Following recent reports that the Ford Foundation has funded organizations that openly instigate anti-Semitism, call for the destruction of Israel, or engage in the promotion of violence, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) has called on the Foundation to better monitor the organizations that benefit from its funding. Nadler is currently circulating a letter for members of Congress to sign that urges the Foundation to ensure that its grantees are not using their donations to promote an anti-Semitic agenda.
While Nadler acknowledges that the Ford Foundation is a preeminent charitable organization that has helped millions of people overcome poverty, hunger, and a lack of access to quality health care and education, the Congressman questioned how such a philanthropic entity can turn a blind eye when confronted with clear evidence that its grant recipients have used its funding to support bigotry and the incitement of violence.
"Recent reports showing that the Ford Foundation's charitable giving includes organizations that promote anti-Semitism are extremely disturbing," said Nadler. "While I do not agree with the political beliefs of these organizations, I believe in their right to express their political views. However, when those expressions cross the line into bigotry or the promotion of violence, as have been documented in these cases, the Ford Foundation must take a strong stand by eliminating their funding."
According to a four-part Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) report, the Ford Foundation has funded the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), which calls for an international boycott against Israel and to work to label Israel as an illegitimate state. The report states that the Ford Foundation has also funded the Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment, also known as LAW, which was one of the principal players in undermining important international efforts to fight bigotry at the United Nations World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance, held in Durban, South Africa in 2001. United Nations Watch has stated, "LAW was instrumental in creating an anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic focus at Durban." The reports also find that Ford grantees promote terrorist organizations on their websites and refuse to sign a U.S. government pledge not to engage in terrorist activity.
The letter being circulated by Nadler asks the Ford Foundation to undertake immediately a public review of its grantees' activities to ensure that organizations engaged in the promotion of hate and/or violence, including those actively supporting anti-Semitism or the denial of the legitimacy of Israel's existence, do not receive funding. Where the facts indicate that these funds have been used for such illegitimate purposes, the letter strongly urges the Foundation immediately to stop the funding and demand a return of all funds used for improper purposes.
Nadler stated, "The promotion of bigotry and violence is antithetical to the goals of the Ford Foundation. The cause of peace and human rights in the Middle East can never be advanced by organizations that actively reject reconciliation, support violence, and openly obstruct the work of international organizations seeking to eliminate racism. Whatever the Ford Foundation's understanding may have been when these grants were first made, I am concerned that there appears to have been no effort to monitor the grantees to ensure that funds were used for legitimate purposes."