NGO Monitor Analysis (Vol. 2 No. 4) 5 December
Review of Congressional Investigation
against Ford Foundation
As a result of a concerted research effort by
several bodies, including NGO Monitor, Congressmen Jerrold Nadler
and Rick Santorum, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, have
launched a campaign
to investigate the Ford Foundation's funding of anti-Semitic and
highly political anti-Israel NGOs. A major pillar of the enquiry
will be the legality of tax-exempt funding of these extremist groups.
After meeting with Nadler, Ford president, Susan
Berresford acknowledged that she did not have a clear picture of
all grantees' activities and stated that she was "disgusted" at
the antisemitic atmosphere of the 2001 United Nations conference
on racism in Durban, South Africa.
Ford's donation money was instrumental in funding
NGOs responsible for the hate-filled anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist
literature used at the NGO Forum that eclipsed the World
Conference against Racism held in Durban in 2001. Some of the
main protagonists include Adalah
($200,000), Al-Mezan ($100,000), and PNGO.
NGO Monitor first drew public attention to Ford's
problematic activities in the Middle East in an article published
15 July 2003, http://ngo-monitor.org/editions/v1n10/v1n10-1.htm. The article drew particular attention to the discrepancy between the mission statements of many of these NGOs promoting 'human rights' and their highly partisan agendas.
The Ford Foundation, initially dismissed the accusations and failed
to respond to several written request to NGO Monitor for comment.
The American Jewish Congress took up the issue on October 21 with
a request to study the legality of tax-exempt organizations funding
Susan Berresford, however, issued a letter just
one day after seventeen house representatives signed a letter calling
for Ford to "cease funding of subversive groups." In a letter to
Nadler appearing at the moment on the Ford site, http://www.fordfound.org/newsroom/docs/svb_letter.pdf
the Foundation has not and would never knowingly
support racial, religious, ethnic or other forms of bigotry. Nor
have we or would we knowingly fund any group that advocates violence
or denies the legitimacy of Israel's existence.
Berresford has stated that Ford has now undertaken
a specific series of new measures to ensure that its funds no longer
go to "groups that promote or condone bigotry or violence, or that
challenge the very existence of legitimate, sovereign states like
Israel." It also promised new efforts to address "the alarming rise
of antisemitism around the world" through "significant regional
and global program actions." According to an article in Forward
newspaper by Ori Nir, Senate
Critic Undeterred by Ford Apology Rick Santorum will push for
further scrutiny of the organization's funding of extremist anti-Israel
groups. This followed a meeting between Nadler http://www.house.gov/nadler/FordFound_110303.htm and Ford president Susan Berresford who issued
a formal letter in response.
This is the first time that the Ford Foundation
has admitted that it was a main funder of several groups who preparted
anti-Semitic literature and anti-Israel statements beyond the scope
of their mission statement for the World
Conference against Racism in Durban of 2001. The process is being
covered in the JTA newspaper (Click
here for more details) whose articles have been instrumental
in publicizing this issue.