Robert Schmad, Daily Caller News Foundation
A nonprofit based in White Plains, New York is behind a network that has organized pro-Palestinian demonstrations across the English-speaking world while spreading pro-Hamas messages.
The Westchester People’s Action Coalition (WESPAC) Foundation processes donations on behalf of at least six groups that have been engaged in global pro-Palestinian activism. Groups backed by WESPAC have engaged in street protests, organized mass student walkouts and released statements praising Hamas’ terrorist attacks, among other things.
WESPAC often acts as a fiscal sponsor, processing tax-deductible donations on behalf of these groups, without the sponsored group itself having to register with the IRS.
“At its best, fiscal sponsorship can help incubate effective organizations, but at its worst, the practice enables bad actors to hide a sponsoree’s activities, basic financial information, and leadership,” Capital Research Center Senior Vice President Kristen Eastlick told the DCNF. “The public expects a level of organizational transparency from charities that allow donors to receive a tax break for contributions. But a fiscal sponsor like WESPAC can hide support for antisemitic projects behind an undetailed IRS form.”
The Palestinian Youth Movement, one of WESPAC’s fiscally sponsored projects, helped to organize dozens of protests across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom between Oct. 7 and Oct. 29, according to the group’s social media posts.
“As the walls of the torturous Zionist occupation begin to fall, we remind the world of the meaning of Palestinian sumud, or steadfastness … every Martyr that falls, another will rise,” the group said via a social media post uploaded on Oct. 7, the day Hamas began the attacks that killed at least 1,200 civilians.
As news spread about the murder, rape and kidnapping of Israeli civilians on Oct. 7, the Palestinian Youth Movement was already planning pro-Palestinian demonstrations. A post from the group dated Oct.7 provides details for a pro-Palestinian rally in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with the caption asserting that “it is our duty to echo the calls for liberation of our homeland and our people, from the river to the sea.”
“‘From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free’ is a common call-to-arms for pro-Palestinian activists, especially student activists on college campuses,” according to the American Jewish Committee (AJC). “It calls for the establishment of a State of Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, erasing the State of Israel and its people. It is also a rallying cry for terrorist groups and their sympathizers, from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) to Hamas, which called for Israel’s destruction in its original governing charter in 1988,” the AJC says.
Cities targeted for demonstration by the Palestine Youth Movement include Houston, Montreal, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, London, Dallas, Washington, Vancouver, San Diego, Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit, Ottawa, New York City and San Francisco, among several others across the anglosphere.
Many of these demonstrations were co-sponsored by other groups in WESPAC’s network. Other fiscally sponsored projects of WESPAC participating in protests in conjunction with the Palestinian Youth Movement include the U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN), National Students for Justice in Palestine (NSJP) and the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN).
NSJP, whose donations are processed by WESPAC, published a “toolkit” for its local affiliates calling Hamas’ attacks on civilians “a historic win for the Palestinian resistance.” The group provided a flyer template to its affiliates featuring an image of a man on a paraglider in the toolkit.
Hamas militants used paragliders to cross the Israeli border and murder civilians. One high-profile paraglider attack occurred at a music festival near the Israel-Gaza border where 260 people were left dead or missing, NPR reported.
NSJP has a network of over 200 chapters on college campuses across the United States, many of which have staged or participated in pro-Hamas and anti-Israel demonstrations. The group organized a nationwide walkout at 100 college campuses across the United States and Canada demanding an end to American support of Israel, according to a social media post.
Students for Justice in Palestine was recently banned in the state of Florida’s public university system, Reuters reported.
“Based on the National SJP’s support of terrorism, in consultation with Governor DeSantis, the student chapters must be deactivated,” the memo from State University System of Florida Chancellor Ray Rodrigues read, with Rodrigues going on to state that it is illegal in Florida “to provide material support … to a designated foreign terrorist organization.”
WESPAC is a signatory of a campaign to free Ahmad Sa’adat, the imprisoned secretary general of the PFLP, from Israeli prison. WESPAC is joined by organizations such as the Revolutionary Communist Group, the Danish Communist Party, Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism and two of its fiscally sponsored projects, according to the campaign’s website.
USPCN, another one of WESPAC’s fiscally sponsored projects, was involved in several protests independent of the Palestinian Youth Movement, according to the group’s social media. USPCN also encouraged pro-Palestinian activists to call elected officials to advocate on their behalf.
One protest organized by USPCN called on its members to “flood city hall” to block a resolution that was being considered by Chicago’s city council to condemn Hamas’ terror attacks.
USPCN released a statement on Oct. 7 calling Hamas’ terror attacks “self-defense operations” that were a “legitimate response to unending violence from Israel’s extreme right-wing, racist, white supremacist, zionist [sic] government.” USPCN accused Israel of ethnic cleansing and justified the terrorist attacks by stating that “Palestinians have an internationally-recognized right to resist illegal military occupation.”
Adalah New York, one of WESPAC’s fiscally sponsored projects, has also protested in support of Palestine, with a sign at one such demonstration accusing Israel’s conduct of being comparable to the Holocaust. The group’s Twitter account also liked posts arguing that Israel caused Hamas’ terrorist attacks, justifying the attacks because “an occupied people have the right to defend themselves,” criticizing people for condemning Hamas and saying that Hamas’ terrorist attacks will be remembered as “an example of revolutionary struggle,” among other things.
Adalah New York also promoted a protest organized by the Palestinian Youth Movement, both groups being fiscally sponsored projects of WESPAC.
IJAN, which collaborated with the Palestinian Youth Movement to put on protests, accepts its donations through WESPAC, according to its donation page. Librarians and Archivists with Palestine, also a project of WESPAC, according to its donation page, released a statement in October accusing Israel of genocide and saying “the steadfast struggle of the Palestinian people for freedom is sustained by the long-enduring Palestinian collective memory that decades of exile and repression have failed to eradicate.”
WESPAC, which holds roughly $1 million in assets according to the most recent publicly available tax documents, has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from mainstream and left-of-center foundations like Rockefeller Philanthropic Advisors, the El Gaouny & Lee Foundation, the Bafrayung Fund, Morgan Stanley Global Impact Funding Trust, The Community Foundation For Greater Atlanta, the Common Counsel Foundation, Grassroots International, the Groundswell Fund and the Elias Foundation since 2019.
WESPAC and the groups it sponsors did not respond to the DCNF’s multiple requests for comment. Adalah New York could not be reached for comment.