Electronic Intifada (EI) is ‘a major online media outlet active in promoting the Palestinian agenda with news articles and commentary’ (NGO Monitor). It was founded in 2001 by Nigel Parry, Ali Abunimah, Arjan El Fassed and Laurie King-Irani. Of the four, the only one actively involved with EI is Ali Abunimah, who is Executive Director.
‘The Electronic Intifada aims to enable a growing, worldwide network of human rights and media activists to challenge myth, spin, and distortion about Palestinians and Palestinian rights disseminated by Israel’s official spokespersons and allied pro-Israeli organizations in North America and Europe.’
Electronic Intifada, however, is viewed with some suspicion by many people following events in Palestine and the wider Middle East, who feel that EI puts Zionist interests above those of Palestine, including EI’s support for the war on Palestine’s longtime friend and ally Syria. Why do so many of EI’s positions defend the interests of very entity it is supposed to be opposing? The solution is simple: follow the money.
How EI is funded by George Soros
A good deal of the money going into Electronic Intifada is provided by George Soros, or by foundations closely associated with Soros. Soros is the ‘philanthropist’ who funds NGOs for the purposes of facilitating both war and the mass movement of people (he is also a major funder of Facebook’s fakenews fact checker).
Soros sponsors EI via a chain of non-government organisations. The short description of the relationship is as follows:
EI< MECCS<Network for Good/Tides<Open Society<George Soros
According to the EI website, ‘Readers donate most of the funds that support the work of The Electronic Intifada. Private foundations have given additional support. The publication receives no funds from any government or political party.’
Funds to EI are channeled though the Middle East Cultural and Charitable Society (MECCS), whose president is Ali Abunimah, founder and executive director of EI. MECCS’ mission, according to its tax returns, is to ‘educate the public in an effort to eliminate prejudice and discrimination’. Given that MECCS seems to have been founded two or three years after EI, it could be said that EI gave birth to its parent company.
The most recent tax return available from Citizen Audit for MECCS is from 2014. It declares an income (p. 3) of 538,776, the bulk of which comes from grants and donations. These funds were allocated to two projects. 288,602 for the EI Project (Electronic Intifada) and $35,945 for the Palestine Film Festival. Part I shows remuneration of $42,393 for one unnamed officer, while Part VIIA shows that three received payment: Ali Abunimah (president), $45,500; Donald Veach (treasurer), $2,500; Maureen Murphy (Managing Editor), $38,812. In any case it seems MECCS ended the year in profit.
The earliest tax return available for MECCS is from 2005-7, also showing Ali Abunimah as president (p.5.). There were more activities supported then, with a lesser percentage going to EI, which now receives the bulk of the funds.
Citizen Audit lists two funders for MECCS: Network for Good and Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA).
Network for Good is an online fundraising platform for charities and non-profit organizations, whose stated mission is ‘To unleash generosity and drive increased financial resources to charitable organisations via digital platforms’. Network for Good’s declared income in the 2014-15 financial year was 253,977, 816. The same return shows a grant to MECCS of $209,673.
In 2005 Network for Good absorbed Groundspring, another online charitable platform, founded by the Tides Foundation in 1999. Tides is an Open Society foundation, founded by Drummond Pikes in 1976. Pikes was CEO of all 6 branches of the Tides family until 2010. Drummond Pikes has strong links, and a past treasurer, with George Soros’s Democratic alliance, which has been described as Soros’s billionaires club for revolution and a vast left-wing conspiracy.
Network for Good is also an Open Society Foundation, at least since the merger with Groundspring. It works closely with the Tides Foundation – Drummond Pike and other Tides personnel serve on the board, along with representatives of AOL.
The Tides Foundation itself gives regularly to MECCS: $25,000 in 2016, $30,000 in 2015, and $15,000 in 2014.
Both Network for Good and Tides have given to the Clinton Foundation. https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/clinton-foundation-donor-list/
Open Society Foundations is George Soros’s grantmaking network.
Soros used his fortune to create the Open Society Foundations—a network of foundations, partners, and projects in more than 100 countries (Open Society Foundations, Staff).
MECCS is also funded by the Middle East Childrens Alliance (MECA), which describes itself as a non-profit organisation working for the rights and well-being of children in the Middle East. In its 2014 tax return, MECA declared an income of 3,336,819. Among the projects described in 4b, p.2 (total cost $662,237) it included ‘a grant to Electronic Intifada for providing information and and analysis of current events in Palestine readily available to US audiences’.
MECA does not declare its funders, so there is a complete lack of transparency and accountability, at least according to NGO Monitor.
According to Citizen Audit, MECA is funded by the Tarbell Family Foundation, Schwab Charitable Trust, Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment, Network for Good and the Firedoll Foundation. Schwab, Rose, NFG and Firedoll are often joint funders with Network for Peace – in this list of donors to Jewish Voices for Peace, Schwab and Firedoll feature along with Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, Network for Good and Tides.
Donors to Open Society’s Tides include Schwab Charitable Trust, Rose Foundation, Network for Good and Firedoll Foundation, along with the Rockefeller Fund. Open Society itself gave 23 million, but in 2006 California Endowment gave a whopping $194,563,305. California Endowment works closely with Open Society on such ventures as the Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training (GIFT)_Conference 2012.
According to NGO Monitor, the Rockefeller Fund gave $160,000 to MECA in 2016.
NGO Monitor reports other donations to Electronic Intifada, e.g. from the Crossroads fund, and the Dutch government, a sizable €150,000 between 2006 and 2009, via the inter-church group ICCO.
What does Elecronic Intifada give its donors in return?
Electronic Intifada was ostensibly founded to serve the Palestinian cause. Many of its positions and priorities, however, are in sympathy with those of Israel, Zionism and/or the corporations.
The war on Syria favours Israel’s interests as it weakens Palestine’s staunchest ally and offers opportunities for territorial expansion, e.g. in the Golan Heights. Israel supports the war on Syria by offering services, including medical treatment, to terrorist groups, and by bombing Syrian positions.
EI has been essentially hostile to the Syrian government position, and so supportive of Israel’s. The ‘Bashar eats babies’ line has been warmly endorsed:
Syria’s Bashar al Assad is compared with Israel’s former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert:
Asa Winstanly, as recently as December 2016, retweeted Vijay Prashad’s article on the ‘fall’ of Aleppo, seen as liberation by the people of Aleppo, but the ‘end of Syria’ by Syria’s enemies.
EI published several articles on Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp near Damascus, all portraying the Syrian government or forces as villains, and which have excited a strong response from critics, for example On the Subject of Yarmouk Ali Abunimah Continues to Peddle Absolutely One-sided Pro-West Propaganda.
EI’s active promotion of the view that Palestinians support the Syrian ‘revolution’ was confronted by Jonathan Azaziah as recently as May 2016. Azaziah refers to
‘the mainstream narrative that Electronic “Intifada”, Jewish supremacist Mondoweiss and their cohorts have attempted to ram down our throats about Syria from the start of this dark, barbaric conspiracy. That is, Palestinians are in lockstep with the NATO-Zionist “Syrian revolution”…’
EI has had nothing to say about the Syrian Palestinian brigade Liwa al Quds which is fighting alongside the Syrian Arab Army.
MP Jo Cox, who was murdered in 2010, was both a supporter of Palestinian rights and a hard-line anti-Syria activist, pushing strongly for a Libya style no-fly zone zone.
With this objective in mind it must start from the premise that we must address the twin horrors of ISIS and of Assad. Although the facts get little attention, it is Assad who is responsible for 75% of the civilians killed – not ISIS – and the vast majority of refugees are fleeing from him and his barrel bombs (Jo Cox, 2015).
Cox nominated the fake humanitarian propaganda construct, the White Helmets, for a Nobel Peace prize. She and her husband had both worked for Oxfam, and Brendan Cox moved on to Save the Children, both these organisations being funded by George Soros. EI’s eulogy to Jo Cox makes no mention of her support for the White Helmets, and certainly not of her connections with George Soros.
Jewish sensibilities are seen by Electronic Intifada as the first priority for Palestinians and their supporters. Abunimah makes this clear in his statement that Palestinian Rights are Incompatible with Any Form Of Racism. EI joins with Jewish Voices for Peace (JVP) , likewise Soros and Rockefeller-funded, in demonising and excluding anyone who steps over a certain line, i.e. who is not sufficiently sensitive to Jewish feelings: Alison Weir of If Americans Knew; Greta Berlin, co-founder of the Free Gaza movement, Jews such as Gilad Atzmon and holocaust sceptic Paul Eisen, and Palestinians such as Nahida Izaat.
It is a matter of debate which is most inappropriate: to dictate to Jews about antisemitism, or to preach to Palestinians about why they should consider the feelings of proponents of the racist entity, Israel.
A particularly vicious attack was made on Gilad Atzmon, who wrote about Jewish power in his book The Wandering Who? In 13 March 2012 EI published an article, believed to be drafted by Ali Abunimah, a ‘disavowal‘ of Gilad Atzmon.
‘We reaffirm that there is no room in this historic and foundational analysis of our struggle for any attacks on our Jewish allies, Jews, or Judaism; nor denying the Holocaust; nor allying in any way shape or form with any conspiracy theories …’
Abunimah, speaking on behalf of the Palestinian struggle, sets out as a priority for that struggle avoidance of anything that might threaten the state of Israel, including ‘conspiracies’, presumably with reference to possible Mossad involvement in crimes abroad or the activities of the Rothschild family who created the state of Israel.
Roger Tucker expressed the feelings of many:
The recent open letter Granting No Quarter: A Call for the Disavowal of the Racism and Antisemitism of Gilad Atzmon, apparently written by Ali Abunimah, has come as a shock to many people, including yours truly. Not only have the Zionists colonized Palestine and subjected them to a permanent campaign of genocide, but as anyone who has been paying attention knows, they have colonized the Western democracies, turning them into obedient puppets. Now it appears that they have also colonized the Palestine Solidarity movement.
The biggest threat to Israel is that people should question the actions of its corporate funders, or the holocaust money spinner. EI accordingly earmarks special vituperation for people who wrote about Jewish power, like Gilad Atzmon, or who cast doubt on the holocaust narrative, like Paul Eisen, a Jew but described as a vile antisemite by EI, attract particular vituperation from Electronic Intifada.
Whatever one’s views of the holocaust or holocaust research, it cannot be denied that it played an enormous role in creating acceptance for the creation of Israel after the war, and is still a factor in funding and political support for Israel. It is, therefore, inappropriate for anyone claiming to be a supporter of Palestine to see protecting its status as a major priority.
Norman Finkelstein who wrote the Holocaust Industry, does not escape:
It goes without saying that criticising the activities of sponsor George Soros could only stem from racism in EI’s view:
Ali Abunimah is particularly sensitive to references to Soros funding:
Even Donald Trump does not escape. Leaving side the requirement to support their funder’s anti-Trump campaign, there are plenty of valid reasons why these ‘pro-Palestinian’ activists should be pessimistic about a Trump presidency. Bizarrely, for EI a major criticism of Trump, commonly held to be too much in the thrall of Israel and AIPAC, is that he is not doing enough to combat … antisemitism:
The best answer to EI and its corrupted priorities comes from Nahida Izzat in her powerful About Antisemitism, which serves as a personal statement on the whole issue of Palestine.
The language and priorities of Electronic Intifada are in most instances identical to that of the most extreme Zionist. The editors have made it crystal clear that their first duty is to their corporate sponsors, and certainly not to the Palestinian people.
See also: Ali Abunimah and the Zionist Narrative,