A few weeks ago a trove of hacked documents detailed the international web of organisations nurtured by George Soros via his Open Society Foundations (OSF).
Soros is a United States-based hedge fund operator, currency speculator, convicted insider trader and prolific supporter of left wing causes – worth $25 billion.
The documents illuminate Soros’ extensive support of groups promoting open borders, climate action, abortion, Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) against Israel and a range of other left wing issues.
In April 2005, Soros met likeminded multi-millionaires and billionaires in Scottsdale, Arizona to examine why George Bush won the US election. At least 80 wealthy individuals pledged $1m or more apiece to fund a network of left wing advocacy groups.
The same month Purpose Campaigns – founded by Jeremy Heimans and David Madden – posted an ad on the Harvard Institute of Politics website, which described itself as a new progressive political campaigning organization. Also the same month Purpose Campaigns Pty Ltd was registered in Australia by Heimans and Madden, as was GetUp two days later.
GetUp thus became Soros’ local Australian franchise, operated as a joint venture for the Greens, Labor and the unions, whose proxies populate its board.
Heimans and Madden later co-founded a global platform called Avaaz – facilitated by seed funding channelled by another group which received $850,000 from Soros’ Open Society Institute (OSI) specifically earmarked for Avaaz.
A hacked 2010 memo to Soros discusses facilitating the Global Campaign for Climate Action with grants to Avaaz, which it describes as ‘already an OSI grantee and close collaborator’.
The pattern of Soros backed activist organisations nurturing others has spread to Australia, with Avaaz giving GetUp a total of $195,618. GetUp also recently received $42,961 from its German equivalent, Campact, and $39,060 from Purpose – a total of over $275,000 from overseas-based organisations in two years – despite GetUp endorsing a ban on foreign donations!
Apart from Heimans and Madden, Brett Solomon, GetUp’s Executive Director from 2005-08, went to Avaaz as Campaign Director. Phil Ireland, recently appointed to GetUp’s board, was a senior advisor at Purpose and is Vice-Chair of the Global Campaign for Climate Action of which Avaaz is a partner organisation. He is Purpose and Labor’s guy at GetUp, having been Labor’s Campaign Director in the Hunter region and convenor of the Labor Environment Action Network.
Support for BDS
The hacked documents also detail numerous grants to groups advocating for BDS and worse. A review by OSF (formerly OSI)s’ Arab Regional Office discusses exploiting the rise of the BDS movement. Outlining ‘The Way Forward’ it says:
…grantees and other actors have been extensively engaged…particularly in relation activities in the settlements. Groups are actively investigating business interests of international corporations, banks, pension funds and other channels through which to exert legal and financial pressure… While politically Europe is not as critical as the U.S., economically it is Israel’s primary trading partner, with impact already showing; in 2013 Israeli farmers in the Jordan Valley of the West Bank lost 14% of their revenues, with further declines expected in 2014. The campaigns also appear to be negatively affecting public opinion of Israel, at least in Europe, with some signs of greater awareness in the United States (eg, Soda-Stream sponsorship in the media). Whether or not OSF does advocacy in its own name in support of this new agenda or merely finances and does light touch organizing behind the scenes, we will still have to contend with the possibility of public scrutiny whether in the media or elsewhere, though we have avoided such attention to date.
This is compelling evidence of Soros’ support for the ugly BDS campaign. Avaaz is also involved, recently vowing that it will: ‘keep pushing until all companies financing the occupation of Palestine withdraw their investments.’
It’s no surprise that, in Australia, GetUp has also edged closer to advocating for Palestinian causes and BDS.
In 2009, BDS activist Antony Loewenstein said GetUp contacted him to begin an online debate about Palestinian issues and this year GetUp appointed Palestinian activist, Sara Saleh, to its board.
Saleh has long supported BDS. In 2014 she criticised Kmart for stocking Sodastream. This BDS campaign saw Sodastream close its West Bank plant and hundreds of Palestinian workers lose their jobs.
Recently Saleh said Israel must be forced ‘into a perennial state of existential anxiety’. She also said GetUp would definitely be happy to support the Palestinian cause ‘in their propensity, and maybe in the future as well’.
So, in its operating model, financing, personnel and its agenda, GetUp faithfully perpetuates the concerns of its progenitor, George Soros.
If any organisation illustrates the sinister aspects of foreign donations and interests influencing Australian politics, it’s GetUp.
Next time GetUp members are ‘consulted’ on priorities or receive GetUp’s glib takes on topical issues, they should realise whose agenda is really being pushed.
Eric Abetz is a Liberal Senator for Tasmania and a former Leader of the Government in the Senate. This is an edited excerpt of a speech delivered in the Senate