University

“Despite the communal money being thrown at the BDS problem…, little is known about how the movement gets its domestic funding”

Despite the communal money being thrown at the BDS problem, and despite the headlines it has garnered around the world, little is known about how the movement gets its domestic funding. A month-long investigation by The Jewish Week reveals an opaque funding picture complicated by the fact that the main campus BDS group — Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) — is not a registered charity and does not have to report its funding to the Internal Revenue Service, and that university money flowing to BDS campus groups through student fees is anything but transparent.

Most of the identifiable resources for student groups such as SJP and MSA [Muslim Student Association] come from student funds distributed by the student government or another campus agency. Typically, they need only present a request with a budget reflecting their needs; they do not have to document any additional expenses or revenues.

But WESPAC, nestled in Westchester’s arts district, provides a window into how the BDS movement gets funded. It is one of a handful of groups that helps fund SJP, which carries out the wider BDS movement’s goal of criticizing Israeli policy in the West Bank, delegitimizing Israel through economic and academic boycotts and attacking its assertion that it is committed to democratic values. SJP and its supporters specialize in attention-grabbing guerrilla theater tactics that include “die-ins” (depicting civilian deaths in most recent war in Gaza), creating mock checkpoints (akin to those between Israel and the West Bank) and distributing “eviction” in dormitories (to highlight those Israeli officials place on Palestinian homes in east Jerusalem).

Mitchell Bard, “BDS Money Trail Suggests Opaque Funding Network”, The Jewish Week (16 October 2015), 28.