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Former Ambassador Says U.S. Should Block Charity Aid to Settlers

Allan C. Brownfeld
Special Interest Report
December 2014

When former U.S. Ambassador Marc Ginsberg learned that the Israeli settler  
group Ateret Cohanim had taken possession of two properties in East  
Jerusalem and evicted its Palestinian tenants, he saw it as a crucial flaw  
in U.S. tax policy. American donors to such groups receive tax breaks to  
fund these Israeli settlers.  
According to The Forward (Nov. 7, 2014), “In the view of Ginsberg — a self-  
described Zionist who served as America’s first-ever Jewish ambassador to an  
Arab country — Alteret Cohanim’s action was another sign that the U.S.  
government should take action to stop this flow of funds. First, he said,  
the Treasury Department should go after funding of actions prohibited under  
Israeli law, such as funding of illegal outposts in the West Bank. Then the  
department should deal with donations to groups like Ateret Cohanim. ‘I  
would welcome the Treasury Department also examining closely funding of  
activities that contravene U.S. policies,’ he said.”  
In an Oct. 15 piece in The Huffington Post, Ginsberg argued that the Obama  
administration could block many such donations by simply enforcing existing  
IRS regulations. In his article, Ginsberg, who was an aide to Senator Edward  
Kennedy and a Middle East adviser to President Carter, urged the  
administration to “give a green light to its agency officials to begin  
turning the screws to these American subsidizers of Israel’s illegal  
settlement operation.”  
Ginsberg, who served as President Clinton’s envoy to Morocco from 1994 to  
1998, describes himself as “Zionist as they come.” He currently serves as  
CEO of OneVoice, a group that supports a two-state solution and believes  
that ending tax breaks that support West Bank settlement should be part of  
the mainstream peace camp agenda.  
He points out that Israel itself ended a decade ago tax breaks devoted  
exclusively to settlement building. “So, here we have American nonprofits  
funding what Israeli law prevents Israel’s government from doing itself.” •

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