The foundation run by Pennsylvania Democratic congressional candidate Scott Wallace has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to organizations that promote the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.
Wallace won the Democratic nomination Tuesday night to face Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick in Pennsylvania’s new first congressional district, seen as a key race in the 2018 battle for control of the House of Representatives. He is a wealthy philanthropist and the grandson of Henry Wallace, the second of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s three vice presidents.
The Forward reports Wallace ran the Wallace Global Fund from 2003 until this year, when he made his run for Congress, and the organization has dispensed more than $300,000 to anti-Israel groups in support of BDS. The Anti-Defamation League has condemned BDS as a movement to delegitimize Israel and “rampant with misinformation and distortion.”
The support for BDS could be damaging to Wallace, given the district’s relatively high Jewish population.
According to tax filings analyzed by The Forward, the Wallace Global Fund gave $25,000 to the anti-war group Code Pink in 2009, the year it endorsed BDS. It gave $25,000 in 2010 and another $25,000 in 2011 to Jewish Voice for Peace, which The Forward describes as “the most prominent American Jewish pro-BDS group.”
It earmarked $150,000 to left-wing publishing company Haymarket Books in 2011, which published a pro-BDS manifesto, and it’s also donated to left-wing legal advocacy group Center for Constitutional Rights, another pro-BDS group:
That same year, Haymarket published “BDS: Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle For Palestinian Rights,” a manifesto of the movement by one of its main leaders, Omar Barghouti. The book’s copyright page notes that it was published “with the generous support of Lannan Foundation and the Wallace Global Fund.” Haymarket has gone on to publish several more books on the issue by controversial Palestinian-American activists like Ali Abunimah and Steven Salaita.
The foundation also gave Haymarket’s parent company $25,000 in 2005 in support of a speaking tour for the controversial British politician George Galloway, who has frequently been accused of crossing the line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. Soon before the speaking tour commenced in 2005, Galloway called Israel a “little Hitler state on the Mediterranean,” and went on in later years to claim that the British media is controlled by Zionists.
The fund gave $40,000 in 2013 and $50,000 in both 2014 and 2015 to the Center for Constitutional Rights, a left-wing legal advocacy group. The fund’s website says that the donations were meant for “challenging the rise of the ‘National Security State’” and advocating on issues like stop-and-frisk and the prison at Guantanamo Bay. But the CCR is also known for its support and advocacy for BDS; they most recently garnered attention for organizing a tour of Israel and the West Bank for activists like Tamika Mallory of the Women’s March.
In 2016, the fund donated a further $5,000 to the Arab American Association of New York, which is run by fervent anti-Israel, pro-BDS activist Linda Sarsour.
Jill Zipin, a founder and spokesperson for Democratic Jewish Outreach Pennsylvania, told The Forward the donations are “deeply concerning to me.”
“If Scott Wallace, it turns out, supports BDS, he won’t get our endorsement, even though he’s a progressive,” she said.
The Wallace Global Fund, which has more than $140 million in net assets according to its most recent available tax filing, primarily promotes other work like combating climate change and protecting voting rights.