An exclusive report from Israel’s Diaspora Ministry has raised concerns regarding the popular crowdfunding platform, Launchgood.com, and its alleged connections with the Hamas terrorist organization.
The website, established in 2013, has served as a platform for various charitable campaigns, providing assistance in the aftermath of natural disasters and conflicts. Notable initiatives have included aid for Morocco following an earthquake and support for Libya after severe floods ravaged the nation. However, an ongoing investigation by The Fighting Delegitimization of Israel Unit at the Diaspora Affairs Ministry has unveiled potential links between the platform and Hamas.
Specifically, Launchgood.com launched a humanitarian aid campaign for the Gaza Strip, channeling donations to a series of aid organizations operating in the region. At time of writing, the website boasted over 70 campaigns supporting Gaza, with over $7.2 million raised.
What has raised concerns is the alleged connection between some of these non-profit organizations and Hamas. The investigation suggests that funds collected on Launchgood.com may potentially find their way into the coffers of Hamas, a matter that has caught the attention of various international bodies.
The report highlights the following organizations as suspicious:
Islamic Relief USA: The American branch of the British organization, IRW Worldwide Islamic Relief. The organization has managed to raise over $6,200 through the website. In 2014, Israel declared the umbrella organization illegal due to financial aid that the organization gave to Hamas.
The US State Department’s Office for the Fight against Antisemitism also identified the organization as a supporter of anti-Semitism and Hamas in 2020, and severed ties with it. Germany, the Netherlands, and American banks have similarly ceased contributions and closed accounts linked to this organization.
Islamic Relief Australia: The Australian branch of IRW Worldwide Islamic Relief faced criticism for issuing a delegation to visit the Gaza Strip in 2012, during which they met with senior Hamas officials and announced the transfer of one million dollars to the Gaza branch, which is “known for its connections with Hamas,” according to the report.
Muslim Aid USA: This branch of the British-based Muslim Aid organization was declared an impermissible association by the Israeli Defense Minister in 2008 due to ties with Hamas and was classified on the Check-World list under the category of terrorism.
Zakat Foundation of America: Investigations by The Investigative Project on Terrorism revealed the foundation’s connections with terrorist organizations, including Hamas, and past fund transfers to Palestinian associations affiliated with Hamas.
Human Relief Foundation: An investigation by The Daily Telegraph published in 2015 shows a connection between the association and the organizations associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, including assistance in financing the terrorist organization Hamas. In addition, the association is part of the charity coalition that was declared as an impermissible association in 2002, due to its support for Hamas.
Al Khair Foundation: According to the report: “The director of the middle east branch in the organization, Adham Abu Salmiya, is known on social media as a Hamas supporter and even participated in the funeral of children killed in the return marches of the leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniya. In addition, he previously served as a spokesman for the “National Authority for Breaking the Blockade” and a spokesperson for the Authority Rescue and emergency at the Palestinian Ministry of Health.”
The allegations regarding Launchgood.com’s association with these organizations have raised serious concerns about the potential misuse of funds meant for humanitarian causes. Due to the aforementioned connections, states the report, “It is not impossible that the funds donated now will find their way to the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip.”
The Jerusalem Post has reached out to Launchgood.com for comment.
Countering terrorist financing
On October 23, 2023, the Executive Committee of the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center (TFTC), co-chaired by the United States and Saudi Arabia, convened an urgent meeting in Riyadh to discuss regional threats, aid to Gaza, and enhanced member country cooperation. All member states participated.
The meeting was held to discuss countering the financial activities of the terrorist organization Hamas, with a focus on sharing information and taking joint or unilateral actions as necessary. The United States has already taken actions, including sanctions on key Hamas members and financial facilitators, as well as proposing new regulations to combat terrorist financing. The meeting emphasized the importance of acting against Hamas to prevent them from diverting humanitarian aid and to ensure regional stability.
“To the United States, the stakes could not be clearer. Hamas’ unconscionable attacks on innocent civilians show that we must redouble our efforts to deny terrorists access to funds that enable these attacks and root out bad actors from across the global financial system,” read a statement from the TFTC. “At the same time, the United States remains committed to ensuring the flow of legitimate humanitarian aid can reach the people of Gaza. Across all of our sanctions programs, there are authorizations and licenses to allow for the flow of life-saving food, water, and medicine.”
“We cannot tolerate a world in which Hamas and other terrorist organizations’ fundraisers live and operate with impunity, abusing the financial system, to sustain their terror,” it added. “The United States will not tolerate that world.”