Recently, Max Blumenthal uncovered that Elie Wiesel accepted a $500,000 gift from John Hagee, the anti-Semitic pro-settler televangelist. Wiesel appears to have resisted Hagee’s blandishments to come to San Antonio to speak to his congregation as he admits in a video available at the Hagee website. But once Hagee waved that $500,000 check in his face, and after Bernie Madoff had already cleaned him out, Wiesel saw the benefit of making common cause with the Christian Zionist zealot. Wiesel is also a useful tool for Hagee, as the former provides the latter that veneer of Jewish respectability he needs in the face of massive criticism of his motives and his record of strange statements about Jews and the Holocaust.
Thanks to Didi Remez, I’ve been doing some digging among Hagee’s other gifts to Israeli organizations. In fairness, he does give gifts to hospitals and absorption centers, which are perfectly reasonable. But it is notable how much money and how extensively he gives to pro-settler and extreme rightist Israeli groups.
Besides Im Tirtzu ($200,000 over two years), the radical right smearmeisters who put a horn on Naomi Chazan in a disgusting ad in the Jerusalem Post and Hebrew language press, there are these others (some of which are listed here on page 12):
Gush Katif, $200,000
Young Israel, $150,000
Shurat Ha-Din, $100,000
Nefesh B’Nefesh, $1,000,000
Ariel (settlement), $500,000
Gush Etzion, $150,000
Gush Katif funds support the settler malcontents who resisted the Gaza withdrawal. It offers them financial support to continue their resistance to territorial compromise and defiance of the directives of Israel’s democratically elected government.
Young Israel is one of the most virulent U.S. Orthodox groups supporting the most extreme of the settlers and settlements.
Shurat Ha-Din is an Israeli-American group using “lawfare” to wage war against the Arab world. It sues Arab banks alleging that they accept deposits from militant groups in violation of U.S. law. The group also hosts “Intellitours” to Israel which include meetings with Shin Bet assassins who’ve perpetrated targeted assassinations.
Nefesh B’Nefesh resettles new immigrants who make aliya. It makes a special point of directing these immigrants to West Bank settlements and subsidizes their lives there. In effect, this is yet another means of providing ideological and financial support to the settler movement.
Ariel and Gush Etzion are two of the larger settlements in the West Bank. Hagee’s Ariel gift supported a new conference center. Again, providing critical infrastructure support strengthens the settler enterprise.
I should add that these are only the publicly announced gifts. Neither Christians United for Israel nor John Hagee Ministries file 990 IRS forms, claiming they are exempt due to being a church. As far as CUFI is concerned, this appears to be an abuse of the system as it is certainly not a church. Rather it is a pro-Israel political-theological group advocating on behalf of the settler movement and Israel’s far right. Of course, the IRS does nothing to police such abuse as I’ve noted here in similar cases regarding other pro-settler U.S. non-profits.
Since Hagee’s giving is not transparent he could be giving much, much more and to even more radical groups than the ones he publicly acknowledges. Only he knows and he’s not telling.
Maybe we should ask Elie Wiesel how he feels being among such a hit parade of Israeli Jewish extremists, not to mention taking tzedakah from the bizarro Hagee himself.