New report challenges philanthropy to increase support for Palestinian rights

 

Alliance magazine

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Funding Freedom calls on donors to increase giving, build collective power, seek out Palestinian perspectives, and proactively defend shrinking civic space.

The report from Solidaire Action – a community of donor organizers that mobilises resources to build political power for racial, gender, and climate justice movements – outlines the increasingly severe attacks on organizations that support Palestinian rights, and offers human rights funders a roadmap for creating the conditions to give sustainably, consistently, and without doing harm. 

Funding Freedom analyzes the current and historic conditions that curtail the resourcing of an increasingly visible movement for Palestinian rights. Drawing on four in-depth case studies and dozens of interviews with individual donors, foundation and funder network staff, and leaders of Palestinian organizations, it illustrates the current challenges and opportunities.

‘As support for Palestinian rights has expanded, so has the intensity of attacks on the funders and grantees who work on this issue,’ said Rajasvini Bhansali, executive director of Solidaire Action.

The report includes a number of important recommendations for funders who support or want to support Palestinian rights, including to:

  • set principles that apply to all grantmaking to expose potential inconsistencies around their commitment to human rights and democracy, and to provide a basis for articulating who they support and why;
  • create opportunities for Palestinian-led organizations by making introductions to their networks, inviting them to speak at events, and acting as a validator for less well-known organizations;
  • give more money to support justice for Palestinians, make multi-year commitments and general support grants without preconditions, and support organizing and power-building;
  • build collective power by uniting with values-aligned funders to educate and empower one another, jointly advocate for shifts in philanthropy and public policy, and to protect and defend organizations facing unjust attacks; and to
  • divest from companies that support or profit from Israeli apartheid in orderto cut any complicity inhuman rights violations.

In addition to providing clear guidance to funders facing external challenges, the report calls on them to do more to reverse harmful dynamics that have plagued philanthropy for decades, such as the marginalizing and silencing of Palestinian voices, dangerous political litmus tests, and harmful investing practices.

‘As Palestinians, we are constantly called upon to justify our most basic demands for rights and freedom. This takes a massive toll on our organizations, our work, and the communities we serve,’ said Lara Kiswani, executive director of the Bay Area-based Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC). ‘We need funders and others in positions of power to stand with us when we are attacked, and to take steps to fortify our social and racial justice work, especially in these times.’

Deborah Sagner, president of the Sagner Family Foundation, added: ‘It is critical that we, as funders, call each other in to do more to protect Palestinian rights. I feel this responsibility even more acutely as a Jewish funder who has been frustrated by the silencing of dissenting voices on this issue. There is a lot of potential within our sector to be more bold, which often simply means applying our values consistently to all injustices.’


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