The Alliance for Global Justice (AfGJ) – a U.S.-based activist network that provides fiscal sponsorship and fundraising services for a global alliance of peace and justice organizations, including those in Palestine – has been the victim of a lawfare attack by a pro-Israel organization resulting in the suspension of its credit card processing service.
AfGJ serves as a fiscal sponsor to over 140 non-profit organizations (NPOs) globally that work “to achieve social change and economic justice by helping to build a stronger, more unified grassroots movement.” As such, they provide services and fundraising support to NPOs around the world that rely on credit card transactions for operational support.
On February 14 AfGJ issued a statement describing how it had been the target of fictitious claims through articles in the right-wing Washington Examiner as well as formal complaints to the IRS submitted by the pro-Israel lawfare group, the Zachor Institute. The attacks allege one of AfGJ’s fiscally-sponsored NPOs, Samidoun, is tied to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a U.S. listed terrorist organization, though Samidoun has repeatedly denied the allegations.
Spreading disinformation and attacking the tax-exempt status of an NPO are common “lawfare” tactics used by politically motivated groups seeking to shut-down or otherwise impede dissenting civil society. Although “lawfare groups” utilizing these strategies claim to be strengthening national security, their efforts undermine legitimate nonprofit work. Often, the goal of lawfare attacks is to pressure partners to deplatform the targeted NPOs, and the impacts can be far reaching.
“Our support of our partners in Central and South America, many of whom risk their lives every day and sometimes pay the ultimate price … our solidarity with Palestinian people who struggle for national liberation and against unjust occupation and apartheid … our work for immigration justice … our human rights school … all of this is at risk,” read a statement from AfGJ after their credit card contributions platform was suspended.
C&SN is familiar with the Zachor Legal Institute through the research and investigations we conducted as part of our 2021 report “The Alarming Rise of Lawfare to Suppress Civil Society.” Zachor Legal Institute’s primary focus is action against groups that support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and its allies. However, it has pushed for government investigations of Palestinian human rights defenders and their allies, including Black Lives Matter. The two-person operation publishes reports and press statements, makes complaints to various administrative agencies and files amicus briefs in litigation. It also sends threatening letters to private companies, such as social media platforms, urging action against groups it labels as antisemitic.
A story in Mondoweiss from Feb 23, 2023 provides a detailed timeline and description of the dubious claims by Zachor and hyperbolic narrative in the Examiner.
Currently AfGJ is requesting that any donations be sent via check in the mail while they work to resolve these issues and restore the appropriate and legitimate fundraising and financial transactions they provide to their colleagues.