Meet the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, which helps support “young men and women soldiers of Israel who defend the Jewish homeland.” This support includes nationalistic “support programs”, physical construction projects on Israeli military bases, gives discretionary pocket money directly to Israeli army commanders for use on their soldiers, pays for soldiers to take leave and go on vacation, and on and on. And in 2008, the most recent year for which CharityNavigator has data, this group raised over $48 million and gave over $31 million dollars to Israel’s occupation army.
Meet the American Friends of LIBI, another 501(c)3 organization committed to “strengthening the defense of Israel by caring for the educational, medical, and social needs of the soldiers of the Israel Defense Force.” LIBI was founded by the right-wing hardliners Menachem Begin and Rafael Eitan in 1980, and the American friends organization was founded in 2006 to “provide protective gear to the soldiers fighting terrorism.” This organization funds a variety of military field equipment, including armored ambulances, special medical vests and gear for field medics, “sophisticated equipment and supplies for Unit 669, the IDF’s helicopter-borne search and rescue unit”, financial support to lone soldiers without families in Israel, nationalist educational programs to cultivate “soldiers [sic] understanding and appreciation for the unique history of the Jewish people and their special bond to the Land”, and physical construction of medical and recreational centers on military-owned land. Among other initiatives, this group has funded medical equipment for Sayeret 13, the commando unit responsible for the bloody assault on the Mavi Marmara flotilla. One of this organization’s current efforts is to convince Jewish American children to donate some of the Bar and Bat Mitzvah money to the Israeli army.
These are just two example of such organizations, but there are many others as well.
Is it not striking that the US grants charity status to organizations whose sole mission is to support the army of another country? Are there any other examples of US tax-exempt organizations providing financial and material support to foreign armies?