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The Famed ‘Arab Street’ Comes to America

And it’s being funded by George Soros and the Rockefeller Foundation

The Scroll
December 01, 2023
Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from the November 30, 2023 edition of The Scroll, Tablet’s daily afternoon newsletter. Click here to subscribe. 

Protestors in masks and keffiyehs disrupted the Christmas-tree lighting in New York City’s Rockefeller Center Wednesday night and clashed with police as part of a “Flood the Tree Lighting for Gaza” rally, named in celebration of the Hamas attacks on Oct. 7. The journalist Julio Rosas, whose writeup of the protest you can read in Tablet, was at the scene and captured some choice moments on camera, including this video of a protestor carrying a flaming NYPD hat.

Aside from the familiar scenes of violence, intimidation, and public disorder, there was something else about Wednesday night’s rally that fit a pattern from similar recent events: These supposedly spontaneous violent outbursts all show signs of being funded and backed by powerful progressive donors. The question, then, is who’s funding the pro-Hamas protests in U.S. cities?

Before “Flood the Tree Lighting”—an event deliberately planned to disrupt the annual Christmas tradition that has been taking place since 1933—there were earlier protests in the city named for Hamas’ Oct. 7 “Al-Aqsa Flood” operation. There was a “Flood Manhattan for Gaza” protest on Nov. 10, a “Flood Brooklyn for Gaza” march on Oct. 28, and another “Flood Brooklyn for Gaza” rally on Oct. 21. That’s in addition to the, well, flood of anti-Israel protests, rallies, sit-ins, and criminal blockades across the country since the start of the current war. A naive observer would be forgiven for thinking that some large proportion of the American public had recently converted to violent support for Palestinian terrorism.

The good news is that hasn’t happened. Recent public opinion polling shows that despite the seemingly endless videos of activists declaring Hamas a legitimate “resistance movement,” the terrorist group’s approval rating in the United States sits at about 1%. The bad news is that anti-Zionists from the far-left fringe don’t need organic public support because they’re backed by an opaque network of wealthy foundations, NGOs, and slush funds—as well as by New York City’s own City Council, which a new report in the New York Post reveals has given millions of dollars to four nonprofits that helped organize the Hamas-themed “Flood” protests in the city. 

As a matter of public record, it’s important to know exactly which organizations have been involved in these events—with New York’s City Council actively funding the fire-starting, who knows, next year one of these groups might win an award for good citizenship.

Starting locally in New York City, here’s a quick rundown of some of the organizations receiving taxpayer funds:

  • The Arab American Association, formerly directed by the anti-Israel activist Linda Sarsour, helped to organize the Oct. 21 “Flood Brooklyn for Gaza” rally in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. The association has received $6.8 million in New York City funds since 2010 and $3 million in the past two years for “criminal justice services, adult literacy programs, and mental health aid.”
  • The Muslim American Society of New York, which also helped plan the Bay Ridge protest, has received $260,000 in city contracts and funding from the city council.
  • Desis Rising Up and Moving, which along with the Democratic Socialists of America organized an Oct. 20 protest that blocked traffic on Fifth Avenue, received $390,000 from the city.
  • The Tides Center, the dark-money group that receives money from George Soros, Peter Buffett, and other progressive billionaires, earned more than $1.2 million since 2010 from contracts with the Department of Education and other city agencies.

Zooming out to the national level, here are some of the other “grassroots” groups—and their billionaire backers—active in organizing the anti-Israel protests in U.S. cities:

  • Jewish Voice for Peace, the “Jewish” anti-Zionist group that helped organize the violent Nov. 16 protest outside the Democratic National Committee headquarters and the Oct. 18 rally at the U.S. Capitol, has received $650,000 from George Soros’ Open Society Foundation, $350,000 from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and smaller donations from Tides and the charitable wings of Vanguard, Fidelity, and Morgan Stanley.
  • IfNotNow, JVP’s smaller and more radical partner, has received $400,000 from Soros, $160,000 from the Rockefellers, and “tens of thousands” from the Sixteen Thirty Fund, managed by the Democratic dark-money network Arabella Advisors.
  • Samidoun, which was banned from Germany in October and is widely alleged to be a front for the Popular Liberation Front for Palestine, a U.S.-designated terror group, is a “fiscal sponsor” of the Alliance for Global Justice, a left-wing NGO that has received millions in donations from funds in the Tides and Arabella networks. The fiscal sponsorship arrangement means that for legal and tax purposes, Samidoun is not an independent organization but a subsidiary of the AFGJ. Samidoun has also taken donations from James “Fergie” Chambers, the Communist multimillionaire and partial heir to the Cox family fortune.
  • The Arab Resource and Organizing Center, which organized the blockade of an Israel-bound military ship in Tacoma, Washington, and handed out anti-Israel scripts at the Oakland City Council meeting covered in yesterday’s edition of The Scroll, is a fiscal sponsorship of Tides.
  • The Adalah Justice Project, which organized sit-ins in the offices of House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Sen. Ro Khanna (D-CA), is also a fiscal sponsor of Tides. In 2021, Adalah partnered with MPower Change, Linda Sarsour’s new organization, to launch the “Gaza is Palestine” initiative, which according to its website works to “influence media, policy, and grassroots pressure to keep the stories of Palestinian families decimated by Israeli state violence in the public eye.”
  • The People’s Forum, a far-left New York event space that has organized several anti-Israel rallies since Oct. 7, is almost exclusively funded by Neville Roy Singham, a Marxist tech millionaire with ties to the Chinese Communist Party.

We’ll keep you updated as more of these connections are revealed.

Tablet’s afternoon newsletter edited by Jacob Siegel and Park MacDougald.

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