Apple accused of sending employee donations to Israeli army, illegal settlers: Report

Apple accused of sending employee donations to Israeli army, illegal settlers: Report

In open letter, Apple employees, and shareholders call on tech giant to stop donations to nonprofits linked with Tel Aviv’s war effort, according to The Intercept

By Seda Sevencan

ISTANBUL (AA) - Some Apple employees and shareholders have accused the tech company of sending employee donations to organizations that have ties to the Israeli army and illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

According to a report by the American news organization The Intercept, 133 individuals identifying themselves as “a group of shareholders, current and former employees” wrote an open letter to Apple, expressing concerns about the organizations receiving employee donations.

In the letter, Apple was accused of sending employee donations to the Israeli army and organizations connected to illegal Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank.

The letter called for an immediate investigation into these allegations and requested that Apple halt donations to “all organizations that further illegal settlements in occupied territories and support the IDF.”

Like many large companies, Apple employees can donate to non-profit organizations and receive matching contributions from their employer through a platform called Benevity.

The list of organizations eligible for donations includes “Friends of the IDF,” which raises funds for the Israeli army, “HaYovel,” “One Israel Fund,” “the Jewish National Fund,” and “IsraelGives,” which supports illegal Israeli settlers in the West Bank.

Apple's management did not respond to questions about the matter.

In April, Apple employees organized under the name “Apples4Ceasefire” protested the disciplining and dismissal of Apple Store workers who expressed support for Palestinians by wearing keffiyehs, pins, bracelets, or clothing.


- ‘Apple should ensure it is not sending funds to any of these organizations’

Diala Shamas, a senior attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, who described the listed organizations as “the worst actors,” said: “Unfortunately, there has been very little scrutiny into 501(c)(3) organizations that openly support illegal activities in the West Bank and Gaza.”

Shamas emphasized that US laws against financing activities violating international human rights law are not adequately enforced by the Internal Revenue Service, leaving it to companies and individuals to ensure their contributions do not support organizations potentially engaged in illegal activity.

“Companies often rely on the fact that an organization has 501(c)(3) status. But regardless of whether an organization has nonprofit status, it is illegal to aid and abet war crimes,” Shamas added.

“Apple should ensure that it is not sending funds to any of these organizations — especially now when there’s no shortage of evidence or information about the unlawful activities of the settlement movement in the West Bank.”


- Apple-listed group claims $34.5M sent to Israeli army

The conduct and discipline of the Israeli army have come under scrutiny due to allegations of torture, extrajudicial killings, and other abuses against Palestinians. Also, many Israeli soldiers posted social media footage of apparent looting and mistreatment of Palestinian detainees.

Friends of the IDF, a charity listed on Apple’s matching donations list, claims to have transferred $34.5 million in donations to the Israeli army in the first weeks following the outbreak of the war in Gaza.

According to a December 2023 analysis by The Guardian, the crowdfunding platform IsraelGives received over $5.3 million in donations within just two months after the war began to support “military, paramilitary, and settlement” activities in the West Bank. The analysis also said this money disproportionately came from US donors.

Like many other technology companies, Apple expresses its corporate commitment to “respecting internationally recognized human rights” frameworks, including the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, on its website.

Since the Israel war on the Gaza Strip began, the UN Human Rights Office has repeatedly condemned the Israeli army’s atrocities.

Israel has faced international condemnation amid its continued brutal offensive on Gaza since an Oct. 7, 2023 attack by Hamas despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire.

More than 37,200 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza, most of them women and children, and more than 84,900 others injured, according to local health authorities.

Eight months into the Israeli war, vast tracts of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, whose latest ruling ordered Tel Aviv to immediately halt its military operation in Rafah, where over a million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on May 6.

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