House Republican Probes State Department Communication With ‘Radical Pro-Hamas Groups’

Rep. Brian Mast seeks info on Biden admin contact with groups that bankrolled anti-Semitic campus protests

Rep. Brian Mast (R., Fla.) (Getty Images)
May 23, 2024

A House Republican asked the State Department on Wednesday to turn over "all records and correspondence it has had with radical pro-Hamas groups linked to the funding of the anti-Semitic protests that have exploded across college campuses in recent months," the Washington Free Beacon has learned.

Rep. Brian Mast (R., Fla.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, requested that the State Department produce a range of records and internal documents that will show if U.S. officials have been communicating with organizations that have been bankrolling anti-Israel demonstrations on college campuses throughout the country.

This includes any communication the State Department has engaged in with Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), both of which are on the front lines of the campus anti-Israel movement and providing support to student agitators. Israeli terror victims are suing SJP and AMP over allegations they serve "as collaborators and propagandists for Hamas" in the United States.

Among the groups Mast is seeking information about are the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Palestine Legal, the Adalah Justice Project, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Tides Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Westchester Peace Action Committee (WESPAC). Each of these groups has been identified as primary funding networks for anti-Israel activities in the United States.

Mast’s probe comes less than two weeks after House lawmakers launched a separate investigation into many of the groups named above for possible instances of money laundering or material support for terrorism. With the campus protest movement drawing national attention, many Republicans in Congress are seeking to identify how these funding channels function and whether the Biden administration has been coordinating with any of these groups behind the scenes.

Mast says the State Department’s internal records are necessary to determine if U.S. officials are coordinating their policies with anti-Israel advocates, particularly in the wake of the Biden administration’s decision to pause some arms sales to Israel.

"Each of these groups has been identified as either a supporter or a funder of the anti-Semitic protest movement seen across college campuses nationwide," Mast wrote. "Given the anti-Israel stance increasingly being adopted by the Biden administration, Congress needs to know if State Department officials have been in contact with these organizations or their representatives."

It is Congress’s responsibility, Mast wrote, to discern "whether State Department officials met with representatives from these groups ahead of President Biden’s decision to withhold precision weapons from being transferred to Israel. Congress must be made aware of the deliberations that took place regarding the president’s decision."

The Westchester Peace Action Committee Foundation, one of the organizations named in Mast’s investigation, raised $2.4 million in 2022 and was identified by the Free Beacon as an  "official 'fiscal sponsor'" for National Students for Justice in Palestine, the umbrella group organizing campus protests.

The group is also named in the lawsuit filed by terror victims, which alleged: "The financial interactions between WESPAC and its anti-Israel clientele is intentionally opaque to largely shield from public view the flow of funds between and among them."

The Open Society Foundations, which is funded by billionaire George Soros, has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars to groups that accuse the Jewish state of "genocide." Mast’s probe could show the State Department has coordinated with the philanthropic group, which has been pushing for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

Similarly, the Adalah Justice Project—which is part of a network of anti-Israel groups operating under the Tides Foundation's banner—has played a central role in fomenting anti-Israel sentiment and pushing Congress to abandon Israel, the Free Beacon reported last year.

Also named in Mast’s document production request is the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, which has awarded around $3.4 million to Hamas-friendly groups since 2018, the Free Beacon reported last year. This includes funding for an Israeli-designated Palestinian terror group and other organizations that either fund Hamas or have justified Hamas's attacks on Israel.

"Radical pro-Hamas groups linked to China are fueling the anti-Semitic protests we’ve seen on our college campuses," Mast told the Free Beacon. "We need to know if these groups are influencing the Biden administration’s policy towards Israel."