ADL urges state AGs to investigate anti-Israel groups, alleging violations

WESPAC has been accused of funding anti-Israel encampments on campuses

Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Attorney General of New York Letitia James speaks during the Celebrate Israel Parade on Fifth on June 02, 2024 in New York City.

The Anti-Defamation League is urging the attorney generals of New York and Arizona to investigate WESPAC (Westchester Peace Action Committee) and the Alliance for Global Justice, accusing the anti-Israel nonprofit groups of potentially running afoul of federal law. WESPAC has been accused of funding anti-Israel encampments on campuses.

In letters to New York Attorney General Letitia James and Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes, Steven Sheinberg, the ADL’s chief legal officer, highlighted that the AFGJ sponsors the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, which Israel considers a subsidiary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist group and which has supported Hamas.

“Samidoun’s status as a terrorist organization abroad, or at the very least its connection to known terrorist organizations, calls into question whether AFGJ and its board are exercising the appropriate level of oversight and control over its projects to ensure AFGJ’s charitable assets are being used consistent with its tax exemption,” Sheinberg wrote in his letter to James.

According to U.S. law, AFGJ is responsible for the activities Samidoun engages in, and can be held responsible for their activities, according to the letter.

“AFGJ’s administrative support and use of its own tax-exempt status permits Samidoun to operate in the United States and further potentially non-charitable aims under the guise of a public charity,” Sheinberg added.

The ADL further highlighted ambiguities around Samidoun’s activities, as well as AFGJ’s structure and legal status, as well as its financial activities.

In the letter to James, the ADL accused WESPAC of far surpassing its stated mandate of “current affairs education” by funding college campus protest groups that have distributed Hamas propaganda and supporting groups that have engaged in antisemitic harassment and expressed support for terrorism and the Nazis.

Sheinberg argued that these activities may exceed WESPAC’s authorized functions and bring into question whether it “truly has control and discretion over its funds.” He urged James to examine whether the state should block the group from engaging in such activities.

The letter also raises questions about whether WESPAC is a properly registered nonprofit; highlighting that there are discrepancies between its various IRS filings, the group does not appear to have properly filed required forms and has been vague in reporting its expenses.

According to the ADL letter, WESPAC has reported spending nearly $1.5 million on office expenses, has reported offering grants in excess of its total expenditures and has not reported its spending on fundraising efforts.

The letters appear to be the latest example in a trend of a growing legal strategy by the Anti-Defamation League in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attacks. It recently filed a Federal Election Commission complaint against Jewish Voice for Peace and a lawsuit against Iran, Syria and North Korea over their support for Hamas.

Subscribe now to
the Daily Kickoff

The politics and business news you need to stay up to date, delivered each morning in a must-read newsletter.