Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Palestine Bethlehem 2000 Foundation and Al Damir

Note: This charity is probably best translated as the Palestine-Bethlehem Foundation 2000. However the website URL translates to Bethlehem 2000 Foundation. Spanish often puts the adjectives after the noun; and in this case, it is a wacky combination which is awkward to translate.

fundacion_belen_2000The Fundación Palestina Belen 2000 [Palestine Bethlehem 2000 Foundation1] (Click Here) is a major Palestinian-Chilean charity organization which claims to help the Palestinians in the contested areas.

They appeal to the ethnically strong Palestinian-Chilean community, which forms a rich elite. Though Palestinians are only 3% of Chile’s population, yet they are 10% of the Chilean Senate. Their political clout is enormous.

Even though many Chilean-Palestinians are intermarried with non-Arabs and are 3rd-5th generation Chilean, they have recently started to re-discover their Arab roots, even as American Jews are re-discovering their Hebrew roots.

Not just Palestinian-Chileans,  nor Chileans in general; but also English speakers are also encouraged to donate to the Palestine-Bethlehem Foundation 2000.   The site is both in English and Spanish.


The reason the translation is so good is because someone else did it.
At (1:42) Diego Villegas admits he is part Palestinian

The Palestine Bethlehem 2000 Foundation especially emphasizes the Christian character of their charity. After all, 99%+ of Palestinian-Chileans are Christian.  Their  website shows wonderful crosses, and smiling kids. They do wonderful things like send medical teams to Palestine. Naturally, one would expect them to support the Gospel.

Almost all English speakers who come to the site would be Christian. Or would they?

According to this web source, this Christian (?!) charity may not be as Christ-centered as it claims.

The Media Line

According to official sources, the stated aim of the foundation (translated as “Palestine-Bethlehem 2000”) is to provide “scholarships, medical and economic aid to the Palestinian Authority.” Yet, a Chilean government source described the organization to The Media Line (TML) as a lobby. The Anti-Semitism and Racism Institute claims that this foundation is the chief fund-raising organization in Chile for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Wealthy Palestinians from the Chilean community support the fund, which publishes the monthly journal, A-Damir. In celebration of its first anniversary on June 25, 2002, the foundation organized an event, attended by more than 1,000 invitees that included ministers, Members of Parliament, clerics, army officers and judges. Minister of the Interior Jose Miguel Insulza and Government-Secretary Heraldo Muoz both posed for a photograph, wearing a kafiyah decorated with a map depicting a Palestinian state that encompassed land that today is the entire state of Israel.

A Chilean source connected to the Chilean Intelligence Agency (CIA) told TML that this particular fund managed to collect $6m in one year, but that the funds do not always find their way to needy Palestinians. Instead, much of the money goes to charities identified with Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist organization.

I cannot tell you if this is true or not. It might be Israeli spin. On the other hand, why would the Chilean CIA pander to Israeli spin? Do they know something?

IT GETS CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER.

The Palestine Bethlehem 2000 Foundation also publishes a glossy web magazine extolling Chilean-Arabs, called Al Damir [The Conscience/Heart].

(Click Here) to see online back issues.

al-damir
Fundación Palestina Belen 2000 / Palestine Bethlehem 2000 Foundation’s Al Damir Magazine (SPANISH LANGUAGE)
Notice the priest, and the doctors. Appeals to Palestinians in Chile who are Christian.

Each issue prints articles about Arab-Chilean achievement in Chile, gossip, the medical work they do in Palestine, Palestinian culture, the Arab footprint in Chilean politics, etc, even as they give a general anti-Israel spin.

This is not all about the Mideast. They might print an article about a prominent scientist or businessman in Chile who happens to be of Palestinian descent.

Now all of this, in and of itself, would come in under free speech; and there would be nothing to notice except just exactly how prosperous the Palestinians are in Chile.

Al Damir has attracted major multinationals advertisers: Coca Cola, Air Canada, Hugo Boss2, etc. You sell to people who have money. Basic Capitalism 101.

Even this would be okay …

UNLESS THE PALESTINE BETHLEHEM 2000 FOUNDATION WERE FUNNELING AID TO HAMAS CHARITIES.

And, according to the Media Line quote (above), the Chilean CIA says they might be.

It could prove embarrassing.

al-damir_nov_2012_01
An ad for Coca Cola products in Al Damir magazine – issue #91, November 2012
(Click Here) to find other ads for Air Canada, Hugo Boss, Ellus Jeans, the Bank of Palestine, etc.

Could somebody please verify – one way or the other – if the Palestine Bethlehem 2000 Foundation, and by extension: Al-Damir, has anything to do with Hamas?

This Chilean Christian (?!) charity is not a shoddy operation. It seems to be a well run and polished operation.

But it they are sending money to charities affiliated with Hamas, there could be problems. It would be frightful to think Hamas is being subsidized by multinationals, especially if they are doing it unawares.


They are advertising now. This cannot be ignored.

Their ad shows a girl dressed like a typical Christian schoolgirl in Chile. What they do not show is how many of the Palestinians schoolgirls will be forced to wear hijabs, or burqas, especially in Gaza.

If they are truly helping children in Palestine … then God Bless Them!

If they are funneling money to charities run affiliated with Hamas – as the site above has accused them of – then somebody has to intervene, if only to get the Palestine Bethlehem 200 Founation to direct its money more wisely.


1Because of the wacky way the charity is named, it may best translated as the Palestine Bethlehem 2000 Foundation. If there are descrepancies in the video and the text, it is because it is awkwardly named.

2Hugo Boss, a German fasion house, made a good part of the fashion wear for the Nazi SS. There is a bit of scandal to their origins. They really should be circumspect in their support of the Palestinian Bethlehem 2000 Foundation, with their advertising.


An earlier version of the Palestine Bethlehem 2000 Foundation website had the geography of Palestine defined so as to deny Israel altogether.

They seem to have cleaned up their act when it became apparent that others were noticing that they were denying the right of Israel to exist. The geography page on their website is now gone.