Norway pulls tax-exempt status from organization that provides financial support to settlements

From the organization Norwegian People’s Aid:

Following advocacy-work and pressure from Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) and the Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees (NUMGE), the Norwegian Ministry of Finance today announced their decision to exclude the Norwegian organisation “Karmel-instituttet” from the list of organisations that the Norwegian public may get tax deductions for providing funds to. The reason behind the decision is that the organisation provides financial support to Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

- We are very pleased that the Ministry of Finance has made this decision, based on the fact that Karmel provides funds to the illegal Israeli settlements. The decision follows a letter sent by NPA and NUMGE in January this year, asking them to look into the issue’, says the Secretary-General of NPA, Liv Tørres.

The Ministry of Finance, in their press release today, writes that their intention is to ensure that the system of tax deductions does not benefit organisations that actively support or contribute to acts that are in contravention of international law. On the basis of information from the Karmel-institute about their transfer of financial support to Israeli settlements and the organisation’s own stated intention to continue providing such support, the Ministry of Finance has decided that gifts to the organization are no longer tax-deductible.

Commenting on the decision, Stein Guldbrandsen of NUMGE said: ‘Norwegian citizens who have provided financial support to Karmel-instituttet through the years must now contemplate that their support has constituted a contribution to breaches of international law’.

According to Norwegian People’s Aid , Karmel-instituttet has directed donations to the Israeli settlement of  for several years. Nearly half of the houses in Alonei Shilo (23 caravan-homes and 3 “study centers”) were paid for through funds donated by Norwegian citizens.

About Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Activism, BDS, Israel/Palestine, Occupation, Settlers/Colonists

{ 13 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Les says:

    Thanks. This is hardly likely to get a bit of coverage in our Hasbara oriented media.

    • Mndwss says:

      I have tried to find something about this in all the largest norwegian online newspapers.

      (VG, Dagbladet, NRK and Aftenposten).

      There is nothing.

      Mondoweiss comes to the rescue and provides norwegians with news.

  2. bilal a says:

    Sorry , but what is “Karmel-instituttet”, all their front pages articles seem mostly about Israel with one blaming Iran for terror in Bulgaria.

    • German Lefty says:

      @ bilal a:

      link to en.wikipedia.org
      Faye-Hansen (died 1992) was a Norwegian pastor who saved Jews, risking his life, during World War II. [...] He founded the Carmel Institute (Karmel-Instituttet), an organization dedicated to “pointing out the fulfillment of prophecies in Israel today, and to proclaim it within the Nordic countries and in Israel.”

  3. Walid says:

    A couple of years back, Norway pulled its $6 million investment in Elbit Systems; at the time this company had back orders of several billion dollars so that didn’t make a ripple. In 2009, Norway also pulled out of Leviev’s 2 companies that were building settlements on stolen WB land but this hasn’t stopped their building. This June, Norway divested $1.4 million out of Shikun & Binui, another developer in East Jerusalem. Norway’s funds still have investments in Motorola, HP, Veolia and about 400 Israeli companies. Karmel-instituttet is another step in the right direction and we should be grateful to Norway for these little victories but it has a lot more pulling to do before we elevate it to sainthood.

    • pabelmont says:

      Of course, there are few saints. But where are the other countries? The non-aligned countries generally?

      • lysias says:

        Ireland moves to ban imports from Israeli settlements:

        A committee in Ireland’s Oireachtas, the country’s legislature, has called for a national ban on imported products from Israeli settlements considered internationally as illegal.

        The Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade is set to write a proposal on the ban to the deputy head of government, Eamonn Gilmore, who is also the minister of foreign affairs, Irish Times reported on Wednesday.

        The committee took the decision following demands from various human rights organizations, including the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI).

      • Walid says:

        Pabelmont, some rogue companies like Veolia are getting billions of dollars’ worth of contracts (desalination and power generating plants, metro systems, fast rail lines etc) from mideast countries. BDS is not in their vocabulary.

  4. American says:

    The US should do the same. Is it democratic to give one ethnic/religious group of individuals a taxbreak no one else is given?
    No it isn’t.
    Another way Israel entitlement causes resentment.
    All taxpayers would love to get a 100% tax break on their charity donations.

    • Walid says:

      American, it’s more like an obligation than an entitlement and it goes beyond charity, there are also tax breaks on purchases of Israel bonds of $600 million annually, but Canada also has the tax break on Israel bonds.

      In 2002, the public policy research arm of the Congress, the Congressional Research Service issued a brief on US aid to Israel describing how Israel asks that some grants be classed as loans to bypass Israel’s obligation to spend the money in the US, which in time get written off without Israel having reimbursed any of them; an accounting gimmick to get around US laws.

      Excerpts from the CRS brief:

      “… Of the more than $84 billion in aid the United States has provided Israel through FY2000, about $69 billion has been grants and $15 billion has been loans.
      … The United States has not canceled any of Israel’s debts to the U.S. government, but theU.S. government has waived repayment of aid to Israel that originally was categorized as loans. Following the 1973 war, President Nixon asked Congress for emergency aid for Israel, including loans for which repayment would be waived. Israel preferred that the aid be in the form of loans, rather than grants, to avoid having a U.S. military contingent in Israel to oversee a grant program. Since 1974, some or all of U.S. military aid to Israel has been in the form of loans for which repayment is waived. Technically, the assistance is called loans, but as a practical matter, the military aid is grant. From FY1974 through FY2001, Israel has
      received almost $40 billion in waived loans.

      … The United States stipulates that U.S. aid funds cannot be used in the occupied
      territories. Over the years, some have suggested that Israel may be using U.S. assistance to establish Jewish settlements in the occupied territories. Israel denies that it uses U.S. aid funds for settlements in the occupied territories. Because U.S. economic aid is given to Israel as direct government-to-government budgetary support without any specific project accounting, and money is fungible, there is no way to tell how Israel uses U.S. aid. Israel provides an annual letter to the U.S. Agency for International Development stating that the economic funds are used to service Israel’s debt to the United States (approximately $1 billion per year).

      link to fpc.state.gov

  5. Jan says:

    In the US there are thousands of American military suffering from the neo cons wars and who gets a tax deduction but those who choose to donate to Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces. One might question the loyalty of those who choose to help Israeli soldiers over the soldiers of their own country.

  6. talknic says:

    Drip drip … bravo