In early September 2019, Legal Insurrection published our half of a joint-investigation of anti-Israel groups with The Washington Free Beacon.

Our research—reported in Investigation: Anti- ICE “Never Again Action” Not The Spontaneous Grassroots Group It Claims To Be—showed that the organization Never Again Action, a group claiming that Immigration and Customs Enforcement operates Nazi-esque “concentration camps” and must thus be “shut down”, is not the immigration-focused coalition it purports to be.

Instead, “Never Again Action bears all the signs of movement hijacking by anti-Israel activists with pre-existing and current relationships who saw an opportunity to position themselves within a broader movement.”

In an online fundraising appeal, Never Again Action has now announced that it will become an official non-profit group—and that it would not exist if not for the organizing by the leadership of anti-Israel activists of IfNotNow.

In our September investigation, we found:

Over the past several months, Never Again Action (NAA), a purportedly spontaneous grassroots Jewish group, has burst into the public eye by staging and videotaping protests at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other government facilities across the country…

NAA is a repackaging of the same activists who organize with far-left, anti-Israel groups such as IfNotNow (INN), American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), and CodePink. There is every reason to believe that these obsessive anti-Israel activists have a hidden agenda: to insert themselves at the forefront of the immigration issue to hijack the movement and turn it against Israel, as has been done repeatedly since the Ferguson riots in 2014. NAA is not just astroturf, it’s a deception.

And indeed, on October 1st, Never Again Action openly confirmed what our work had shown. In a fundraising appeal published on the group’s Medium feed, the group declared that its initial sign-up form

was launched by Jewish organizers in both [Movimiento] Cosecha & IfNotNow. Immediately after the form started to get traction, we connected with more Cosecha organizers to ask them how we could utilize the energy in the Jewish community to support their work. It was through these deep relationships between Jewish organizers and immigrant organizers that Never Again Action was born.

Never Again Action organizer Sophie Ellman-Golan tweeted the same.

No surprises there; the two groups have shared much more than training and staff. In fact, in September, we discovered that

[Never Again Again]’s homepage lists the organization as part of The Action Network, an online marketing and non-profit management platform that proudly proclaims, “The Action Network is only open for progressive individuals, organizations, and candidates. We’re not interested in helping your opponents win.” A look through The Action Network’s client (or “partner“) list shows a number of well-established, well-funded non-profits…Given that many of the listed partners identify themselves as ‘intersectional’ groups (including the Women’s March and Black Lives Matter), it comes as no surprise that lots of The Action Network partners have already worked together.

One of The Action Network’s listed partners is—you guessed it—IfNotNow (INN).

You might remember INN from our earlier coverage. It’s a particularly virulent anti-Israel organization founded in 2014, ostensibly in response to Operation Protective Edge (the third Hamas-Israel war). The group claims to be composed of  “young Jews” who were “moved to act by moral anguish” in response to the fighting in Gaza; much like Jewish Voice for Peace, INN participants trumpet their own so-called Jewishness as a way to inoculate themselves against charges of anti-Semitism.

In early October 2019, IfNotNow’s “young Jews” announced that Never Again Action will continue its INN-inspired activities—as an official non-profit. Never Again Action’s fundraising appeal revealed that

Never Again Action leaders came together at the end of 5779 to make a decision: we are in this fight for the long-haul. We are adding full time capacity and building the infrastructure that we need to support thousands of people to do whatever it takes to end this crisis.

https://secure.actblue.com/donate/never-again-action?refcode=medium-post

NAA’s fundraising appeal showed that it will continue to be a conduit through which IfNotNow can hijack progressive causes for the anti-Israel movement. As Israeli journalist and commentator Yisrael Medad summed up in a recent op-ed:

 …what we have here is a form of “don’t-blame-us-as-we’re-lefties” and pointing the finger at … Israel. [IfNotNow and friends] seem to prefer a false intersectionality paradigm, seeking unity and comradeship with movements, politicians and leaders who couldn’t care less for Jews as Jews. And they could care even less for Israel. Our youthful Jewish neo-Bundists are repeating errors made a century ago without learning anything from that experience. They are loud on Jews who hold different political views but not very effective against anti-Semites. Worse, they have linked up with political forces who express indications of anti-Semitism, but are blind to that since it is all within the camp of the left.

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Samantha Mandeles is Senior Researcher and Outreach Director at the Legal Insurrection Foundation.

 
 
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