Non-profit

Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA)

Website:

fosna.nationbuilder.com

Location:

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, CO

Tax ID:

38-3419440

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $518,372
Expenses: $528,573
Assets: $237,906

Formation:

1998

Founder:

Naim Ateek

Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) is the United States-based advocacy organization affiliated with the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center (Sabeel), a Jerusalem-based anti-Israel Palestinian Christian organization. [1]

Critics have accused FOSNA of being an anti-Israel organization which uses its Christian identity to appeal to churches to divest from Israel. FOSNA is known to organize and sponsor events around the United States and support speakers such as Bassem Tamimi, who spoke to third-grade children about “solidarity and being freedom fighters for Palestine.” [2]

The organization’s founder, Naim Ateek, has made numerous controversial statements, claiming that “Jesus is on the cross again with thousands of crucified Palestinians around him,” while the “Israeli government crucifixion system is operating daily.” [3]

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a left-of-center civil rights advocacy group which focuses on fighting anti-Semitism, added FOSNA onto its 2013 list of “Top Ten Anti-Israel Groups in the U.S.” [4]

Background

Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) is a non-profit anti-Israel organization and the United States-based affiliate of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center (Sabeel), a Jerusalem-based Palestinian Christian organization which is highly critical of the state of Israel. [5] The group’s “vision for the future” proposes a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,[6] a longstanding position of Arab nationalists seeking to overturn Jewish sovereignty in the region. [7]

Naim Ateek, a Palestinian Christian theologian who is highly critical of Israel, founded Sabeel in 1990 after he and other theologians coined the term “Pales­tin­ian lib­er­a­tion theology.” The term is based on the premise that the Bible’s description of the land of Israel belonging to the Jewish people should be redefined, as the “establishment of Israel was a relapse to the most prim­i­tive con­cepts of an exclu­sive, tribal God.” [8] Ateek also claimed that “Jesus is on the cross again with thousands of crucified Palestinians around him,” and that the “Israeli government crucifixion system is operating daily.” [9]

FOSNA was formed in 1998 as the United States-based chapter of Sabeel. Other chapters of the Friends of Sabeel exist in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. [10]

FOSNA claims it challenges “distortions in the Bible” that lead to racism and violence, end United States policies that “support and perpetuate the occupation,” calls for the right of return for Palestinian refugees, and “active engagement” in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against the state of Israel. [11]

FOSNA’s primary source of income is in grants and contributions made to the organization. It received $645,694 in contributions and grants in 2014, $596,327 in 2015, and $568,938 in 2016. [12]

Controversy

Critics have accused FOSNA of being an anti-Israel organization which uses its Christian identity to appeal to churches to divest from Israel. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a left-of-center civil rights advocacy group which focuses on fighting anti-Semitism, added FOSNA onto its 2013 list of “Top Ten Anti-Israel Groups in the U.S.” [13]

The FOSNA website features a 2014 press-release on “Zionism Unsettled,” which is labeled as an “educational resource” of the Presbyterian Church. [14] The booklet claims that “Zionism is the problem,” and it is “clear that Zionism is a false theology.” [15] It also claims that the effort to establish a Jewish state is “a struggle for colonial and racist supremacist privilege.” [16]

FOSNA co-sponsored an American speaking tour of Bassem Tamimi in 2015. [17] Tamimi, who was convicted in 2012 for encouraging Palestinian youth to throw stones at Israeli soldiers and take part in illegal gatherings,[18] spoke to a class of third-grade children about the conflict in the Palestinian territories. During a closing statement focused on how the students could help, Tamimi “spoke of solidarity and being freedom fighters for Palestine; to bring peace and protect the future of their children.” This resulted in the Superintendent of the school district denouncing the talk, labeling it “politically skewed” and “inflammatory.” [19] The United States government revoked Tamimi’s visa in 2016 due to his “failure to disclose prior arrest and conviction.” [20]

Political Activities

FOSNA was a signatory for a call to support the “A World Without Walls” campaign created by the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign opposing Israel’s security barrier and proposed fortifications of the U.S.-Mexico border. [21] FOSNA also co-sponsored the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR) “World Without Walls” delegation which featured members of communities “impacted by the US/Mexico border.” The aim of the delegation was to allow participants to “meet, learn from, and share with Palestinians resisting Israel’s apartheid wall.” [22]

The organization supports Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. Alongside members from CODEPINK, Jewish Voice for Peace, Coloradans for Justice in Palestine, and American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), FOSNA staged a protest outside of RE/MAX’s annual shareholder meeting in Denver in 2016. [23]

FOSNA sent letters to 14 CEO’s calling for the boycott of SodaStream because the company operates a factory in the disputed West Bank. [24] Although this campaign ended due to the closure of the SodaStream factory, FOSNA is continuing its call to boycott the company due to its new factory location in the Negev desert. [25] FOSNA has also denounced anti-BDS laws in the United States. [26]

The organization co-sponsored a 2017 hearing on “how persistent grave human rights violations, systemic impunity, discrimination, and a hyper-militarized environment,” affect Palestinian children. [27]

In 2019, FOSNA alongside American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), and the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, organized a protest of the Christians United For Israel (CUFI) annual summit held in Washington D.C. Protesters that disrupted the summit inside were removed from the venue, including FOSNA executive director Tarek Abuata who called for “people of God” to “wake up” and shouted “Zionism is racism.” [28]

FOSNA co-created the “Stolen Homes” campaign, which was created to pressure Airbnb into removing its listings in Jewish-settled parts of the disputed West Bank. According to FOSNA, Airbnb is “making money off Israel’s continued occupation of Palestinian land and helping facilitate settlement activity.” [29]

References

  1. Elman, Miriam. “Sabeel – The Anti-Israel Christian Activists You Never Heard of.” Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion. June 30, 2019. Accessed August 07, 2019. https://legalinsurrection.com/2015/06/sabeel-the-anti-israel-christian-activists-you-never-heard-of/. ^
  2. Jacobson, William. “Superintendent: Third Grade Event “politically Skewed, Inflammatory” against Israel.” Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion. February 16, 2018. Accessed August 07, 2019. https://legalinsurrection.com/2015/09/superintendent-third-grade-event-politically-skewed-inflammatory-against-israel/. ^
  3. Jacoby, Jeff. “Criticism Gone Too Far.” Boston.com. October 21, 2007. Accessed August 07, 2019. http://archive.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2007/10/21/criticism_gone_too_far/. ^
  4. “Top Ten Anti-Israel Groups In U.S -2013.” Anti-Defamation League. Accessed August 7, 2019. https://www.adl.org/sites/default/files/documents/assets/pdf/israel-international/israel–middle-east/Top-Ten-2013-Report.pdf. ^
  5. Elman, Miriam. “Sabeel – The Anti-Israel Christian Activists You Never Heard of.” Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion. June 30, 2019. Accessed August 07, 2019. https://legalinsurrection.com/2015/06/sabeel-the-anti-israel-christian-activists-you-never-heard-of/. ^
  6. “The Jerusalem Sabeel Document: Principles for Just Peace in Palestine-Israel.” The Jerusalem Sabeel Document: Principles for Just Peace in Palestine-Israel | Friends of Sabeel – North America. May 01, 2006. Accessed August 07, 2019. https://www.fosna.org/content/jerusalem-sabeel-document-principles-just-peace-palestine-israel. ^
  7. Jager, Elliot. “One State, Two States, by Benny Morris.” Commentary. July 2009. Accessed August 07, 2019. https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/one-state-two-states-by-benny-morris/. ^
  8. Global Ministries on March 02, 2011. “”God Is Love, Not Empire”–A Report from Sabeel’s 8th International Conference.” Global Ministries. Accessed August 07, 2019. https://www.globalministries.org/god_is_love_not_empire_a_10_10_2014_1253. ^
  9. Jacoby, Jeff. “Criticism Gone Too Far.” Boston.com. October 21, 2007. Accessed August 07, 2019. http://archive.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2007/10/21/criticism_gone_too_far/ ^
  10. “Category: Friends of Sabeel.” Sabeel, Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center. April 03, 2019. Accessed August 07, 2019. https://sabeel.org/category/friends-of-sabeel/. ^
  11. “Friends of Sabeel – North America.” Anti-Defamation League. Accessed August 07, 2019. https://www.adl.org/resources/profiles/friends-of-sabeel-north-america. ^
  12. Tigas, Mike, Sisi Wei, Ken Schwencke, and Alec Glassford. “Friends Of Sabeel North America – Nonprofit Explorer.” ProPublica. May 09, 2013. Accessed August 07, 2019. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/383419440. ^
  13. “Top Ten Anti-Israel Groups In U.S -2013.” Anti-Defamation League. Accessed August 7, 2019. https://www.adl.org/sites/default/files/documents/assets/pdf/israel-international/israel–middle-east/Top-Ten-2013-Report.pdf. ^
  14. “”Zionism Unsettled”-IPMN Study Guide.” “Zionism Unsettled”-IPMN Study Guide | Friends of Sabeel – North America. January 13, 2014. Accessed August 07, 2019. https://www.fosna.org/content/new-zionism-unsettled-ipmn-study-guide. ^
  15. Barrows-Friedman, Nora. “Zionism Is a “false Theology,” Says New Presbyterian Study Guide.” The Electronic Intifada. February 12, 2017. Accessed August 07, 2019. https://electronicintifada.net/content/zionism-false-theology-says-new-presbyterian-study-guide/13117. ^
  16. “Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center.” Ngomonitor. Accessed August 07, 2019. https://www.ngo-monitor.org/ngos/sabeel_ecumenical_liberation_theology_center/. ^
  17. “Organizers and Sponsors of Bassem Tamimis September-October, 2015 U.S. Speaking Tour.” Ngomonitor. Accessed August 07, 2019. http://www.ngo-monitor.org/reports/organizers_and_sponsors_of_bassem_tamimi_s_september_october_u_s_speaking_tour/. ^
  18. “Israel Court Jails Palestinian Activist Bassem Tamimi.” BBC News. November 06, 2012. Accessed August 07, 2019. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-20228970. ^
  19. Bill. “Superintendent: Third Grade Event “politically Skewed, Inflammatory” against Israel.” Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion. February 16, 2018. Accessed August 07, 2019. https://legalinsurrection.com/2015/09/superintendent-third-grade-event-politically-skewed-inflammatory-against-israel/. ^
  20. “Bassem Tamimi.” Facebook. March 8, 2016. Accessed August 07, 2019. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10207922419650677&set=a.4332333398837.2162107.1602330832&type=1&theater. ^
  21. “November 9 – Global Day of Action: A World without Walls.” November 9 – Global Day of Action: A World without Walls | Stop the Wall. Accessed August 07, 2019. https://www.stopthewall.org/2017/06/19/november-9-global-day-action-world-without-walls. ^
  22. “World Without Walls Delegation Is on the Ground in Palestine!” US Campaign for Palestinian Rights. October 13, 2017. Accessed August 07, 2019. https://uscpr.org/worldwithoutwalls-delegation-in-palestine/. ^
  23. “Human Rights Advocates Attend RE/MAX Shareholder Meeting to Demand That the Global Real Estate Giant Stop Selling Homes in Illegal Israeli Settlements.” Mondoweiss. May 11, 2016. Accessed August 07, 2019. https://mondoweiss.net/2016/05/advocates-shareholder-settlements/. ^
  24. “Letter to CEOs Regarding SodaStream Products.” United Methodist Kairos Response. Accessed August 07, 2019. https://www.kairosresponse.org/sodastream_letter_to_ceos.html. ^
  25. “Join FOSNA’s SodaStream Boycott Campaign!” Join FOSNA’s SodaStream Boycott Campaign! | Friends of Sabeel – North America. Accessed August 07, 2019. https://www.fosna.org/content/join-fosnas-sodastream-boycott-campaign. ^
  26. “Christian Leaders Denounce the Recent Wave of Anti-BDS Legislation.” Friends of Sabeel North America. Accessed August 07, 2019. https://fosna.nationbuilder.com/antibdslegislation. ^
  27. 05.09.2017. “Tell Congress: Attend 50th Anniversary Briefing.” No Way to Treat a Child. Accessed August 07, 2019. https://nwttac.dci-palestine.org/tell_congress_to_attend_50th_anniversary_briefing. ^
  28. NA, Friends Of Sabeel. “FOSNA ED Tarek Abuata.” Twitter. July 08, 2019. Accessed August 07, 2019. https://twitter.com/fosnalive/status/1148218597648584704. ^
  29. “Airbnb: Stolen Homes.” Airbnb: Stolen Homes | Friends of Sabeel – North America. Accessed August 07, 2019. https://www.fosna.org/get-involved/airbnb-stolen-homes. ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: August 1, 1998

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Dec Form 990 $518,372 $528,573 $237,906 $4,433 N $516,850 $1,297 $225 $70,000 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $568,960 $648,926 $235,309 $8,125 N $568,938 $0 $22 $243,251
    2015 Dec Form 990 $596,360 $558,909 $309,190 $2,040 N $596,327 $0 $33 $184,455 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $645,722 $556,843 $246,694 $3,634 N $645,694 $0 $28 $82,497 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $440,590 $410,937 $155,703 $2,845 N $440,562 $0 $28 $71,850 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $466,408 $461,516 $126,080 $2,875 N $466,375 $0 $33 $68,871 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $370,885 $326,365 $121,044 $3,068 N $370,858 $0 $27 $38,363 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA)

    PO BOX 3192
    GREENWOOD VILLAGE, CO 80155-3192