by Victor Rosenthal
Not long ago I wrote about one of Israel’s “soft enemies,” who choose to fight the Jewish state with money rather than bullets and explosives: the European Union. Indeed, the European Union has just demonstrated its hostility by threatening to torpedo (see also here) the bids of Serbia and Kosovo to join the EU if they persist in their intention to open embassies in Jerusalem.
Now, when the formerly impenetrable anti-Israel solidarity of Arab and Muslim nations has finally begun to crumble, our soft enemies seem to be pursuing the war against Jewish self-determination even more aggressively. Today I want to discuss yet another one, this time one that weaponizes American dollars: the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
The Rockefeller fortune began with John D. Rockefeller, certainly the richest American in history, and indeed one of the most wealthy humans ever. Rockefeller founded Standard Oil in 1870, and before he died in 1937 (at the age of 98), he donated enormous sums for various charitable purposes, in the areas of education, health, scientific research, and causes connected to his Baptist faith. He established various foundations during his lifetime to facilitate the disbursement of his wealth. Very much a free-market conservative, he nevertheless took seriously his personal commitment to those less fortunate than himself and his family. He had four daughters and a son, J. D. Rockefeller Jr. “Junior” continued his father’s philanthropy, including founding the Rockefeller Museum in eastern Jerusalem (the site of a 1967 battle, now operated by the Israel Antiquities Authority).
John D. Rockefeller Jr. had a daughter and five sons. One was Nelson, who had a long career in public service, serving as Governor of New York from 1959-73, and Vice President under Gerald Ford from 1974-77. Nelson was socially liberal and considered a moderate on economic issues; he was the paradigmatic “moderate Republican.” Another was David, who was Chairman and CEO of the Chase Manhattan Bank from 1969-81, and was a director of the influential Council on Foreign Relations from 1959.
The Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) was started by “Junior’s” five sons in 1940, who were its first trustees. It received large endowments from J. D. Rockefeller Jr., in 1951, and David Rockefeller, who gave it $225 million in 2006.
Note that there is also a Rockefeller Foundation (started by J. D. the patriarch in 1913), and a Rockefeller Family Fund (started by younger family members in 1967). They are not the subject of this article.
The RBF gradually moved politically leftward as time went by, especially after Stephen Heintz became its president and CEO in 2001. Ironically, it divested from investments in fossil fuels – the original source of Rockefeller money – in 2014.
It has strongly advocated for and funded advocates of the JCPOA – the nuclear deal with Iran – and criticized US President Trump for exiting from it. Armin Rosen notes that “Between 2012 and 2015, RBF gave $4.4 million to the Ploughshares Fund,” which then “led the public campaign in favor of the [Obama] administration’s Iran diplomacy. Ploughshares … gave National Public Radio $100,000 toward its coverage of the Iran nuclear issue.”
In 2011, RBF began its “Peacebuilding” program, and it started to make grants related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Today it supports various organizations and programs whose goal is to eliminate the Jewish state. It funds the group “Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP),” which supports boycott-divestment-sanctions (BDS) of Israel, and which was called one of the top 10 anti-Israel groups in America by the ADL. It has made grants to IfNotNow, the BDS-supporting student organization. It supports the American Friends Service Committee, which also promotes BDS, and numerous other BDS-supporting groups, including the umbrella organization for BDS in the US, the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR). The USCPR is deeply involved in the successful campaign to get the “mainline” Protestant churches like the Presbyterian Church USA and the United Church of Christ to adopt BDS. USCPR also pushes the absurdly false but popular idea that the movement to destroy Israel is analogous to the American civil rights movement.
At this link is a partial list of grants made by RBF to groups that are to a greater or lesser extent involved in activities to demonize and delegitimize the Jewish state, in “lawfare” against it, or even which have connections to anti-Israel terrorist organizations. One of the largest recipients of RBF money is J Street, the phony “pro-Israel” lobbying organization which has consistently taken positions opposed to Israeli interests. Other recipients include Zochrot, an Israeli NGO that wants to “dezionize” the state, Breaking the Silence, which defames IDF soldiers, and Adalah, a group that works to radicalize Arab citizens of Israel and incite them against the state. There are dozens of other groups, each of which has its own particular angle to attack Israel.
It’s unlikely that David Rockefeller, also a moderate Republican, would have approved of the uses to which his bequest was put. His Chase Manhattan Bank was the agent for Israel Bonds in the US, making it a target of the Arab boycott. And unlike another tycoon, Henry Ford, there is no evidence that the founder of the dynasty, John D. Rockefeller was antisemitic.
One of the notable images used by Jew-haters from 19th-century Europe, through the Nazi period, and including today’s European and Middle-Eastern antisemites is the hook-nosed Jewish spider sitting in the center of his web, pulling strings that stretch his malign power throughout the world. But in reality, the opposite is true: there are a number of anti-Israel puppet masters, pulling the strings – and streaming money – into the literally thousands of loci of misozionist hate around the world. Money that originates in the European Union, the RBF, the Ford Foundation*, and George Soros’ Open Society Foundation and its satellites, flows into the numerous anti-Israel NGOs, student organizations, propaganda organs, Middle East Studies programs, and so forth.
Think about it. It’s truly marvelous. Has there ever been another enterprise like this in history? All this, aimed and concentrated against one tiny country, my country!
* The Ford Foundation funded many of the same organizations as the RBF until 2013, when it was convinced to stop supporting anti-state NGOs in Israel. It still provides funds for international groups like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Oxfam, etc. that are strongly biased against Israel.