“IfNotNow” group holding training session for camp counselors

In the saturated arena of anti-Israel political activism in the U.S., the once little-known Washington D.C.-based organization IfNotNow (INN) is catapulting its way to the forefront of the pack.

In one of its boldest moves, IfNotNow is planning to train camp counselors to “teach” campers at Jewish summer camps about the Israeli “occupation.” Given IfNotNow’s politics, described below, the teaching without a doubt will be anti-Israel. Parents who are sending their children to Jewish summer camps, motivated in part by establishing their children’s connection to Israel, will be undermined without knowing it and probably without the camp administration’s knowledge.

Founded in 2014 to protest Israel’s military operation against the Hamas terrorist organization that governs Gaza, INN presents itself as a hip left-wing group of young Jews who want to “transform the American Jewish community’s support for the occupation into a call for freedom and dignity for all Israelis and Palestinians.”

According to a recent statement, the group now has over 1,700 members and chapters in more than a dozen American cities. It’s also a growing presence on campus, as demonstrated by its hosting ‘anti-occupation Passover seders’ at a number of universities this past week.

Maybe INN is growing because its sister organization—Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP)—has become so tainted by charges of antisemitism. That is, maybe INN is becoming increasingly popular because people mistakenly see it as a legitimate player on the Zionist political left in a way that JVP isn’t.

But the reality, as I document further below, is that INN’s perspective on Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and its activism on and off campus, is virtually indistinguishable from that of JVP.

Now INN is planning to take its anti-Israel messaging to summer camps across the country. The group will host Jewish camp counselors at a pre-camp seminar over Memorial Day Weekend where they’ll learn how they can better “teach campers about the complexities of Israel, Palestine, and the 50-year-long Occupation.”

Most Jewish parents across America send their kids to Jewish summer camps to instill in them a love for Judaism and Israel. So it’s important to expose this attempt to infiltrate the camps to exploit the position that counselors have over campers.

The whole point of INN’s latest campaign is to undermine Jewish camp policies and positions, without prior notice to parents that their children will be subjected to what will amount to biased and factually inaccurate political activism about Israel and Middle East.

Background on IfNotNow

Like JVP, which seeks to drive a wedge in the American Jewish community over Israel, INN attempts to convince young Jews that they should be disillusioned with an Israel that they’ve been taught to love and admire. So the primary targets for INN’s materials and programming are millennial Jews and American Jewish organizations that fund and support educational and cultural opportunities for American young people in Israel.

Origins & Funding

Founded in 2014 during the Israel-Hamas war, INN claims to be unaffiliated with any other political organization, but it’s important to note that JVP “celebrated” INN’s activism and assisted the organization from the start.

The two groups partnered up several years ago to field a ‘public Passover action’—a five city series of ‘seders in the streets’ and in various buildings that house major Jewish organizations. As we highlighted in a post at the time, the purpose was to appropriate the holiday’s rituals and texts for a vehemently anti-Israel narrative, Anti-Israel activists hijack Passover, turn it into Palestinian liberation event.

There’s likely a lot of overlap between the JVP and INN memberships. But INN’s leaders are actually former J Street activists who were affiliated with J Street U, the organization’s campus arm, during their college years.

This has led some critics to view INN as J Street’s “anti-Israel front group”:

It postures as an independent volunteer grass roots anti-Israel group. In fact it’s a group of J Street U people trying out a new brand.”

There’s certainly a connection to J Street, an organization which describes itself as pro-Israel, pro-peace and anti-occupation.

The foul-mouthed Simone Zimmerman, who U.S. presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders hired as his Jewish outreach coordinator, was an INN founder—but prior to that she was a J Street U National Student Board President (Zimmerman was subsequently fired by Sanders when a profanity-laden Facebook post about Prime Minister Netanyahu surfaced).

Simone Zimmerman | credit: Facebook

Still, there’s no tight link between J Street and INN—the two are different organizations. In fact, according to Freedom Center’s Shillman Journalism Fellow Daniel Greenfield,

The official narrative is that If Not Now parted ways with J Street because the group was insufficiently opposed to the Jewish State and insufficiently supportive of Hamas.”

INN is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization according to its website. But as noted by the watchdog group NGO Monitor, it lacks any transparency or accountability regarding its budget and donors or donation amounts, none of which it publishes.

Basically, at the moment there’s no way to know where INN is getting the money to fund its activism. Much of its work probably still doesn’t require a lot of funding, and activists are likely paying a lot out of pocket. Still, as the group ramps up its programming, more serious financing is going to be necessary. For example, it’s new summer camp counselor “Training on the Occupation”, which promises travel stipends and that “no one will be turned away for lack of funds”, can’t be done on a shoestring.

Bottom line: As INN grows as an organization, it’ll be important to unpack its funding sources. Like JVP, the group may now be financing its activism with an amalgam of small donations along with larger contributions by individuals and foundations with virulently anti-Israel agendas, Anti-Israel ‘Jewish Voice for Peace’ Funding Network Revealed.

Activism & Programming

Like JVP, INN operates in multiple arenas to appropriate Jewish culture and traditions, putting them into service for a vehemently anti-Israel propaganda campaign. INN doesn’t officially endorse the boycott of Israel (BDS), but it also doesn’t reject it. It also partners with BDS supporters and routinely promotes BDS goals and talking points. In its various rallies in Washington DC, New York City, and Boston this past week, INN uncritically adopted Hamas propaganda to falsely accuse Israel of massacring innocents along the Gaza border.

  1. Targeting Major American-Jewish Organizations

Claiming to represent Jewish millennials and insisting that American Jewish organizations must listen to younger voices, INN’s main activities have been protests and sit-ins at the headquarters of American Jewish institutions and Israeli consular offices.

INN initially gained notoriety by organizing and hosting a series of public demonstrations outside the headquarters of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Anti-Defamation League, the Conference of Presidents, and the Jewish Federation of North America. At these venues, they frequently made such a fuss and spectacle of themselves that they ended up getting arrested for trespassing and disorderly conduct.

As we highlighted in our prior post, INN activists often seem to go out of their way to concoct elaborate publicity stunts at their protest venues, an indication that their main goal isn’t really dialogue with those they criticize in the Jewish community, but media attention.

In 2016, INN members were arrested after they chained themselves inside the Boston AIPAC lobby. It’s a stunt that the group repeated this past week, when members of the Boston chapter locked themselves up to the exterior door of the Israeli Consulate, an action taken to oppose Israel’s counter-terror measures in Gaza last weekend. The Boston police then arrested eight INN members for disturbing the peace in the course of the fracas.

https://twitter.com/pragmactivist/status/981141830464081920

INN activists also protested at AIPAC headquarters in DC and in front of the headquarters of the Union for Reform Judaism in New York City.

At these events, and in the group’s write-ups and social media posts about them, INN has displayed a shockingly poor understanding of the ongoing confrontations on Israel’s border with Gaza.

Here’s just a few tweets. There are many more on INN’s social media timeline:

https://twitter.com/maxberger/status/980506394905534464

INN’s interpretation about what’s happening at the Gaza border is bizarre.

As we’ve highlighted in a series of posts on the Hamas-orchestrated militarized actions in what they’re calling the “March of Return”, from the beginning they’ve involved a significant degree of violence which wouldn’t be tolerated by any country.

So far, the Gaza border protests, which began last Friday on Passover Eve, have included violent rioting, acts of war under the cover of huge crowds of civilians and giant plumes of smoke, environmental degradation, and numerous attempted terrorist infiltrations across the border:

Footage of militants affiliated with Hamas and other terror organizations opening fire on Israeli soldiers and hurling firebombs, and repeated attempts to damage or breach the border security fence, clearly puts the lie to INN’s accusation that the IDF is indiscriminately killing innocent civilian demonstrators.

INN activists have repeatedly claimed this past week that Gaza is “under the occupation of the Israeli government”. The reality is that Israel doesn’t occupy Gaza, but (along with Egypt) maintains a stringent security blockade to prevent its enemy from building up a terror and war-fighting infrastructure.

It’s also important to note that during their rallies and sit-ins, INN wasn’t just criticizing Israel’s counter-terror measures against the Hamas governing authority in Gaza. The group was actually defending Hamas, which aims to murder Jews and destroy the Jewish state—along with any chance for peace. INN protests have even involved the shameful spectacle of activists reciting the Jewish mourner’s prayer (the Kaddish) over the death of these terrorists:

It’s truly a disgrace that INN can’t seem to get that after 11 years of rule the Hamas “jihadi struggle to wipe out the Jews” has turned Gaza into a “military staging area” at the expense of the population. These protests are organized by a radical Islamist terrorist organization, which cynically exploits even Palestinian children to “score propaganda points.” Hamas wants more dead Palestinian civilians, but Israel isn’t obliging. Most of the people killed have been known to be active fighters and militants.

Bottom line: As others have rightly argued, it’s possible to criticize Israel’s policies without joining those who want to see Israel destroyed. But INN’s critique isn’t a serious or reasonable one. The group is playing into the hands of Hamas by calling Israel’s measured response to terrorist violence along its border a massacre of peaceful protesters.

  1. Usurping the Jewish Life Cycle and Religious Holidays

Like JVP, in its written materials and presentations INN reinforces that its anti-Israel positions are consistent with Jewish values. Toward this end, it appropriates the Jewish life cycle and religious holidays by incorporating anti-Israel themes into traditional celebratory and commemorative events.

“Liberation Seder” at AIPAC offices | Boston | April 19, 2016 | credit: Twitter

This identity theft has been particularly visible at Passover, but INN has hijacked other Jewish rituals and holidays too:

Over the last week INN managed to politicize the Passover holiday once again by convincing three universities to host ‘anti-occupation liberation seders.’

As with its 2015 and 2016 street seders, the explicit goal of this past week’s campus seders was to replace the essential and timeless Passover themes—the retelling of the exodus from Egypt and the Jewish people’s redemption in the land of Israel—with a program concentrated on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Central to its messaging during these holiday hijacks is the claim that support for Israel makes Jews “complicit in Palestinian suffering” and that the occupation is a “system of violence and separation” denying Palestinians freedoms and dignity.

It’s important to realize that this reflects a simplistic understanding of the historical, political, and legal issues surrounding Israel’s presence in the West Bank—and the situation for Israeli Arabs (one of the student organizers of Harvard’s INN-inspired seder reportedly expressed breathtaking ignorance when she claimed that Palestinians “living in Israel” are “not free” and are deprived of “basic human rights”).

In general, INN activists seem completely unfamiliar with the laws of occupation, or the jurisdictional framework for the West Bank territory delineated under the Oslo Accords. They also appear to be unaware of the many ways in which the governing Palestinian Authority (PA) mistreats and oppresses Palestinians. In researching this post, I couldn’t find a single instance on its website or social media feeds in which the group recognized the injustices routinely meted out by the PA.

Further, at all of their gatherings INN activists state that the occupation is a “daily nightmare for Palestinians” (a claim that also appears in nearly all INN writings and public pronouncements). The reality is that, while Israel’s counter-terror security measures do pose hardships for Palestinians, there’s a lot of positive engagement between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank.

As we’ve noted in a number of prior posts, Israeli settlers often intervene to assist Palestinians in their dealings with the IDF and other Israeli authorities. They also find ways to work with neighboring Palestinian communities to resolve their differences in amicable get-togethers (which get shut down by the PA):

  1. West Bank Tours

Like JVP, INN offers tours of the West Bank that provide highly biased accounts of the conflict in an attempt to erase the “pride and fascination” in the Jewish state which may have been fostered through the prior educational programming that the participants received.

I was particularly struck by the fact that INN partnered with the group Breaking the Silence (BtS) during its recent trip. As we’ve highlighted in several posts, BtS is a discredited Israel-based NGO that once served as a support group of sorts for young IDF draftees who needed to process the challenges and difficulties of their tours of duty but has now become an arm of the anti-Israel BDS movement:

Also revealing is the fact that INN’s “Anti Occupation Delegation” met with Issa Amro and Bassem Tamimi during their visit to the West Bank. As noted by LI occasional author and investigative journalist Petra Marquardt-Bigman, Amro is hardly a peace activist committed to the principle of nonviolent action, Issa Amro is no “Palestinian Gandhi”.

As for Tamimi, in multiple posts we’ve highlighted his exploitation of his own and other Palestinian children for anti-Israel propaganda purposes; his dissemination of vile antisemitic posts on social media; and how he urges young American kids to become violent freedom fighters, a presentation that gave at least one child nightmares.

INN activists have posted a number of short essays (see for example, here, here and here) about their recent West Bank tour on Medium. They’re worth reading because they absolve the Palestinians of any responsibility in perpetuating the conflict, largely by inciting and glorifying violence and rejecting multiple peace offers.

They also contain a large number of factual inaccuracies (one article, for example, employs false figures on the number of Palestinians arrested by Israel’s security forces; it also asserts that settlers living in the West Bank should be subject to Israeli military courts just like Palestinians, thus displaying a lack of a basic understanding about the laws of occupation).

One of the blog posts even uses the image of an octopus to describe Israel’s settlement policies (“…the Occupation is an octopus, its tentacles reach into every corner of Palestinian life…”). INN is either unaware that Israel is depicted as bestial and savage, including frequently as a ravenous octopus, or it doesn’t care that its work traffics in antisemitism.

https://www.adl.org/blog/arabic-language-media-propagate-anti-semitic-cartoons-in-wake-of-president-trumps-recognition

Bottom line: INN activists are unfamiliar with the lived experiences of Jews and Arabs in the West Bank. Its activists work with groups that seek to demonize and vilify Israel and Jews in Judea and Samaria—the ancient lands of the Jewish nation.

IfNotNow’s Latest Campaign: “Camp Counselor Training on the Occupation”

In a new INN campaign, Jewish camp counselors from across the country are being invited to sign up for a multi-day training session to learn how to give their summer campers “an honest Israel education.”

The training session, which is set to happen on May 27, is being “planned and coordinated” by INN members who self-describe as alumni of Jewish summer camps. There’ll be an optional Shabbaton (learning and community-building session over the Jewish Sabbath) on May 25-26. Participants are also being encouraged to stay on for the official INN orientation on May 28.

INN anticipates that the gathering will include at least 50 Jewish summer camp counselors from at least 10 different camps in North America.

This new initiative comes after a months-long effort by INN alums of Ramah—the Jewish Conservative movement’s camping arm—to convince its leadership to include the ‘occupation’ as part of its Israel education programming.

INN recently admitted that Ramah leaders, including Rabbi Mitch Cohen, executive director of the National Ramah Commission, had recently met with the group where they “affirmed” a commitment to discuss the creation of a broader Israel curriculum “with the goal of providing our teens and staff members at our camps and Israel programs with a full range of opinions on the conflict.”

In particular, Rabbi Cohen recognized that “staff training and a changed curricula” were areas that could be “improved” and where he would begin to “channel his efforts.”

So Ramah administrators are already willing to teach about the occupation at their camps and will be working with experts to devise best practices for doing so. But apparently that’s not enough for INN, which is now trying to do an end-run around Ramah’s leadership.

INN promotional materials for the May 27 training don’t describe what will be covered beyond that participating counselors will

learn about what the Occupation looks like on the ground, from people who have witnessed it firsthand and from Palestinians who experience it everyday.”

The likelihood that the summer camp counselors will be hearing from Palestinians who’ve been harmed by the Palestinian Authority or who actually prefer working in businesses owned by Israeli settlers is nil.

That said, there’s no problem with teaching summer campers about the left-of-center position on Israel’s post-1967 settlement project, provided its done in an age appropriate manner, includes factually-accurate materials, and presents opposing centrist and right-wing perspectives fairly. Israel is a raucous and vibrant democracy, where people holding diverse positions on a range of policies can freely express their views. So there’s no reason why campers shouldn’t be exposed to that diversity as a way of enhancing their connection and attachment to the Jewish state.

But in this regard, it’s important to realize that INN’s perspective is totally out of sync with leftist Zionist positions. Specifically, the left-of-center Zionist opposition doesn’t reject the security measures that keep Israelis safe. Anti-occupation left-wing Israeli politicians, for example, have called for completing unfinished areas of the security fence—what INN activists call the ‘separation wall’ and demand must be dismantled. Further, unlike INN, the Zionist left-wing also rejects a wholesale return to the 1949 armistice lines in any final deal much less endorses a ‘right’ of return for Palestinian refugees, which would put an end to the world’s only Jewish state.

Bottom line: Given the nature of INN, Jewish summer camp administrators who want to retain the Zionist mission of their institutions and want “all of our kids to love Israel” shouldn’t let INN anywhere near their programming on these topics. Parents need to make sure that they clearly and strongly convey to camp leaders that they won’t be sending their kids to camp this summer if they’re going to be subjected to an ‘education’ about Israel from counselors who’ve attended INN’s Memorial Day Weekend training workshop and who plan to bring its radically anti-Israel message to the camp.

Conclusion

IfNotNow self-describes as the important voice of a new American Jewish generation. But in its early years, it didn’t look like the organization would survive within the already crowded arena of virulently anti-Israel activism.

Anti-Israel activists liked the fact that INN was attacking JFNA, AIPAC, the ADL and other American Jewish organizations for supporting “Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians.” But they weren’t so happy that INN leaders expressed a “subtle endorsement” of J Street or that they “refused to define” what the occupation specifically entailed.

That is, the anti-Israel movement wanted INN to not only oppose Israel’s post-1967 presence in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, it also expected INN activists to unequivocally support BDS and to “recognize that the Israeli State has brutally occupied Palestinian land since the moment it was established”.

INN still doesn’t have an official position on BDS, neither supporting nor disavowing it. But now it looks like that’s no longer a sticking point. Clearly, the initial hesitance to fully embrace INN has dissipated. The group has become the up-and-coming darling of the anti-Israel crowd, who are now celebrating its achievements and providing it with much encouragement:

Bottom line: It’s easy to confuse IfNotNow with other left-wing Zionist groups because it doesn’t officially endorse BDS, claims to be merely anti-occupation, and doesn’t overtly and consistently trade in classical antisemitic tropes and canards in the way that JVP does. But looks can be deceiving, and in the case of INN it’s important not to be fooled. Like JVP—whose activism and talking points it largely reproduces—INN legitimizes hostility toward Israel, emboldens its enemies, and ultimately has the potential to put fellow Jews at risk.

Miriam F. Elman is an Associate Professor of Political Science and the Inaugural Robert D. McClure Professor of Teaching Excellence at the Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs, Syracuse University. She is the editor of five books and the author of over 65 journal articles, book chapters, and government reports on topics related to international and national security, religion and politics, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She also frequently speaks and writes on the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) anti-Israel movement. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @MiriamElman

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Comments

These are incredibly warped people, and very dangerous to the rest of us.

(Has Jimmy Kimmel made fun of their accents yet?)

We need counselor control – now.

This is NOT an Onion parody:

London’s Mayor Declares Intense New ‘Knife Control’ Policies To Stop Epidemic Of Stabbings:
https://legalinsurrection.com/2018/04/group-plans-to-infiltrate-jewish-summer-camps-to-turn-campers-against-israel/

Juba Doobai! | April 8, 2018 at 8:53 pm

I don’t get it. Did the Holocaust teach these people nothing? Did they learn nothing from the various “peace” efforts from which Yasser Arafat and his merry band of terrorists walked away after having got 95% of what they wanted—except for the death of every Jew every where, of course? Did they learn nothing from the various intifadas and acts of gross terrorism that resulted in so many Jewish deaths?

What would it take to open the eyes of some of these self-hating Jews? Do they seriously believe that Muslims have a right to life but Jews don’t? Do they believe that Muslims have a right to Israel but Jews don’t?

Somebody needs to explain these death-wish Jews for me.

    Tom Servo in reply to Juba Doobai!. | April 8, 2018 at 10:37 pm

    These were the people who volunteered to be Kapo’s during the holocaust.

      Milhouse in reply to Tom Servo. | April 8, 2018 at 11:54 pm

      The Kapos were not volunteers. They were trying desperately to extend their own lives by a few months. These people are in no danger and under no coercion, and choose to join the Nazis of their own free will.

      The US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, once felt free to openly say this obvious truth, but in his confirmation hearing he was forced to recant it and apologize. I hope and trust he was lying when he said these statements did not reflect his true beliefs.

        Milwaukee in reply to Milhouse. | April 10, 2018 at 1:14 pm

        The Kapos were not volunteers. They were trying desperately to extend their own lives by a few months.

        What could be more anti-Semitic than working in a German concentration camp and abusing Jews? Sounds, almost, as if, maybe, the writer is offering apologetics for anti-Semitism. Or is this just an explanation for horrible behavior? Did these men have a choice? Yes, a horrible choice. Be guilty of inflicting horrors on innocent men, or die a horrible death yourself.

        My hope for me is that I might be more like Maximilian Kolbe. He was at Auschwitz. When one prisoner escaped, the commander decided to randomly pick 10 others and put them to death. Maximilian left his place in the ranks and went up to object. One of the men had a wife and children. Maximilian offered to go in his place. Instead of shooting Maximilian on the spot, just for leaving the ranks and speaking, the offer was accepted. The men were locked in a basement cell without food or water. It took days for all of them to die, and Maximilian was the last. The Germans grew weary of his prayers and hymn singing, and had a guard inject carbolic acid into his veins. He reportedly thanked and blessed the man doing the injection. I hope that I would so holy. Maximilian was canonized by the Church on October 10, 1982

          Edward in reply to Milwaukee. | April 10, 2018 at 11:36 pm

          “Did these men have a choice? Yes, a horrible choice. Be guilty of inflicting horrors on innocent men, or die a horrible death yourself.”

          Many of the Kapos were criminals before they entered the camp system, but not all. While many were sadistic people to begin with, they were driven by the SS guards to keep pressure on the prisoners in order to prevent insurrection.

          You condemn those who chose even a tenuous hold on life when they were simply human and not Saints. Easy to do here and now but only those who survived the camps should be qualified to make accusations and condemnations. I’ve only known one man, a Polish Priest, who survived the camps and he was more forgiving than you appear to be.

          Milwaukee in reply to Milwaukee. | April 11, 2018 at 1:22 am

          Edward: You’re over reading my comment. In my response I was trying to describe horrible choices in a horrible situation. On the other hand, you appear to be justifying their choice to become kappos. Mine was not meant to be a condemnation, just a description. To condemn means to judge, and judging is above my paygrade, or out of the scope of my practice.

Parents who are sending their children to Jewish summer camps, motivated in part by establishing their children’s connection to Israel

They fell for that same rubbish fifty or sixty years ago, when those Jewish summer camps in the Catskills were notoriously devoted to Communist propaganda. Hell, it was so blatant even we goyem knew about it. (Actually, I didn’t suspect it was all true—it just seemed too blatant to actually fool anybody for real—until Ron Radosh’s autobiographical Commies came out.)

Times change … but they don’t change all that much.

    paracelsus in reply to tom_swift. | April 9, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    No. only a few camps and they openly proclaimed their strong attachment to Marxist philosophy. Many of the parents (or their parents) from the New York, Boston, Philly triangle who were considering sending their children to summer camps originally came from Eastern Europe; these were a highly literate people who read the pamphlets, and spoke with the camp owners, and decided to send their offspring to the camps which did not espouse socialism and did not inculcate the campers with this un-American philosophy.

Nothing about the Palestinians has anything to do with freedom. If they somehow defeat Israel and slaughter millions of Jews they won’t be free. They will be enslaved by Islam and their Dear Leaders.

There’s certainly a connection to J Street, an organization which describes itself as pro-Israel, pro-peace and anti-occupation.

Didn’t they drop the “pro-Israel” part of that slogan about ten years ago, because it wasn’t playing well with their allies on the left?

Oh, I see, it was only their college branch that dropped it. Still, since we’re talking here mostly about that same branch, this is relevant.

Who are the donors funding this? I’d like to see those 990’s.

Are they unsuspecting Jewish donors? Taxes? Individuals? Hamas? Iran? Someone in flesh and blood has to contribute the money to this deception. I think it would be great if they could be exposed, but I suspect it is a shell game to find it out.

    elle in reply to elle. | April 8, 2018 at 11:08 pm

    https://www.ngo-monitor.org/ngos/if-not-now/

    https://www.ngo-monitor.org/ngos/if-not-now/
    “Funding According to its website, “If Not Now is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and all contributions are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.” However, as of May 11, 2016, the organization has not published its 990 forms, an annual budget, donors or donation amounts, reflecting a lack of transparency and accountability.”

    From ifnotnow’s website:

    “Contribution rules
    I am at least eighteen years old.
    This contribution is made from my own funds or the funds of an authorizing corporation or other entity, and the funds are not being provided by any other person or entity.
    ActBlue Charities is a registered charitable organization formed to democratize charitable giving. A copy of our latest financial report may be obtained by emailing [email protected] or calling (617) 517-7600. Alternatively, our report detailing our programs, a financial summary, and the percentage of contributions dedicated to our charitable purpose, along with a copy of our license, may be obtained from the following state agencies: FLORIDA (registration #CH46938) — Division of Consumer Services 800-435-7352 http://www.800helpfla.com; GEORGIA (registration #CH012361) — contact ActBlue Charities; MARYLAND (registration #29971) — Secretary of State, State House, Annapolis, MD 21401; MISSISSIPPI (registration #100024326) — Secretary of State, 888-236-6167; NEW JERSEY (registration #CH3867000) — Attorney General, 973-504-6215, http://www.state.nj.us/lps/ca/charfrm.htm; NEW YORK (registration #45-25-27) — Attorney General, Charities Bureau, 120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271; NORTH CAROLINA (registration #SL009830) — State Soliciting Licensing Branch, 888-830-4989; PENNSYLVANIA (registration #104758) — Department of State, 800-732-0999; VIRGINIA — Office of Consumer Affairs, PO Box 1163, Richmond, VA 23218; WASHINGTON (registration #37969) — Secretary of State, Charities Division, Olympia, WA 98504-0422, 800-332-4483; WISCONSIN (registration pending) — contact ActBlue Charities; WEST VIRGINIA (registration pending) — Secretary of State, State Capitol, Charleston, WV 25305. ”

    I’m not seeing any 990’s for actblue charities since tax year 2015. However I am seeing actblue.com which is asking for donations for Fl sen Bill Nelson and Jennifer Zimmerman and others https://secure.actblue.com/directory/FL/candidate, but also did not see filings on that, though I did not look hard.

    So where are the post 2015 actblue 990’s? The money cannot be co-mingled with actblue.com’s money.

    paracelsus in reply to elle. | April 9, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    I am, or rather, was.
    Our synagogue, like many others, sends out an annual donation letter to its congregants requesting donations.
    Usually my wife handles these matters, but I happened to open the envelope and noticed in the accompanying letter a phrase stating that the synagogue would use the donation for maintenance of the building and distribution to such other organizations the board felt were worthy of our attention.
    I phoned and asked about the other organizations. Since the board hadn’t met yet, I asked for the prior year’s recipients. Among quite a few others, the person on the other end of the phone mentioned: Planned Parenthood, Black Lives Matter, JStreet, and BDS.
    Knowing where my donation was headed, I discussed the matter with my wife and we decided not to donate further until we had a chance to speak with the board.
    But, yes, I and many other congregants donated, unknowingly, to these causes.

      elle in reply to paracelsus. | April 9, 2018 at 2:21 pm

      True. You you can look and see from your synagogue’s tax forms if they gave to other non-profits. Then you can look at the tax forms from Black Lives Matter, etc. and see that the donations were received from your synagogue. IRS looks at non-profit to non-profit transfers and it’s public info.

      What I’m pointing out here it that the donate button on the INN website lists actblue charities, a 501c3 But there are no 990’s for them since 2015 readily available. There has to be a public money trail for those donations or complaints can be filed.

      It’s not my battle, but if the someone is interested in this, I recommend demanding to see the prior year 990’s for the donations being raised.

      If they don’t have 990’s then you can probably file complaints in all of those states listed on their donate page. If they have them, my guess is that you will establish a financial link between actblue charities and actblue.com. That’s a very problematic relationship (501c4 to 501c3) Find a friend or who understands 990’s and have them take a look-see what’s going on between the two non-profits.

      Or keep it simple and just demand the 990’s for actblue charities.

      You can’t have a donate button for a public charity with no corresponding 990’s. 990’s are public record, and easy to obtain. You can demand them. They have to provide them.

      Miriam Elman in reply to paracelsus. | April 9, 2018 at 2:30 pm

      Thanks for sharing this. This would never happen at my shul. Our support for special causes and/or organizations is always requested through separate mailings, and isn’t folded into dues or other asks. What you describe is very troubling and likely happening in many synagogues, especially ones w/larger memberships. It’s a great example of institutional hijacking.

Treachery. Unfortunately this is not new. In the Catholic Church I have encountered nuns and priests who would vocally support female priests, or married male priests. As much as they disagreed with the Church, they would rather stay in and foment discontent, and push their agenda, than leave and have an honest disagreement.

The Jews were expelled from Christian Spain by Queen Isabella. My understanding is there were Jews and Muslims who claimed to have converted to Christianity, but their conversion was false. When the opportunity arose, they would betray a city, to the detriment of all in the city. Not able to believe the conversions, or know which Jew was going to betray them next, expulsion was a decent alternative. Beats genocide. Only now it is Jews betraying Jews. Soros was a judenrat, a Jew who helped the Germans catch Jews in hiding. (Considering how the German people enabled the Nazis, it was Germans looking for Jews.)

    Milhouse in reply to Milwaukee. | April 9, 2018 at 12:00 am

    The Jews were expelled from Christian Spain by Queen Isabella. My understanding is there were Jews and Muslims who claimed to have converted to Christianity, but their conversion was false. When the opportunity arose, they would betray a city, to the detriment of all in the city. Not able to believe the conversions, or know which Jew was going to betray them next, expulsion was a decent alternative. Beats genocide.

    Apologetics for antisemitism are not welcome on this site. (1) Even stipulating your bizarre premise, the alternative was to stop forcing Jews to convert in the first place. (2) The expulsion was not of the converts, but only of those Jews who had withstood the persecution and didn’t convert, so what difficulty could there be in identifying them?

      Milwaukee in reply to Milhouse. | April 10, 2018 at 12:58 pm

      Please excuse my clumsy attempt to explain an action, not to defend that action. They chose poorly. The Jews certainly have a history of being victims of unreasonable attacks. However, expulsion would have been better than murder. Spain was not alone, in one time or another, expelling Jews. Hatred for the Chosen People of God is not new. I can see you have a point there, that those who hadn’t converted might be less of a threat than those who had. I have never heard that only converts were expelled. If you have a reputable source on that, I would appreciate reading it.

      The Catholic Church of Rome claims, and I believe it to be true, to be the Church Christ established on earth, with Peter the first Vicar of Christ. As it happens, Christ ascended to Heaven after the Resurrection and left his Church to men, who have, from time to time, made mistakes. One of those mistakes was forcing Jews to convert. How ironic! In the Acts of the Apostles they debate the need for gentiles to become Jews before they could be Christians. Fortunately, this is Christ’s Church, and has been open to realizing that “mistakes have been made”, and to change course. Sometimes they even apologize. The position now is that Jews are the Chosen People of God. They don’t need to give up being Jews, ever. Even if they elect to believe Jesus is who he said he is.

        Milhouse in reply to Milwaukee. | April 11, 2018 at 5:57 am

        I have never heard that only converts were expelled.

        On the contrary, only those who didn’t convert were expelled. Converts were Christians and no longer Jews, and thus not subject to the decree. The whole point was to pressure those who had resisted until then, and force them to convert. The majority of Spanish Jews unfortunately but understandably gave in to the pressure and “converted” in order not to be turned into penniless refugees. But that put them under the Inquisition’s jurisdiction, and it made their lives miserable looking for signs of “backsliding”, and torturing and murdering them if they found any.

        However your point was more than “expulsion is better than murder”. Lots of crimes are better than murder, but that doesn’t excuse them. If the Spaniards feared betrayal by insincere converts it was their own fault for forcing them to convert in the first place. But even so this could not justify the expulsion, because it was specifically aimed only at those who weren’t pretending to be Christian, and therefore couldn’t betray them.

    Milwaukee in reply to Milwaukee. | April 10, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    Every group with a history has treachery in it’s past. I am Scottish. The Scottish leaders sold out the Scottish people in order to keep their personal power. The elites of Britain today sell out their people to the Muslim immigrants. My grandfather married his first wife with a false name, and his second, my grandmother, with a second name, and no divorce. At least he was divorced from the second before he married the third, with the correct name. Treachery is everywhere. Dante put mutineers and betrayers at the lowest level of Hell.

Bottom line: As others have rightly argued, it’s possible to criticize Israel’s policies without joining those who want to see Israel destroyed.

Is it? I don’t see how. Sure, one can criticize this or that Israeli policy about completely unrelated matters; its trade policies, or its policy on the environment, or whatever. But the only possible criticism I can see of its policies that are relevant to this discussion, is that they are far too easy on the enemy, and criminally risk its own soldiers’ lives for the sake of avoiding bad PR. I don’t think that’s what either Tobin or you mean, so I’m left puzzled by this often-heard claim.

No, Israel isn’t infallible, it isn’t necessarily and inevitably right in all conceivable cases, but in this case it is indisputably right, and I believe it is impossible to levy any criticism at it from the left without betraying antisemitism.

    Miriam Elman in reply to Milhouse. | April 9, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    Thanks. I see your point and I linked to Tobin there as I thought he phrased it well (I was thinking of Michael Oren’s scathing criticism, but there have been others–on the right too). There’s no problem with criticizing Israel’s counterterror policies, even in this case, and those on the Zionist right-left-center are free to do so all the time in Israel; for example many have denounced settlement building as a response to terror). It’s the versions of the critique that become virulent anti-Israel expression and are thus antisemitic in practice that I care about and want to unequivocally and unambiguously repudiate. But I know we’re on the same page there.

So, this is really VERY interesting….it appears to me that ifnotnow charities hasn’t filed since 2015.

So, okay. Their website lists donation information for actblue charities. But I’m not finding 990’s past 2016 for actblue charities either. Maybe I’m not looking in the right spot. Maybe someone else would have the knowledge/access to check that out.

That’s interesting, but more interesting is that there are filings for actblue.com.

And that is where it gets REALLY interesting. You see, actblue is a democratic fundraising machine. They support dem candidates and causes. Nothing particularly wrong with that, except the funds for charity purposes CANNOT be mixed with political causes. It’s a big no-no. Those are two completely different types of charities.

So to clarify, we have an actblue charities collecting for ifnotnow and another actblue political charity collection for ….hurricane relief???

Very intriguing from this website:
http://blog.actblue.com/2017/10/06/q3-2017-unprecedented-engagement-across-the-board/

“Q3 2017: Unprecedented engagement across the board
POSTED BY MAGGIE QUICK AND DAVE STERN ON OCTOBER 6, 2017 FILED UNDER ANALYSIS, GENERAL
2017 has been a huge year for fundraising on the left as more Americans make fighting back against Trump and the GOP part of their daily lives. We knew there was a lot of momentum going into Q3 but wondered if the summer would slow anyone down. The numbers show the resistance is still going strong. We helped raise $108,108,700 for Democratic campaigns, progressive organizations, and nonprofits doing hurricane relief work — nearly double what we helped raise during the same period in the 2016 election cycle — from 3,178,688 contributions.”

Okay….whoa, whoa, whoa. Did I read, “WE HELPED RAISE $108 MILLION for Democratic campaigns, progressive organizations and NONPROFITS DOING HURRICANE RELIEF WORK – nearly double what we helped raise during the same period in the 2016 election cycle.

SAAAY WHAT? Hurricane relief. WTF… Really……WTF!!!! So is that how it works? You contribute to Haiti or, in this case, Hurricane Maria and your money channels through a charity for progressive candidates and causes.

Huh! I don’t know much, but that sure doesn’t sound right or even legal to me.

    elle in reply to elle. | April 8, 2018 at 11:50 pm

    So I know that my above word dump is eye-glazing, to summarize

    ifnotnow accepts donations through actblue charities, a 501c3.

    Not seeing filings for the charity since tax year 2015.

    But actblue.com is a dem fundraising charity that was collecting donations for hurricane relief?

    How can that be.

    Is this how these summer camps are being funded? Through a political action charity that helps collect funds for hurricane relief?

    What is it with these progressives and skimming money for hurricane relief?? I guess they never let a good crisis go to waste.

      Milhouse in reply to elle. | April 9, 2018 at 12:04 am

      Um, no. If you donate for Haiti it goes to Haiti. If you donate for hurricane relief it goes to that. And if you donate to the Marxist Revolution it goes to that. All these transactions are processed by the same entity, and channeled appropriately. At least that’s what they’re saying. We are under no obligation to trust their honesty.

That said, there’s no problem with teaching summer campers about the left-of-center position on Israel’s post-1967 settlement project, provided its done in an age appropriate manner, includes factually-accurate materials, and presents opposing centrist and right-wing perspectives fairly.

Is it also OK to teach them about the KKK position on black people moving into previously-white neighborhoods, provided that it presents the civil liberties perspective as well?

    Edward in reply to Milhouse. | April 10, 2018 at 11:47 pm

    Why not? It is history and as long as the children being taught are of an age to understand the material and the material is true and it is a balanced approach (as you describe) with civil rights material to counter the KKK viewpoint, what can be wrong with teaching age appropriate history?

This bears repeating. It’s often said that anti-zionism is not the same as antisemitism, that it’s possible to oppose the existence of Israel without being an antisemite. True enough. I can think of exactly three grounds on which a non-antisemite might oppose zionism. Unfortunately all three should lead a person even more strongly to oppose the “Palestinian” cause, so none can serve as an excuse for those who support it instead.

Here are the three non-antisemitic grounds I can see for opposing zionism:

Anarchism: If one opposes the existence of all states, then naturally one will not make an exception for a Jewish one, or for an Arab one.

Pacifism: If one unconditionally opposes all violence, even in self-defense, then of course one will believe that the Jews are wrong to resist Arab attempts to kill them, and that Israel should just surrender and let the Arabs do what they will. But that same pacifism should make one even more critical of the Arabs whose aggression led to the conflict in the first place.

Religion: If one believes that God exiled the Jewish people from their land, and they have no right to leave that exile until God gives the word, then of course one will oppose the creation of Israel, just as one opposes criminals who break out of prison and return home. But by the same token one must oppose the trespassers and squatters who take advantage of the owner’s absence to break into his property and establish themselves.

    tom_swift in reply to Milhouse. | April 9, 2018 at 1:35 am

    I can think of exactly three grounds on which a non-antisemite might oppose zionism.

    You might want to work a bit on that part. You’ve managed to miss the obvious ones.

      Milhouse in reply to tom_swift. | April 9, 2018 at 3:29 am

      Such as? How can someone who supports the right of the French to establish and defend a state in France, and that of the Chinese to do so in China, oppose the right of the Jews to do so in Judæa, unless he is either a believer in the “three oaths” position within Judaism, or an antisemite?

so I ask the very interesting question once again. Under what umbrella are these funds being collected? The ifnotnow website collects through actblue charities. The key word there is charities.

No 990’s filed past 2015 tax year.

Actblue.com is a non-profit, but not a public charity. It is a c4, not a c3.

Who is collecting these donations for ifnotnow?? And why, when click on actblue charities am I being taken to actblue.com??????

    elle in reply to elle. | April 9, 2018 at 1:07 am

    so, if you click on this link for actblue charities
    http://blog.actblue.com/2016/02/17/actblue-charities-is-here/

    you are transferred to this webpage for actblue.com

    http://blog.actblue.com/

    A 501c4 having its best year ever during the same year it was assisting with hurricane relief efforts?

    As I noted above, they said, “We helped raise $108,108,700 for Democratic campaigns, progressive organizations, and nonprofits doing hurricane relief work — nearly double what we helped raise during the same period in the 2016 election cycle — from 3,178,688 contributions.”

    So did the c4 actblue.com collect money for hurricane Maria in 2017??? If so, whom did they distribute the money to?? Who banked the money for the donations collected hurricane Maria? Other non-profits they were assisting? If so, which ones? That figure is clearly included in their total of 108 million. Did it pass through their bank accounts?

    There should be 990’s showing the movement of the money collected for hurricane Maria. Actblue.com is taking credit for it. Where did those donations get banked and where is the 990 showing that it was paid out for hurricane relief.

The sight of that Jewish man (at least, he was wearing a kippah, was familiar enough with the words to pronounce them correctly, got the gestures right, and even the radical leftist addition he stuck in at the end showed he’d done this before) saying kaddish for fallen Nazis is enough to make me understand the concept of “fighting words”. If I were there I might well have assaulted him.

If it upsets you Milhouse, perhaps you might look into how they are funding these camps through organizations that have not filed 990’s since May 2016.

    Milhouse in reply to elle. | April 9, 2018 at 3:25 am

    Funding which camps? INN doesn’t run or fund any camps. Seriously, what are you talking about?

      elle in reply to Milhouse. | April 9, 2018 at 11:57 am

      Are you autistic? I ask seriously. You seem to get stuck on small points like this without being capable of seeing the big picture.

      Yes, you are right. I misspoke. INN does not run or fund camps. I was referring to the fact that they are funding counselors for these camps, not the camps themselves. I should not have said they funded the camps. Great catch Milhouse. Great catch. Most people would have understood that, given the article and all of my comments, but thanks for clearing that up for anyone who may not have been able to figure that out.

The wise homeowner sometimes turns on the lights in the kitchen in the middle of the night. The sight of roaches scattering is unappetizing, but is also a major indicator that action is needed.

A wise parent teaches a child to listen closely, as a means of detecting lies. A wise parent also has conversations with (at least) those in charge of arrangements for the child.

Thank you, professor, for shining a light on these foul creatures. The next step is in the hands of the parents.

    Miriam Elman in reply to Valerie. | April 9, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    Thank you Valerie. Indeed, I have today received word from a parent that she has now written to camp directors directly, attaching the LI post in her letter. That is exactly the response this post is meant to elicit. One would hope that the camp administration themselves would bar the doors to INN infiltration, but it will be up to the parents to insist.

Just so we are clear, you can’t collect money and not report it to the tax man. Likewise, you can’t collect donations without filling out a 990.

The INN website has a donate button and lists information for actblue charities, a 501c3 public charity. Where are it’s 990’s?

They seem to be linked (as I noted above) to actblue.com, which is not a public charity, but a non-profit to raise funds for democratic candidates and causes. It is legal for them to accept donations, but it is not a “charity” and donors can not deduct donations.

It seems, as I noted above, that actnow.com was including money raised for Hurricane Maria in their total fundraising numbers. Very odd, but s

Someone some where will have a record of the donations raised for Hurriane Maria.

Where is the money being raised on INN’s website going and what is that smell… follow the money.

    Milhouse in reply to elle. | April 9, 2018 at 3:49 am

    It seems like they’re just acting as a fundraising channel for the actual charities or campaigns or whatever, so it would be the ultimate recipient that wrote the receipt, which would thus be deductible if it was from a charity and not if it was from a campaign.

      elle in reply to Milhouse. | April 9, 2018 at 8:18 am

      Perhaps and I noted as much above. But it’s not as simple as you make it sound. The quote was “We helped raise $108,108,700 for Democratic campaigns, progressive organizations, and nonprofits doing hurricane relief work — nearly double what we helped raise during the same period in the 2016 election cycle — from 3,178,688 contributions.” http://blog.actblue.com/2017/10/06/q3-2017-unprecedented-engagement-across-the-board/

      That statement is VERY problematic in many ways. Donors to non-profits have a right to know what percentage of their money is going to operations (salaries, rent, fundraising) and how much is going to the cause they are donating to. To keep this simple, suppose a non-profit receives donations of $500,000 and pays itself $500,000 in salaries and fundraising costs. They didn’t make a profit, right?

      I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this, but the bottom line is you can’t raise money or donations without telling Uncle Sam. And you can’t comingle 501c3 and501c4 donations. So if they raised donations for Hurricane Maria, they need to maintain the money trail.

      If you care about stopping these people from training these camp counselors, I’d ask where are the 990’s ActBlue Charities? That is the entity listed on INN’s donate page. Why? Because they don’t seem have any since May 2016 and this stinks to high heaven.

We accidentally caught the recent INN “meeting report” after INN kids met with Rabbi Mitch Cohen, Director of Camp Ramah. This is an extremely dangerous and deceitful group in my opinion and there is no way that Ramah can accept their anti zionist message albeit they try to disguise it. I do believe however that Ramah needs to enrich their curriculum (if they haven’t already done so) to teach campers and counselors the danger and deceitfulness of this group and how to deal with it. Another scary thing I noticed. Strangely someone suggested that Camp Ramah campers watch and have discussions based on the Netflix Israeli show — Fauda. A few days later BDS began putting pressure on Netflix to drip Fauda — coincidence? (great show, not particularly pro Israel by the way). However I have another concern. With INN pulling on one side, Israel pushes Conservative kids away by mistreating them in Israel (going on for decades but most recently noted by Ron Lauder in his curious NY Times Op Ed). The typical response is “Israel has more important things to worry about — but I think we all had better start worrying about this as much as we properly worry about INN and JVP and their ilk as two sides of the coin when it comes to destroying the Jewish people. https://forward.com/…/egalitarian-worship-israel…/…

Challenge JVP and INN To END the Muslim Occupation Of Temple Mount before endorsing the Muslim Myth of Palestine

Why don’t they just get honest and admit the truth:
“Charoset: On Passover we eat this unique traditional dish to symbolize the cement used by Palestinian jihadists to build their terror tunnels.” /s

“…, provided its done in an age appropriate manner, includes factually-accurate materials, and presents opposing centrist and right-wing perspectives fairly.”

The above described presentation will be accompanied by a display of Unicorns and flying hogs.

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