Fact-Check: Yes, George Soros-Funded Groups Are Behind Campaign Opposing Israel’s Deportation of Illegal Migrants
TEL AVIV — Organizations financed by billionaire George Soros, a champion of open border policies, have been leading the opposition here to Israel’s decision to enforce its law by seeking to deport illegal African migrant infiltrators.
Israel on Sunday announced it will begin issuing deportation notices to men without children who arrived illegally from Eritrea and Sudan largely seeking work.
The move is the first stage of an Israeli government plan to enact a Knesset-approved Infiltrator’s Bill, which allows the country to forcibly deport illegal infiltrators, with exceptions for children, the elderly, parents of dependent minors, those with refugee applications pending and victims of slavery or human trafficking. From 2007 until 2012, when Israel started constructing a barrier along its border with Egypt, about 61,000 illegals were able to infiltrate Israel, with most being economic migrants originating from Africa.
The issue of Soros’ fingerprints on a campaign opposing Israel’s immigration policies came up following a report on Sunday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed the billionaire for funding anti-deportation protests.
“George Soros is also funding the protests,” Netanyahu was quoted as saying during a closed-door session of his security cabinet. A leak of Netanyahu’s purported quotes were carried by Israel’s Channel 10 and the Haaretz newspaper.
In response, a spokesperson for Soros rejected Netanyahu’s “false claim” about the financier’s involvement in the issue.
“Contrary to the false claim by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, George Soros is not funding any protests against Israel’s plan to deport thousands of African asylum seekers,” Soros’s spokesperson said, adding that Soros “adamantly believes that, in accordance with the 1951 Refugee Convention and international law, it is wrong to forcibly send asylum seekers back to countries where they might be persecuted or killed.”
While Soros himself may not have personally directly funded the protests, Soros-financed groups have indeed been leading the anti-deportation efforts.
The Soros-financed New Israel Fund (NIF), a radical, foreign-funded anti-Israel NGO, has taken a central role in organizing domestic and international opposition to Israel’s planned deportations.
Hacked emails document Soros’ Open Society Foundations provided the NIF with at least $837,500 from 2002 to 2015. Breitbart News found that NIF’s 2015 annual report lists the Tides Foundation as a donor. Tides is a far-left financing clearinghouse that itself is heavily funded by Soros’ Open Society nonprofit.
NIF in turn has been openly financing groups in Israel that act against the deportations, including some directly funded by Soros’ Open Society Foundations.
The NIF’s Canada branch announced an “emergency fund for asylum seekers in Israel.”
NIF admitted on its Facebook page that it is backing a “strategy” to “stop” the deportations:
The Israeli government is stepping up its efforts to deport African asylum seekers who have made their way to Israel.
The NIF family has issued a series of emergency grants to Israeli NGOs that are lobbying against this move, that are organizing a campaign for Israelis to speak out, and that are engaging in a legal strategy that can stop the deportations.
The Soros-backed NIF in turn finances scores of far-left groups advocating against the deportations, including:
- The African Refugees Development Center, which says it acts “in order to protect, assist and empower African refugees and asylum seekers in Israel.” The group has been widely cited in news articles opposing the deportations and has been organizing against the policy.
- ASSAF: Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers, which calls on supporters to “struggle against deportation!” The group has been promoting domestic and global demonstrations on the issue.
- The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, which says it “ardently advocates for the fair treatment of asylum-seekers and refugees. In particular, ACRI actively protests the deportation or incarceration of asylum seekers and refugees.”
- The Eritrean Women’s Community Center, which has participated in anti-deportation demonstrations and says it “aims to provide Eritrean women with a safe space as well as access to important services.”
- The Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, which is “Israel’s leading organization protecting the rights of refugees, migrant workers and victims of human trafficking.” The group boasts that “for over 15 years Hotline staff and volunteers have been visiting Israel’s immigration detention centers to monitor conditions, meet with detainees and provide paralegal intervention and legal representation.”
- Physicians for Human Rights – Israel branch, which has been protesting the deportations. Besides NIF funding, Physicians for Human Rights is a prominent grantee of Soros’ Open Society Foundations.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch demanded Israel “abandon a new policy that could lead to the indefinite detention of thousands of Eritrean and Sudanese nationals for refusing to leave Israel for Rwanda or Uganda.” Human Rights Watch is the recipient of a $100 million challenge grant from Soros.
Over the past year, 4,012 illegals voluntarily left Israel after security forces here started to step up deportation efforts. Last month, Israel gave notice to all illegals that they have 90 days to vacate. If the illegal migrants go willingly during that time period, they will be provided $3,500 and can depart to their home countries or to third countries. After the 90 day grace period, Israel has warned that illegals will be imprisoned or deported.
Soros, meanwhile, is no stranger to backing opposition to countries seeking to protect their sovereignty.
Breitbart News documented how immigration lawyers from groups financed by Soros were signatories to a lawsuit that sought to block President Donald Trump’s executive order halting visas for 90 days to “immigrants and non-immigrants” from Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, Iran and Iraq.
In August, Breitbart Jerusalem first reported hacked documents from Soros’ Open Society Institute boasted that the billionaire and his foundation helped to successfully press the Obama administration into increasing to 100,000 the total number of refugees taken in by the U.S. annually.
The documents revealed that the billionaire personally sent President Obama a letter on the issue of accepting refugees.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.