Barry Shaw: Who Is Funding the Tel Aviv Protests? And Is It Legal?

Barry Shaw
Barry Shaw,
International Public Diplomacy Director at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies

You would be right to think that the repetitive Tel Aviv protest movement is well-funded. It takes a large budget to constantly close a central part of Israel’s major city, to erect and dismantle stages, the purchase or hire of sounds systems, transportation, equipment, flags, banners, billboards, and advertising costs.

Researchers have exposed Israeli-based, but foreign-funded, NGOs that falsely use the language of human rights to demonize the Jewish state.

Israeli and foreign NGOs claiming to represent liberal democratic values end up employing the most radical anti-democratic methods to achieve their anti-democratic goals.

So, who is behind the financing and what are their motives?

Darkenu claims to be the largest non-partisan civil society movement in Israel. Its manifesto states that they organize, amplify, and empower the moderate majority of Israelis, both Jewish and Arab, to exert influence on government policy and on the public discourse.

According to the results of the November 2023 Israeli national election, they do not represent the majority of the voting public at all.

Their Mission Statement talks about a “foundation of mutual respect and responsibility,” but their noisy protests outside the private homes of government officials do not exemplify mutual respect, nor responsibility.

As of 2022, 54% of Darkenu’s donations came from abroad, according to GuideStar, and this NGO is closely tied to One Voice, the US non-profit that sent a team to Tel Aviv to counter Benjamin Netanyahu’s election campaign back in 2015.

The benignly named Peaceworks Foundation claims its aim is to create peace through business in conflict regions. But in Israel it has been actively engaged in political conflict through its financial support of the One Voice Movement.

In 2013, the Obama State Department, in a political act of revenge against Netanyahu’s public objection to Obama’s faulted Iran deal, provided One Voice with a six-figure dollar funding campaign to interfere in the Israeli election against Israel’s popular leader who had challenged Obama over his fatally flawed Iran deal.

OneVoice elicited controversy in 2015 over its support for the anti-Netanyahu political campaign Victory15.

OneVoice Israel’s Executive Director Polly Bronstein said prior to the November 2022 national election, “We believe that it’s critical that the majority of Israelis who are concerned about the numerous security and socio-economic challenges we face have their voices heard in the next election. We need a prime minister and a government who will be responsive to the people.”

She got one. His name was Benjamin Netanyahu.

Polly Bronstein is also the Executive Director of Darkenu with a mission to build, organize and mobilize the Israeli moderate camp,” which, from its recent actions, have been far from moderate.

Darkenu received financial and strategic support from OneVoice, one of the two primary beneficiaries of the $15 million donated to Israeli and Palestinian causes since 2015.

According to FARA filings, Blue & White Future is a Tel Aviv-based non-profit that coordinates crowdfunding and financing for the well-organized and financed protest movement which has little base in Jerusalem and other major Israeli cities.

Politico reported that, according to DOJ filings, Blue and White Future is led by activist Eran Schwartz, and its board includes Israeli entrepreneur Orni Petruska and Gilad Sher, a former chief of staff to ex-Prime Minister Ehud Barak — both of whom are also listed as Blue White Future board members.

Ehud Barak is a recently revealed video, incited scenes that would include Jewish bodies floating on the Yarkon River in Tel Aviv as part of a coup in which he promoted himself as its leader.

Although this protest movement hides behind an opposition to proposed judicial reforms, it has revealed itself to be a coup attempt to depose by all means the current Netanyahu-government.

In July, the protest organization “Kaplan Force” declared they were “moving from defense to attack” against what they called “a dictatorship,” a strange name for a duly and democratically elected government.

One would have thought that a group of plotters leading a minority to usurp power from an elected government are the anarchists, but much of the slogans, language, and actions of the minority opposition are false and hypocritical.

Kaplan Force was named after the Tel Aviv location they chose to be the visible geographic location of their protest, a location capable of causing major traffic disruption being close to the Ayalon freeway which they regularly close stopping and inconveniencing millions of Israelis from reaching their destinations be they homes, hospitals, family events, airports, etc.

The organizers reckoned the added TV coverage would highlight their protests. What it has done has been to drive even more Israelis away from their cause.

The Blue & White Future was originally formed in 2009 to promote a two-state solution by campaigning for Israel to surrender more territory, and by trying to repatriate Israelis from areas they choose to live to express their Zionism, in the cause of a provably non-existent peace.

Recently, B&W has donated over 27 million shekels to the anti-government protest movement. Its conduits are funding over 150 different protest groups around the country, according to MIDA, the Israeli intelligence and security magazine.

Sponsored anti-government activists tried to bankrupt Israel and destroy the country’s economy by transferring huge sums of hi-tech investment from Israel to Silicon Valley, the stated ultimate aim of one group of hi-tech members of the anti-Bibi protest. This, in the name of democracy.

Blue & White Future promotes itself as being an NGO “established with the aim of promoting democratic values in Israel.” However, much of what it is funding has been anti-democratic in the extreme.

It is one thing to support “two-state solution for two peoples,” a fallacy that has totally failed given the fifty years evidence of malevolent and deadly Palestinian intentions against Jews and Israel. It is quite another to claim that Blue & White is a puritan NGO with democracy at its heart as it finances activists that openly declare their intention to ruin Israel economically and strategically, leaving our skies and our borders defenseless.

Much of the NIS 27 million in Blue & White crowdfunding was spent promoting anti-government protests. Much of that money came from foreign sources.

This raises the question, is Blue & White now operating in violation of both Israel and perhaps US laws?

It is one thing to appeal for funds in support of a two-state solution. It is quite another to be formed for that purpose, and then raise substantial amounts of money for a completely different cause, and not one registered in the conditions of the Israeli Registrar of Associations.

According to MIDA, Blue & White Future has been operating this year as a protest funding operation which is outside of its stated and approved goals.

MIDA has reached out both to Blue & White and to the Registrar of Associations for explanations.

So far neither has responded to MIDA’s request.

Barry Shaw,

Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.

Barry Shaw

Barry Shaw is the Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies. He is also the author of ‘Fighting Hamas, BDS and Anti-Semitism’ and ‘BDS for IDIOTS’ both available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.

Related Articles

Back to top button

Please disable ad blocker.

We work hard to write our articles and provide you with the content you enjoy. The ads on the site allow us to continue our work while feeding our families. If you'd please whitelist our site in your ad blocker or remove your ad blocker altogether, we'd greatly appreciate it. Thank you!