Probe Viva Palestina's Hamas Connection, Congress Urges
by IPT News • Dec 2, 2009 at 12:09 pm
The chairman of a House subcommittee on terrorism is urging that the Justice Department, the IRS and the Secretary of State investigate whether the U.S.-arm of a British based Palestinian aid group is raising money for Hamas.
In separate letters sent Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) cited comments British parliamentarian George Galloway made in March during the first Viva Palestina aid convoy to Gaza. In a defiant gesture against an international embargo of the Hamas government, Galloway handed officials a bag of cash and said:
"This is not charity. This is politics. The government of Palestine is the best people to decide where this money is needed. We are giving this money now to the government of Palestine. And, if I could, I would give them 10 times, 100 times more." (click here to see the video)
In his letters, Sherman notes that Viva Palestina has no corporate status in the U.S. and seems to be using a separate 501(c)(3) charity called the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization/Pastors for Peace (IFCO) as a conduit for donations. In a letter to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, Sherman said Galloway's statement offered "compelling evidence that the major purpose of Viva Palestina is to provide material support to Hamas. Please takes steps to confirm whether IFCO has (or has not) acted as fundraising conduit for Viva Palestina. If so, IFCO's status as a 501(c)(3) entity must be revoked. The taxpayers of the United States should not and cannot support the activities of recognized terror organizations. [Emphasis original].
In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Sherman urged an investigation to determine whether Galloway or VP broke any American laws. He asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to find out whether Galloway and his associates "should have any outstanding visas revoked and future admittance into the United States barred."
Finally, Sherman wrote to Michael Drake, chancellor at the University of California-Irvine, who already has announced an investigation into a VP fundraiser on campus featuring Galloway and organized by the school's Muslim Students Union. The students have a right to express their views, but Sherman wrote, that doesn't extend to soliciting for a terrorist organization:
"I believe your investigation will confirm that the UCI MSU has solicited funds for a terrorist organization (or knowingly aided and abetted such solicitation). After you confirm these facts, I believe you will, at a minimum, prevent the MSU from operating on campus unless and until its leadership is purged of those responsible."
Sherman's requests come as VP officials in England and the U.S. gear up for their third convoy to Gaza. The Investigative Project on Terrorism produced a detailed report of Viva Palestina's financial arrangements and other statements in support of Hamas made at U.S. fundraisers. It can be seen here.
Read More: Viva Palestina
Reader comments on this item
No response from UCI
Submitted by Marty, Dec 5, 2009 12:47
The situation at UCI is even worse than this report and these letters indicate. According to documents produced by UCI pursuant to a Freedom of Information request, the Muslim Student Union misrepresented the nature of the event on their event application to UCI by saying that it was NOT going to be a fundraiser. In that way, they avoided having to answer all the questions about where the funds would be going or whether the recipient was a tax exempt organization. UCI's procedures are so lax and their enforcement was so weak that they did not determine what was happening before the event or even at the event even though UCI's chief enforcement officer was at the event. He did nothing to intervene even though non-commercial fundraising of any kind is prohibited by campus rules without specific approval from the Dean of Students. The approval requirement itself was avoided by claiming the event, attended by approximately 850 people, was not going to be a fundraiser.
There was no question about this being a mistake or an impromptu collection, as the MSU has subsequently claimed, because there were prepared collection boxes passed out and collected by designated volunteers that night as well as additional collection boxes set up at the doors. Both Galloway and the MSU representative solicited donations, another violation of campus rules.
Further, the after event report to the Dean of Students made by the campus chief security officer did not even mention the fundraising activity. He was either unaware of the rules he is charged with enforcing or he covered it up by not reporting it at all. Had the Freedom of Information request not been made and these documents produced, the whole episode would have been hidden.
This event happened over 6 months ago and it has been about 4 months since a complaint was sent to UCI. They sent the illegal fundraising portion to law enforcement authorities and claimed to have initiated an internal investigation into the other campus violations. NOTHING has been done even though they have the false application for the event, video tape of the fundraising, and the original "non-report" report by university personnel. There is nothing to investigate as all the evidence has been there all this time. Letters have been sent to the President of the Board of Regents, to the Chancellor, the Governor, and many others responsible for the use of taxpayer funded university facilities.
This is but the latest of continuing anti-American and anti-Semitic outrages committed by the UCI MSU and forgiven or excused by the UCI Chancellor and administration. There have been no consequences for the MSU for their previous violations. Each year they are emboldened to further advance their agenda until it has now included public illegal fundraising for a terrorist front organization on campus.
It is time to review and replace the UCI policy and procedures that allowed this event. It is time to replace all those, including the Chancellor, who have winked and nodded at all these activities in a biased and cowardly politically correct way which enables and encourages the Muslim Student Union. The MSU should be suspended and put on probation as a recognized student organization until they can demonstrate that they are willing to put aside their un-American agenda and follow the same rules all the other student organizations follow.
Some kind of response from UCI on this matter is required so that this episode doesn't get swept under the rug like all the other complaints made to the UCI administration about the activities of the MSU.
UCI Collection for Viva Palestina-May 21, 2009
Submitted by gary fouse, Dec 4, 2009 21:13
I was there. )in fact, Galloway called me a liar when I told him about the anti-semitic chants heard and viewed at pro-Palerstinian rallies around the us.) I saw the boxes and witnessed the collection.