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Accusation: Foreign-Funded ‘Peace Now’ Didn’t Register

US attorney asks Justice Dept. to investigate Norwegian-funded "American Peace Now" as an unregistered agent of foreign governments.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 11/30/2009, 3:13 PM / Last Update: 11/30/2009, 3:19 PM

Israel news photo

A Philadelphia attorney has asked the U.S. Justice Department to investigate "Peace Now" as an unregistered agent of foreign governments.

Attorney Lee Bender, head of the Philadelphia-based Israel Advocacy Committee, says he has learned that Norway has given American Friends of Peace Now millions of Kroner over the past seven years – totaling, in today’s money, over $1.2 million. In 2008 alone, Norway gave the left-wing organization some 1.35 million kroner, or more than $200,000.

Peace Now was founded in 1978 on the assumption that only the removal of all Jewish presence from Judea, Samaria and Gaza would lead to peace, and has ever since made it its goal to destroy all vestiges of Jewish life in those areas.

Investigative reporter David Bedein reports that Bender sent the Justice Department a letter asking for an immediate investigation into Peace Now

“Peace Now is a registered entity in the United States under the designation, ‘Americans for Peace Now,’” Bender writes. “Even though many of its members and events are in Israel, Peace Now is not a registered legal entity in Israel. However, Peace Now has received millions of kroner from the government of Norway since 2001, including approximately 1.35 million kroner this year, and appears not to have registered as a foreign agent, in accordance with the requirements of the Foreign Agent Registration Act.”

“If this in fact is the case,” Bender concludes, “it is a clear and serious violation of the statute, subject to criminal penalties. Thank you for your prompt attention and consideration of this matter. I look forward to your response.”

A Norwegian newspaper, Karmel Israel-Nytt, has this to say on the topic in its latest issue: “Annika Evensen, First Secretary at the Norwegian Embassy in Tel Aviv, confirms to Karmel Israel-Nytt that Norway gave 1.35 million Kroner to Peace Now in 2008.”

The paper wrote that Evenson confirmed that the same amount is being given this year as well.

Embassy secretary Pål Klouman Bekken further confirmed for the newspaper that Norway has given Peace Now Settlement Watch the following sums: 1.2 million Kroner in each of 2003, 2004, and 2006, and roughly 1.3 million Kroner in each of the years 2007 and 2001.

Peace Now Response
Peace Now director Yariv Oppenheimer told Arutz-7 in response that he does not know of the Norwegian funding: “Every contribution that is received is done legally, and we have permits for each one… The attempts by the right-wing against our organization have not succeeded so far.”