Is Foreign Money Illegally Funding A Far Left Organization In Jerusalem?


One of the best known organizations committed to keeping Jews from lawfully purchasing land in Jerusalem is Ir Amim. Founded in 2000, the organization seeks to divide Jerusalem, hand away Jewish or Israeli sovereignty, stop Jews from living in any neighborhood of Jerusalem, and paint the work of Ateret Cohanim as racist. Ir Amim has always been a well funded organization, with a highly dedicated staff of radical leftists focused on inciting hate against the Jews of the Shiloach and other neighborhoods in the heart of Jerusalem.

Ir Amim singles out Ateret Cohanim and Elad on its site, stating the following:

Elad and Ateret Cohanim are among the organizations that have received properties from state authorities. These private bodies are actually executive arms of Israel’s governments who carry out their policy in East Jerusalem while utilizing official government apparatuses for the purchase, population, and security of the settlements. Since the 1980s, the state has transferred and facilitated the transfer of properties inhabited or owned by Palestinians to right-wing societies through the Custodian of Absentee Property, the Custodian General, the Jewish National Fund, and other bodies. Silwan/City of David epitomizes the use of these state mechanisms, where all of the aforementioned practices have been used. The transfer of property from the state has often been carried out through a manipulative use of the law or even its circumvention.”

Ir Amim erroneously states that Ateret Cohanim uses manipulative tactics or even circumvents the law. Nothing can be further from the truth. Ateret Cohanim facilitates ideological investments in what are former Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem. The Arab sellers, notwithstanding immoral and illegal official Moslem edicts forbidding sales to Jews, receive above market value for their property. Even when the courts have decided in the favor of former Jewish property owners, Ateret Cohanim attempts to find investors willing to reimburse the squatters.

Ir Amim disregards history and current reality in Jerusalem in order to create a false narrative that paints the Jewish people as foreigners in their own ancient capital.

With all of that, a deeper issue has arisen in recent years. Where does this organization get so much funding from? After all, it lacks any broad support in Israel. The answer is shocking.

NGO Monitor released a report in December 2021 stating the following regarding who donates to Ir Amim:

“Donors include the European Union, Sweden, Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (joint funding from Sweden, Switzerland, Canada, Denmark, and the Netherlands), Norway, Bread for the World- EED (Germany), New Israel Fund, Social Justice Fund, Open Society Institute, Jewish Funders Network, and others.”

According to Israeli law, it is illegal for foreign bodies to aid “palestinian” land grabs in sovereign Israeli territory including Area C in Judea and Samaria. However, this sort of funding has been happening for a while.

The funding for Ir Amim is only the tip of the iceberg. Honest Reporting released a comprehensive report showing how this sort of funding is widespread in an orchestrated to attempt to subvert Israeli control throughout area C. While Jerusalem is sovereign Israeli territory according to Israeli Law, international bodies including the EU do not recognize it as such thereby lumping it together with the rest of Area C.

The report discusses foreign aid to the “palestinian” movement in order to help it grab and squat upon Jewish and Israeli land. “The foreign aid effort as part of this campaign includes political support, media and diplomatic outreach support, a legal campaign, preparation and advancement of outline plans (public construction, infrastructure, employment, education and agriculture), completion of the registration of the lands on the part of the PA, Authority, and support for communities (including the Bedouins).”

The report continues: “We estimate that this foreign funding of the various programs totals approximately 0.5 billion euros. This is an organized, multilateral effort, supported by foreign governments,” the report said, naming the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, France, Switzerland, Britain, Belgium, German, Turkey, Qatar, Jordan and donors.”

Ir Amim’s fully funded machine of half truths, built to create a web of lies as well as a network of disruption focused on harming lawful Jewish neighborhoods can be considered an arm of an international campaign to wrest the Land of Israel from the hands of it rightful heirs – the Jewish people.

More recent reports after deeper investigations have found that Ir Amim may not have fully advised the authorities about their donation sources and omitting important details.

Making matters more questionable about Ir Amim, is the fact that in some years the radical leftwing group received 80-90% of its funding from overseas and primarily European sources. As such they don’t “represent “ any Israeli group or population but rather simply give “services” to certain European governments and authorities (a tax issue and problem itself)and represents these European governments and groups.

“The chutzpah and arrogance of governments like Germany (If all governments!!) to try and dictate matters in our capital city? There are even huge legal questions of whether Ir Amim has any standing whatsoever or has a right to open up cases or if they can even go to an Israeli court claiming to represent Israeli interests if most of their funding is foreign,” says Daniel Luria, Executive Director of Ateret Cohanim.

“There are huge tax questions, huge legal questions, huge ethical questions surrounding Ir Amim. It’s about time that the authorities started to really investigate and crack down on this radical left group and others like them in the fringe receiving so much foreign funding.”

Article by David Mark

David is Ateret Cohanim's Director of Communications. He is a long time Land of Israel Activist, writer and film maker.

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