US tax dollars at work: TV interview with Rabbi Dov Wolpe
- On December 1 2009 a front-page investigative report in Haaretz revealed that Machanaim a US 501c3 tax exempt charity was funding the Task Force to Save the Nation and the Land (aka SOS Israel,) an Israeli NGO paying soldiers to refuse orders to move against settlements and settlers.
- reported that SOS Israel had also begun paying soldiers bounties for dead Palestinians. On the same day, the Israeli Attorney General ordered police to investigate the NGO. On December 9 Coteret
- Progressive US bloggers, such as Richard Silverstein, have begun questioning the legality, morality and wisdom of continued tax exemptions for charities supporting settlementand radical right-wing activities. On December 16, the Forward’s Gal Beckerman reported that Machanaim was simply a front with a PO Box maintained by Rabbi Dov Wolpe, the head of SOS Israel, and that it was in violation of US tax law.
This post — Ami Kaufman, an Israeli journalist and editor, recorded and subtitled an Israeli television interview with Rabbi Wolpe, which provides chilling insight into the kind of man US tax dollars are funding. Cross-posted from Kaufman’s blog, Half & Half.
Last week I saw an interesting interview on Channel Two TV. It was Avri Gilad hosting Rabbi Dov Wolpe, an extreme right winger. Wolpe heads The Task Force to Save the Nation and the Land, who basically give money to soldiers who refuse to evacuate settlements.
The interview itself wasn’t that interesting, we’ve heard extreme right views a zillion times before, and even more extreme than Wolpe. But I thought the whole package was kind of unique in itself. This is semi-prime-time television, where people like Wolpe are rarely seen. They’re rarely given the spotlight. And if they are, it’s usually on the regular politics shows, not the family talk shows with fairly high ratings.
Gilad, an intelligent man but not the best of interviewers, took a different approach here as well: let’s listen to the guy, and hear what he has to say. No attacks, just a tad of being the devil’s advocate here and there, no more.
What you get is a quiet interview with a very dangerous man, with almost Hannibal Lecter-ish attributes. He’s cool and calm. He even gets the crowd to cheer once (of course, when he talks about how other nations push us around) – and notice how this crowd, as usual in Israeli talk shows, is made up mainly of soldiers. (I never knew why that was… guess they can’t sell all the tickets.)
It’s good insight into someone who really pulls strings in the Wild East. These are the kind of people behind the occupation, the settler movement. You read about them once in a while in the papers, but never really put the face to the name.
So, that’s why I decided to spend a few hours translating this.
Note on subtitles: after you press play, if you don’t see the subtitles – press on the arrow button on the bottom right corner of the youtube frame, and make sure the “cc” button is on. Also, if your computer is a bit slow, it may take 10-15 seconds for the captions to actually show up. In that case, when they do – just rewind and go back to the beginning.