Dem Fundraising Platform ActBlue Takes a Cut of Donations to Michigan State University’s Anti-Israel Tent Encampment

ActBlue previously facilitated donations to bail fund for anti-Israel bridge blockers

L: (YouTube) R: (hurriyamsu/Instagram)
April 30, 2024

The Democratic Party’s primary fundraising platform helped facilitate donations to the anti-Israel encampment at Michigan State University. ActBlue is set to receive a 3.95 percent cut of those donations, according to its stated policies.

Student protesters created the "Hurriya Coalition" to demand MSU divest from companies that do business with Israel, which they accused of conducting "death, destruction, and genocide" through the "US/Israel war machine" and its "occupation" of Gaza.

A fundraiser organized by the Progressive Caucus of Mid Michigan on ActBlue’s website helped raise donations to prop up the anti-Israel encampment. The donation page pleaded: "Support our Student Activists! Please help us feed and house our campers!"

MSU protesters credited outside donations for keeping morale high at the encampment, the State News recounted. Donations included blankets, mattress toppers, coffee, and snacks.

"That was very helpful," Cara Mack, a journalism and international relations student, said about the donations. "I actually slept on a, like, four-inch mattress pad. So honestly, I can’t complain. It was a little cold, but I was with my friends."

The encampment included Palestinian and Lebanese flags, Tahajjud prayers, and a "teach-in" on the Israel-Hamas war. Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D.), who refused to condemn separate Michigan protesters who chanted "death to Israel" and "death to America," touted the MSU encampment in a post to Instagram.

This comes after a George Soros-funded dark money group used ActBlue to bankroll "Free Palestine" protesters who blocked major airports, highways, and bridges in April. The fundraiser, organized by A15 and Community Justice Exchange, remains on ActBlue’s website and proceeds are going to a legal bail fund for those arrested during the "blockades." ActBlue similarly received a "transaction fee" from those donations as well.

Unlike the more chaotic and unsanctioned protest at Columbia University, the MSU Board of Trustees approved the tent encampment until April 28 after protesters first attempted to take over campus without permission on April 25. The administration urged encampment organizers to submit a permit which was approved later that day.

Protesters left in an orderly fashion before the permit expired, but the Hurriya Coalition said in a statement it is only a "momentary pause" and not an end to the divest movement.

"We, the member organizations of the MSU Hurriya Coalition, are deeply grateful for the outpouring of support we have received from campus and community individuals, organizations, and businesses," the coalition wrote. "Hurriya members have collectively decided to close the encampment down. This is only a momentary pause to the encampment, however, not an end to our movement."

The group also indicated all remaining food will be donated to groups in the Lansing, Michigan, area. It's unclear how unused funds from the Progressive Caucus of Mid Michigan will be spent. The fundraiser still remains live on ActBlue’s website.

ActBlue, the Progressive Caucus of Mid Michigan, and the Hurriya Coalition did not return a request for comment.