Blocking Mideast Peace
Curbs on Muslim charities seen as double standard: Some say Treasury is allowing Israeli groups to operate
by Chris Di Edoardo
Originally published 27 December 2001
in Las Vegas Review-Journal


Area activists say the U.S. Treasury is using a double standard when it freezes the assets of Muslim charities while allowing Israeli groups to operate.

The Treasury is "closing a legitimate charitable organization that, as far as anyone knows, is doing legitimate charitable work," said Aziz Eddebbarh, spokesman for the Muslim Public Affairs Council of Southern Nevada. "Meanwhile, we look the other way when people use tax-free money to build illegal settlements in occupied territory."

Eddebbarh is referring to the Irving I. Moskowitz Foundation, which is based in Hawaiian Gardens, Calif., near Los Angeles. With tax-free revenue generated by a bingo club, Moskowitz has bought land in Arab-dominated East Jerusalem and transferred title to Jewish migrants.

The foundation's 1999 tax return shows it donated $340,000 to the American Friends of Ateret Cohanim, a group that "aspires to renew and bolster the Jewish presence in the heart of Jerusalem."

"This is occupied land that U.N. resolutions 242 and 338 called on Israel to withdraw from," Eddebbarh said. "The money is building Jewish settlements on land that was confiscated from Palestinians."

Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak, coordinator of the Coalition for Justice in Hawaiian Gardens and Jerusalem, said he agreed with Eddebbarh.

"There certainly is a double standard here," Beliak said. "One type of terrorist, that is an allegedly Muslim terrorist, is not allowed to proceed with feeding orphans, while another is allowed to buy land and expropriate the lives of Palestinian individuals."

The coalition has crossed swords for years with leader Irving Moskowitz about his use of his bingo club to fund Jewish settlements in Jerusalem. The coalition also operates a Web site,, and has called upon California Attorney General Bill Lockyer to revoke the club's license.

The Moskowitz Foundation did not return calls seeking comment.

The Holy Land Foundation, one of the Muslim charities shut down by the Treasury Department, is less forthcoming about its activities on its tax return. According to its 2000 tax return, the Holy Land Foundation spent $8.6 million to "Establish, operate and/or contribute to a relief fund for refugees and the indigent needy." The tax return does not identify the group or groups the Holy Land Foundation gave financial support to. Its attorney, Khalid Hamideh, did not return calls seeking comment.

"The premise on which the U.S. government is acting is that the Holy Land Foundation has been providing for the orphans of suicide bombers, and that's ludicrous," Eddebbarh said. "If someone is convicted of a crime here, do we cut off social welfare to them or say to people, `You can't help their children because they're the descendants of criminals?' "

Eddebbarh noted the United States permits groups like the Jewish Defense League to operate and raise money, despite that group's open sympathies with Kahane Chai.

Some U.S. and Tel Aviv officials consider Kahane Chai, which was organized by followers of slain Rabbi Meir Kahane, to be on the same moral plane as Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network, since both groups condone attacks on civilians.

"That's something the American government needs to do -- freeze the assets of the JDL and any affiliated organizations -- but we haven't heard any of that," Eddebbarh said. "The president said he's going after terrorist organizations and anyone who supports them, and he needs to follow through."

On Dec. 11, Jewish Defense League Chairman Irving Rubin was arrested. He is accused of planning to bomb the King Fahd Mosque in Culver City, Calif., and is being held without bail.

Six weeks earlier, the Treasury Department placed Kahane Chai on its list of global terrorist groups.

Bill Maniaci, the Reno-based deputy director of the Jewish Defense League, did not return calls for comment.


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Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control has frozen the American assets of 138 individuals and groups it considers to be specially designated terrorist groups. Among these groups are one political party, Kahane Chai or "Kach," and three charities, the Holy Land Foundation, the Benevolence International Foundation, and the Global Relief Foundation.

Kahane Chai, aka "Kach" (18 other aliases)
U.S. assets: Unknown
Income: Unknown
Assets frozen: Oct. 31

Holy Land Foundation
U.S. assets (1999): $1.84 million
Income: (1999): $6.6 million
Assets frozen: Dec. 3

Benevolence International Foundation
U.S. assets (2000): $1.41 million
Income (2000): $3.28 million
Assets frozen: Dec. 14

Global Relief Foundation
U.S. assets (1999): $1.12 million
Income (1999): $4.85 million
Assets frozen: Dec. 14


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2003 design by elbop for the Coalition for Justice in Hawaiian Gardens and Jerusalem